In parts of the northern hemisphere, many pollinator species are in decline, with potential adverse implications for pollination and the ecosystem service of food production. It is therefore important to understand how habitats primarily orientated towards food production can be managed in an efficient way to enhance pollinator populations for current and future food security. In Europe, agri-environment schemes are a well-established method for promoting nature conservation on farmland. Some previous studies indicate that certain agri-environment schemes may be beneficial to pollinator populations by promoting increased floristic diversity in agricultural habitats. However, there has been no analysis of the efficiency or cost-effectiveness of these interventions. We used an online survey to evaluate the perceptions of growers in England following the Conservation Grade environmentally-sensitive farming protocol, regarding the effectiveness of different agri-environment scheme options in enhancing pollinators on their farms and the costs of implementation. Options within the agri-environment schemes that were perceived as most effective in enhancing pollinators were those related to improving floristic diversity of field headlands and enhancing or restoring semi-natural grassland. However, these options were not generally the most efficient, due to their high cost. Hedgerow management interventions were shown to be the most efficient, despite being perceived as relatively ineffective, due to the low costs of these options. We have therefore found that there is often a mis-match between effectiveness and efficiency of interventions for enhancing pollinators. Trade-offs are likely to be necessary when making decisions on implementing interventions, and farm size as well other local differences should be taken into account in this decision-making process.
- Ecosystem service
- Management intervention