Landscape and local site variables differentially influence pollinators and pollination services in urban agricultural sites

Ashley B. Bennett, Sarah Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urbanization has detrimental effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, as agricultural and semi-natural habitats are converted into landscapes dominated by built features. Urban agricultural sites are a growing component of urban landscapes and have potential to serve as a source of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service provisioning in urban areas. In 19 urban agricultural sites, we investigated how surrounding land cover and local site variables supported bees and pollination services. We found the abundance of bees differentially responded to landscape and local scale variables depending on body size and nesting habit. Large-bodied bees, Bombus and Apis species, were positively associated with increasing amounts of impervious cover, while the abundance of small-bodied soil nesting Halictus species increased as the proportion of flower area, a local variable, increased. Bee richness declined with increasing levels of impervious cover, while bee community composition changed along a gradient of increasing impervious cover. Pollination services, measured at each site using sentinel cucumber plants, declined as hardscape, a local variable, increased. To improve bee conservation and pollination services in urban agricultural sites, our results suggest urban planning strategies should minimize impervious cover at large spatial scales while land managers should focus locally on incorporating floral resources, which increases food and nesting resources especially for smaller bee species. Local site design coupled with regional urban planning can advance the success of urban agriculture, while benefiting biodiversity by creating opportunities for pollinator conservation in urban landscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0212034
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Landscape and local site variables differentially influence pollinators and pollination services in urban agricultural sites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this