Do Farmland Corridors Help or Hinder Pollinators?

A study conducted by academics from Oxford University and Earthwatch UK has challenged the long standing assumption that farmland facilitates the movement of pollinating insects between habitat fragments.

The findings of the paper show that farmland corridors intended to help connect up areas of natural habitat, instead do the opposite and waylay non-specialist feeders, hindering pollinator movement through the corridors.

In terms of animal behaviour this makes sense- with pollinating insects concentrating their foraging efforts on resource rich farmland areas where they are most likely to be successful at finding food, rather than moving onto new habitats as the corridors intend.

Researchers are now concerned that this behaviour could impact native plant species which could fail to be pollinated as a result. The study has been published in the Journal of Current Biology and could have policy implications regarding the way habitat networks are designed and managed.