Article CC BY 4.0

The degree of urbanisation reduces wild bee and butterfly diversity and alters the patterns of flower-visitation in urban dry grasslands

Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for Bee Protection, Germany ; TU Berlin, Department of Ecology, Germany
Herrmann, Johann;
TU Berlin, Department of Ecology, Germany ; University of Münster, Institute of Landscape Ecology, Germany
Buchholz, Sascha;
Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, General Zoology, Institute for Biology, Germany ; German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany
Theodorou, Panagiotis

Insect-provided pollination services are increasingly threatened due to alarming declines in insect pollinator populations. One of the main threats to insect pollinators and consequently pollination is urbanisation. Here, we investigate the effects of local habitat quality (patch size, flowering plant richness, bare soil cover, vegetation structure), degree of urbanisation (impervious surfaces) and 3D connectivity on bee, hoverfly and butterfly flower visitors and plant-flower visitor networks in flower-rich urban dry grasslands. Overall, the degree of urbanisation and the quality of the local habitat influenced the flowering plant and pollinator communities. Although flowering plant abundance increased with urbanisation, bee species richness and butterfly species richness decreased with increasing impervious surfaces. Flowering plant richness and ground nesting resource availability were positively related to bee richness and local vegetation structure boosted hoverfly and butterfly visitation rates. In terms of plant–pollinator interactions, insect pollinators visited a lower proportion of the available flowering plants in more urbanised areas and network modularity and specialisation increased with patch size. Our findings show that urban dry grasslands are valuable habitats for species-rich pollinator communities and further highlight the importance of minimizing the intensity of urbanisation and the potential of local management practices to support insect biodiversity in cities.



Citation style:
Could not load citation form.

Access Statistic

Last 12 Month:


License Holder: The Author(s) 2023.

Use and reproduction: