Dataset for the paper 'Sown wildflowers between vines increase beneficial insect abundance and richness in a British vineyard'
Data for paper published in Agricultural and Forest Entomology (2022).
This dataset includes the abundance of beneficial insects, list of flowering plants, a species list of pollinators and a species list of solitary wasps, collected at a vineyard in East Sussex in 2016 and 2017.
1. Traditional vineyards are generally intensive monocultures with high pesticide usage. Viticulture is one of the fastest-growing sectors of English agriculture, although there is currently limited research on habitat management practices.
2. In a vineyard in East Sussex, England, we tested five inter-row ground cover treatments on their potential in supporting beneficial insects: two commercially available seed mixes (meadow mix and pollen and nectar mix), a wild bee seed mix (formulated based on pollinator foraging preferences), natural regeneration, and regularly mown grass.
3. Over two years, from May to August, we conducted monthly floral surveys and insect surveys using transect walks and pan traps.
4. The abundance and richness of flowers in the natural regeneration treatment were twice that of the regularly mown inter-row treatment. By year 2 the abundance of ‘total insects’ sampled was significantly higher in the wild bee mix compared to mown. Likewise, there was a significant effect of treatment type on pollinator richness, with higher mean richness found in wild bee mix. Solitary wasp family richness was highest in the natural regeneration treatment and lowest in the mown treatment.
5. Given the rapid growth and lack of specific environmental recommendations for British viticulture, we demonstrate a simple and effective approach for supporting beneficial insects and ecosystem services. Promotion of perennial wildflowers through sowing or allowing natural regeneration in inter-row ground cover in vineyards has the potential to boost biodiversity in vineyards on a large scale if widely adopted.
CB Dennis Trust
Flower choices and pollen foraging in bees
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