Urban areas as hotspots for bees and pollination but not a panacea for all insects.


General Zoology, Institute for Biology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 8, 06120, Halle, Germany. [Email]


Urbanisation is an important global driver of biodiversity change, negatively impacting some species groups whilst providing opportunities for others. Yet its impact on ecosystem services is poorly investigated. Here, using a replicated experimental design, we test how Central European cities impact flying insects and the ecosystem service of pollination. City sites have lower insect species richness, particularly of Diptera and Lepidoptera, than neighbouring rural sites. In contrast, Hymenoptera, especially bees, show higher species richness and flower visitation rates in cities, where our experimentally derived measure of pollination is correspondingly higher. As well as revealing facets of biodiversity (e.g. phylogenetic diversity) that correlate well with pollination, we also find that ecotones in insect-friendly green cover surrounding both urban and rural sites boost pollination. Appropriately managed cities could enhance the conservation of Hymenoptera and thereby act as hotspots for pollination services that bees provide to wild flowers and crops grown in urban settings.

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