Affordable Access

Even small forest patches increase bee visits to flowers in an oil palm plantation landscape

  • Power, C.C.
  • Nielsen, A.
  • Sheil, D.
Publication Date
Nov 11, 2021
External links


Pollination sustains biodiversity and food security, but pollinators are threatened by habitat degradation, fragmentation, and loss. We assessed how remaining forest influenced bee visits to flowers in an oil palm-dominated landscape in Borneo. We observed bee visits to six plant species: four crops (Capsicum frutescens L. “chili”; Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai “watermelon”; Solanum lycopersicum L. “tomato”; and Solanum melongena L. “eggplant”); one native plant Melastoma malabathricum L. “melastome”; and the exotic Turnera subulata Smith “turnera”. We made one local grid-based and one landscape-scale transect-based study spanning 208 and 2130 m from forest, respectively. We recorded 1249 bee visits to 4831 flowers in 1046 ten-min observation periods. Visit frequency varied among plant species, ranging from 0 observed visits to S. lycopersicum to a mean of 0.62 visits per flower per 10 min to C. lanatus. Bee visitation frequency declined with distance from forest in both studies, with expected visitation frequency decreasing by 55% and 66% at the maximum distance from forest in each study. We also tested whether the distance to the nearest oil palm patch, with a maximum distance of 144 m, influenced visitation, but found no such associations. Expected visitation frequency was 70%–77% lower for plants close to a 200 ha forest fragment compared with those near large continuous forests (>400 ha). Our results suggest that, although found throughout the oil palm-dominated landscape, bees depend on remaining forests. Larger forests support more bees, though even a 50 ha fragment has a positive contribution.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times