Recent studies have focused on ways to enhance floral availability on arable farmland, but little attention has been paid to the importance of off-farm habitats in providing forage for pollinators within farmed landscapes. We conducted a comparative study to assess bumblebees and flower abundance on farmed and off-farm habitats in two low-intensity systems in the UK. We show that road verges and track edges provide forage and attract long-tongued bumblebees in both farming systems. Also, grazing management depends on the farming system in operation, with cattle grazing providing a valuable foraging habitat for short-tongued bumblebees in southwest England. Therefore, to conserve bumblebees in agricultural landscapes the type of farming system needs to be taken into account in developing grazing management regimes, whilst non-agricultural habitats need to be integrated into local land management plans to ensure the provision of forage for bumblebees throughout the breeding season.
|Translated title of the contribution||The use of off-farm habitats by foraging bumblebees in agricultural landscapes: Implications for conservation management|
|Pages (from-to)||113 - 127|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2012|