Despite significant investment in EFAs, the study found they were failing to provide all the resources insect pollinators need.
With more than 70 per cent of crops worldwide relying on insect pollinators, it highlights the need to create a variety of inter-
connected, well-managed habitats which complement each other in the resources they offer.
A decline in the number of insect pollinators has been
attributed to intensive farming and the associated loss of
flower-rich habitats which provide food, nesting and breeding sites.
To decrease the environmental impact of agriculture, the 2014 CAP defined a set of habitat and landscape features which farmers needed to incorporate to receive basic farm payments.
The study evaluated how different EFA options varied in their potential to support insect pollinators under both standard and pollinator-friendly management as well as the extent of farmer uptake.
They identified substantial
opportunities to improve the quality of agri-environmental habitats by implementing pollinator-friendly management practices.
These would not only increase the abundance of resources in a habitat but also the range of resources. The findings will
inform the CAP post-2020.
Lead researcher Dr Lorna Cole, an agricultural ecologist at SRUC, said: “With the CAP post-2020 fast approaching, our study highlights that, to effectively conserve pollinators, we need to improve habitat quality.”