Diverse landscapes but not wildflower plantings increase marketable crop yield


Biodiversity-friendly farming practices may create a win-win scenario for biodiversity and crop production by supporting ecosystem services to agriculture. On-farm wildflower plantings and conserving semi-natural habitat surrounding farms are two such practices that focus on the integration of non-crop components into production systems at the local and landscape scale, respectively. Here, we examine the impact of these practices on the regulating services of biological control and pollination, as well as the provisioning service of crop yield in four crops replicated across 22 farms in two US states. Wildflower plantings had no effect on pollination while their influence on pest control was both dependent on the landscape context and inconsistent across crops. In contrast, farms surrounded by higher amounts of semi-natural habitat had consistently higher marketable yields for all four crops. Our findings suggest a need to account for non-production values of wildflower plantings as they provide fewer direct production benefits than surrounding semi-natural habitats.

Land use, Ecosystem services, Pest control, Pollination, Crop quality