Impacts of land use on native pollinator diversity and survival in Sumatra, Indonesia

In Sumatra, Indonesia, recent demographic changes and government policies have led to the transformation of tropical lowland forest to a landscape dominated by shrubby fallow land and rubber and oil palm plantations. However, native insect pollinators, which provide important ecosystem functions and services, may depend on the higher resource diversity of diminishing forests to flourish. We propose to investigate the role of land use and landscape composition on insect pollinator diversity and survival in Sumatra, Indonesia. A series of landscape sites has already been established in Jambi Province representing four prominent land use types in the region (oil palm, rubber, shrub, and forest) and covering a gradient of surrounding forest composition. We will monitor pollinator insect traps, climate stations, and colonies of a native stingless bee (Tetragonula laeviceps) that will be established at these sites. Differences in pollinator diversity, T. laeviceps colony growth, and colony resource-gathering activities will be monitored as a function local land use type and amount of surrounding natural habitat (forest and shrub). We hypothesize that pollinator diversity and measures of T. laeviceps colony health will be higher in more natural (i.e., similar to forest) land use and with more surrounding natural habitat. Understanding how land use and landscape composition affects the diversity and health of local pollinators would provide important insights into the impacts of land use and transformation on pollinator biodiversity and ecosystem services.

  • We will track the variation in the development and survival of T. laeviceps colonies as a function of site land use and surrounding natural areas. Groups of nests will be established in sites located in forest, shrub, oil palm, and rubber land uses with differing amounts of natural habitat around them. Surrounding land use will be quantified using GIS and ground surveys, and nest development will be assessed through nest weighing, foraging observation, and analysis of collected pollen.
  • We will examine variation in pollinator diversity across land use types and gradients of surrounding natural habitat. Passive insect pollinator traps (i.e. vane traps) will be placed in the landscape sites to sample pollinator diversity as a function of site and surrounding land use.