In publica commoda

Press release: The benefits of biodiversity to agriculture are evident

No. 210 - 17.10.2019

International research team with participation from Göttingen evaluates studies from around the world

People must ensure the greatest possible biodiversity in order to secure access to nature's freely available resources for the future. It is just not enough to rely on a few species as pollinators or pest controllers. This is the conclusion drawn by an international research team, which included participation from the University of Göttingen. The results were published in the journal Science Advances.


Over 100 collaborating scientists evaluated 89 studies in which the connection between land use, biodiversity and the available services of natural ecosystems were investigated. The studies took place at almost 1,500 locations worldwide - from corn fields in the USA to rape fields in southern Sweden, coffee plantations in India and mango plantations in South Africa to wheat fields in the Alpine region. The results show that species-rich communities of pollinators and natural competitors maintain and enhance important agricultural functions such as pollination and pest control.


This study was led by Matteo Dainese of Eurac Research, Bolzano, and Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter of the Biocenter at the University of Würzberg. This new analysis was informed by many studies carried out over the last few years by the Agroecology and Functional Agrobiodiversity groups of the University of Göttingen. Professor Catrin Westphal, Dr Svenja Bänsch and Professor Teja Tscharntke contributed to the study, for instance, with their recent research data on the pollination of strawberries. These investigations, carried out in the surroundings of Göttingen, showed that the success of pollination is ensured by several wild bee species and less by honeybees. When there are rape fields nearby, the solitary wild bee species turn out to be particularly important. This is because honeybees and bumblebees, which live socially in colonies, prefer rape, which blooms all at the same time and in large quantities, whereas solitary wild bees keep the strawberry pollination going. The support of species-rich wild bee communities in the agricultural landscape is the best guarantee for sustainable production in pollinator-dependent crops such as strawberries, they conclude.


Original publication: Dainese et al. A global synthesis reveals biodiversity-mediated benefits for crop production. Science Advances (2019).



Professor Teja Tscharntke

Agroecology Group

University of Göttingen

Grisebachstraße 6, 37077 Göttingen

Tel: 0551 39 9209



Professor Catrin Westphal

Functional Agrobiodiversity Group

University of Göttingen

Grisebachstraße 6, 37077 Göttingen

Tel: 0551 3922257