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Legumes Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

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Slides presented during "How legume science is enabling industry "

Webinar 6: European legumes in transition 4th May 2021

"Legume pollinators & beneficial insects"

Presented by:  Dr Barbara Smith - Associate Professor, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry

The potential benefits of increasing legume production in Europe are largely framed by two things; 1) an increased need for plant-based protein foods and animal feed and 2) the potential for legumes to play a part in reducing fertiliser applications through their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen.  The wider environmental benefits are largely overlooked, yet legumes provide resources for a wide range of invertebrates and have the potential to support both pollinators and other beneficial insects to deliver ecosystem services (ES) in the landscape. To quantify this potential, there are knowledge gaps to be filled. This presentation synthesises current knowledge and highlights gaps by asking the following questions:  Which pollinators and beneficial insects visit key legume crops? Is there variation in insect identity and abundance visiting different legume crops and varieties? Does including legumes in the cropping system have an impact on pollination and natural pest control to neighbouring crops and habitats? Which cropping design is most likely to deliver services efficiently? What are the remaining key research gaps to enable the design of best practice? 

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