Mapping the supply of pest control and pollination ecosystem services in Alberta croplands using joint species distribution modelling

Arthropods such as bees, beetles and spiders provide ecosystem services to crops in Alberta. This nature’s contribution to people has economic value to farmers. The arthropods can control crop pests, pollinate crops, and help to improve the overall health and quality of the crop. These natural services are freely available to farmers. However, to take advantage of them, changes to land in the vicinity of crop fields may be necessary. This project uses a large database of these arthropods, sampled between 2015 and 2018 at more than 300 sites in southern and central Alberta annual croplands, to make maps describing the supply of these services that is currently available. Maps describing the relative amount of pest control and pollination service supply across this region will be used by our partner, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and made available to other organizations, to incentivize land-owners interested in making changes that support populations of these arthropods. Such changes include creating new areas of natural vegetation near crop fields, a step that can also create new habitat for other biodiversity.

Abigail Cohen
Faculty Supervisor: 
Paul Galpern
Partner University: