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Agriculturally dominated landscapes reduce bee phylogenetic diversity and pollination services

17 / 01 / 2019, Science Now

Land-use change threatens global biodiversity and may reshape the tree of life by favoring some lineages over others. Whether phylogenetic diversity loss compromises ecosystem service delivery remains unknown. We address this knowledge gap using extensive genomic, community, and crop datasets to examine relationships among land use, pollinator phylogenetic structure, and crop production. Pollinator communities in highly agricultural landscapes contain 230 million fewer years of evolutionary history; this loss was strongly associated with reduced crop yield and quality. Our study links landscape–mediated changes in the phylogenetic structure of natural communities to the disruption of ecosystem services. Measuring conservation success by species counts alone may fail to protect ecosystem functions and the full diversity of life from which they are derived.

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