Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 2017;15:18-24 DOI: 10.1016/j.pecon.2017.03.002
Research Letters
Positive responses of flower visiting bees to landscape heterogeneity depend on functional connectivity levels
Danilo Boscoloa,, , Paola Mandetta Tokumotob, Patrícia Alves Ferreiraa, John Wesley Ribeirob, Juliana Silveira dos Santosb
a Landscape Ecology and Analisys Pack (LEAP), Biology Department, Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
b Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab (LEEC), Ecology Department, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
Received 15 November 2016, Accepted 06 March 2017

Landscape changes can lead to bee species loss, what impairs proper landscape level pollination processes, impacting both nature conservation and human welfare. Although landscape heterogeneity can rescue bee communities from collapsing, these insects seem sensitive to reduced functional connectivity, hindering pollen transfer among plants. Our objective was to verify which of these two factors, landscape heterogeneity or functional connectivity, can better explain variations of bee abundance and richness in a fragmented Atlantic Forest region. We sampled flower-visiting bees in 12 landscapes with varying heterogeneity and functional connectivity measured using a Functional Ecological Corridors framework. Both richness and abundance were affected by landscape factors, reaching its highest levels at intermediate levels of functional connectivity in highly heterogeneous landscapes, indicating the existence of strong regime shifts in the system. In low-forested landscapes, conservation actions for pollinating bees should focus on implementing diversified environments with high quality which are interspersed among each other and with native vegetation.


  • Land changes can hinder landscape-level pollination through bee species loss.

  • Bees were more diverse at functionally connected and highly heterogeneous landscapes.

  • We propose non-linear effects of heterogeneity and functional connectivity on bees.

  • Proper landscape-level bee pollination needs interspersed high quality environments.

Functional ecological corridors, Landscape effects, Pollination, Bee richness and abundance, Atlantic forest