Tropical fruit production depends on wild insect communities: bees and lychees in Thailand
Most of the agricultural crops around the world depend on wild animal/insect pollination. Insect pollination is the most common in tropical regions, and is something that tropical tree fruits such as the native Asian lychee (Litchi chinensis). The roles of wild insects on lychee production in northern Thailand has not yet been evaluated.
Goals and Methods
The authors aim to quantify the importance of wild insects as pollinators on small-scale lychee farms. They use traps and visual assessments of insects on flowering lychee trees, recording which species visit the flowers. In addition, the authors set out to determine if wild insect pollinators yield greater and/or higher quality fruit by quantifying and measuring flowers and fruits.
Conclusions and Takeaways
Overall, lychee trees produce many flowers but few fruits. Wild insect pollination is found to be highly important to yield good quality fruits. The authors note that the interactions between specific pollinator species and lychee trees are complex and at times present positive and negative trade-offs. Factors such as landscape characteristics and taxonomic traits of the pollinators all impact the pollination rates and quality for lychee trees. These findings allow for improvement of orchard management practices on small-scale properties.
Tropical fruit production depends on wild insect communities: bees and lychees in ThailandAbstract. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 2021;37(1):26 - 34. doi:10.1017/S0266467421000067..