Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study . Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances. Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras. SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0​ "Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study’s lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement . It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn’t been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result. Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting […]

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