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Agriculture is dependent on insect pollination, yet in areas of intensive production agriculture, there is often a decline in plant and insect diversity. As native habitats and plants are replaced, often only the weeds or unwanted vegetation persist. This study compared insect diversity on mango, Mangifera indica, a tropical fruit tree dependent on insect pollination, when weeds were present in cultivation versus when they were removed mechanically. The pollinating insects on both weeds and mango trees were examined as well as fruit set and yield in both the weed-free and weedy treatment in South Florida. There were significantly more pollinators and key pollinator families on the weedy mango trees, as well as significantly greater fruit yield in the weedy treatment compared to the weed-free treatment. Utilizing weeds, especially native species, as insectary plants can help ensure sufficient pollination of mango and increase biodiversity across crop monocropping systems.
Kleiman, Blaire M.; Koptur, Suzanne; and Jayachandran, Krishnaswamy, "Weeds enhance pollinator diversity and fruit yield in mango" (2021). All Faculty. 229.