Landscape Ecology

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 581–593 | Cite as

Landscape heterogeneity enhances stability of wild bee abundance under highly varying temperature, but not under highly varying precipitation

  • Alexandra D. Papanikolaou
  • Ingolf Kühn
  • Mark Frenzel
  • Oliver Schweiger
Research Article



The abundance of important providers of ecosystem services such as wild bees likely increases with landscape heterogeneity, but may also fluctuate across the flowering season following varying weather conditions.


In the present study, we investigated the combined effect of landscape heterogeneity and intra-annual variability in temperature and precipitation on the spatial and temporal stability of wild bee abundance.


We used bee monitoring data from six 4 km × 4 km sites in central Germany and 16 local communities per site. The data were collected six times per year from 2010 to 2013. Following a multimodel inference approach, we identified the importance of landscape heterogeneity, weather variability and their interaction to the stability of wild bee abundance.


We found that the stability of wild bee abundance increased with landscape heterogeneity, but decreased with increasing intra-annual variability in both temperature and precipitation. However, our key finding was a buffering mechanism enabling high abundance stability in heterogeneous landscapes even under highly variable temperature conditions. Interestingly, the same mechanism did not apply for high variability in precipitation.


Our findings suggest that increasing landscape heterogeneity is beneficial for protecting wild bees against the projected increase in temperature variability until the end of the twenty first century, although we cannot make inferences for extreme events such as heatwaves. Nevertheless, our results equally highlight that landscape heterogeneity should not be treated as a one-size-fits-all solution and the need remains for developing alternative strategies to mitigate the effect of increasing variability in precipitation.


Climate change Ecosystem service Landscape heterogeneity Landscape management Mitigation Spatiotemporal stability Weather variability Wild bee abundance 

Supplementary material

10980_2016_471_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1117 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community EcologyHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research–UFZHalleGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical GardenMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany
  3. 3.German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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