Depressed pollination in habitat fragments causes low fruit set

S. A. Cunningham

Abstract

In central New South Wales, Australia, flowers of Acacia brachybotrya and Eremophila glabra plants growing in linear vegetation remnants received less pollen than conspecifics in nearby reserves. Pollen supplementation increased fruit production by both species, indicating pollen limitation of fruit set. Together these observations explain why fruit production by these species was depressed in linear–strip populations relative to nearby reserves. This study confirms that habitat fragmentation can lead to decline in pollination and subsequent fruit set in wild plant populations. Disrupted pollination interactions of the kind documented in this study may offer a substantial challenge to the conservation of biodiversity in fragmented landscapes.