Marginal agricultural land provides opportunities to diversify landscapes by producing biomass for biofuel, and through floral provisioning that enhances arthropod-mediated ecosystem service delivery. We examined the effects of local spatial context (adjacent to woodland or agriculture) and irrigation (irrigation or no irrigation) on wildflower bloom and visitation by arthropods in a biofeedstocks-wildflower habitat buffer design. Twenty habitat buffer plots were established containing a subplot of Napier grass (Pennisetum perpureum
Schumach) for biofeedstock, three commercial wildflower mix subplots, and a control subplot containing spontaneous weeds. Arthropods and flowers were visually observed in quadrats throughout the season. At the end of the season we measured soil nutrients and harvested Napier biomass. We found irrespective of buffer location or irrigation, pollinators were observed more frequently early in the season and on experimental plots with wildflowers than on weeds in the control plots. Natural enemies showed a tendency for being more common on plots adjacent to a wooded border, and were also more commonly observed early in the season. Herbivore visits were infrequent and not significantly influenced by experimental treatments. Napier grass yields were high and typical of first-year yields reported regionally, and were not affected by location context or irrigation. Our results suggest habitat management designs integrating bioenergy crop and floral resources provide marketable biomass and habitat for beneficial arthropods.
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