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Win-win for conservation and chocolate lovers

In a new study published in Ecological Applications, CTBCC's Tobin Northfield and student Samantha Forbes show that sometimes everyone can win - as increased pollinator habitat results in increased production of cacao AND increased predator conservation.

Samantha conducted her field experiments on a cacao farm in North Queensland, where she increased pollinator habitat by providing cacao fruit husks. 

The researchers found that the addition of cacao fruit husks increased the number of fruits per tree and along with hand pollination treatments, increased final yields indicating a promotion of the pollination ecosystem service provided by the specialist pollinators, midges.

Samantha also found that cacao fruit husk addition increased the densities of two predator groups, spiders and skinks. 
 

The authors state that their study results exemplify a “win-win” relationship between agricultural production and conservation, whereby agricultural practices to support vital pollinators and pollination services can increase production as well as support species conservation.

Read the full study here.

 

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