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Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Henrik Smith


Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Evolutionary plant–pollinator responses to anthropogenic land-use change : impacts on ecosystem services


  • Mikael Pontarp
  • Anna Runemark
  • Magne Friberg
  • Øystein H. Opedal
  • Anna S. Persson
  • Lingzi Wang
  • Henrik G. Smith

Summary, in English

Agricultural intensification at field and landscape scales, including increased use of agrochemicals and loss of semi-natural habitats, is a major driver of insect declines and other community changes. Efforts to understand and mitigate these effects have traditionally focused on ecological responses. At the same time, adaptations to pesticide use and habitat fragmentation in both insects and flowering plants show the potential for rapid evolution. Yet we lack an understanding of how such evolutionary responses may propagate within and between trophic levels with ensuing consequences for conservation of species and ecological functions in agroecosystems. Here, we review the literature on the consequences of agricultural intensification on plant and animal evolutionary responses and interactions. We present a novel conceptualization of evolutionary change induced by agricultural intensification at field and landscape scales and emphasize direct and indirect effects of rapid evolution on ecosystem services. We exemplify by focusing on economically and ecologically important interactions between plants and pollinators. We showcase available eco-evolutionary theory and plant–pollinator modelling that can improve predictions of how agricultural intensification affects interaction networks, and highlight available genetic and trait-focused methodological approaches. Specifically, we focus on how spatial genetic structure affects the probability of propagated responses, and how the structure of interaction networks modulates effects of evolutionary change in individual species. Thereby, we highlight how combined trait-based eco-evolutionary modelling, functionally explicit quantitative genetics, and genomic analyses may shed light on conditions where evolutionary responses impact important ecosystem services.


  • Theoretical Population Ecology and Evolution Group
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Speciation, Adaptation and Coevolution
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • LU Profile Area: Nature-based future solutions

Publishing year





Biological Reviews

Document type

Journal article


John Wiley & Sons Inc.


  • Ecology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use


  • eco-evolutionary dynamics
  • ecological interactions
  • ecosystem services
  • indirect effects
  • land-use
  • pollination
  • rapid evolution



Research group

  • Theoretical Population Ecology and Evolution Group
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • Speciation, Adaptation and Coevolution


  • ISSN: 1464-7931