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Grower Networks and Pollination Management

The decreasing population of bees and other pollinators has sparked increasing concern among conservationists worldwide. Thus, as seen from the article, conservationists are working to innovate pollination management such that crop pollination increases and the ecosystem can support a greater variety of pollinators. The adoption of various innovations was studied through grower networks in southwest Michigan consisting of 367 growers. The goals of the study were to investigate the influence and power of grower networks as well as the grower experience with various innovative practices. The study found that 17% adopted a combination of bees, 49% adopted flowering cover crops, 55% kept permanent habitats for pollinators, and some didn’t even adopt any practices. This was in part due to personal experiences with each practice, resulting in positive and negative relationships, and the communications among the networks through peer-to-peer networks and social learning (although this influenced the adoption of practices to a varying degree).

In class, we discussed the structure and function of networks such that I could visualize and understand this article to a greater degree. We discussed the nodes and edges that make up a network, with strong/weak ties and positive/negative relationships. This could be seen in the article with the grower networks (growers being the nodes and their communication links the edges) and their ties and relationships to each other and to the studied innovations. It could be seen that the positive and negative relationships between grower and innovation proved to be highly influential in whether or not the grower adopted such innovation, while the peer-to-peer grower network proved less so. According to the article moreover, such understandings of these networks through communication and social learning prove to be of the utmost importance in creating policies and informing the public of the innovations in agroecosystems.




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