Agricultural producers have many incentives to clear small natural areas
from their fields, as this can expand their cultivated land base.
However, natural areas can play a role in delivering ecosystem services
that improve crop productivity (e.g., by providing habitat for
beneficial arthropods, that deliver pollination or pest control). We
assessed the impact of landscape complexity on adjacent canola (Brassica
napus) yield at both the field- and subfield-level using remotely sensed
products. Fields with higher landscape complexity generally had higher
mean yields. However, fields surrounded mostly by either crop or
non-crop covers had lower yields, possibly due to a lack of ecosystem
services (i.e., pollination or natural pest control services) or a
strong yield-reducing edge effect. At the subfield-level, we found
evidence of a boost in yield between 30 and 100 m from the field edge
towards its center, as well as a potential yield-stabilizing effect at
the same range.