Pollinator Communities On Native Emergent Wetlands, Managed Emergent Wetlands, and Adjacent Croplands in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley of Arkansas

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2015: $11,000.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Ashley Dowling
University of Arkansas

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Agronomic: soybeans
  • Additional Plants: native plants


  • Crop Production: crop rotation, multiple cropping
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, habitat enhancement, wetlands, wildlife
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community services, public participation, sustainability measures


    Insect pollinators supply an ecological service to crops and flowering plants by pollinating a diversity of wild plants and increasing the size and quality of harvest in agriculture production (Allen-Wardell et al. 1998; Delaplane and Mayer 2000; Fontaine et al. 2006). Despite the honeybee’s effectiveness as a pollinator for many crops, the risks associated with reliance on a single managed pollinator species have become evident over the past decades as North American honeybee populations have declined by 25% due to the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, Colony Collapse Disorder, farming intensification, habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, and agrochemicals (Steffan-Dewenter et al. 2002; Tylianakis et al. 2005; Biesmeijer et al. 2006; National Research Council 2006; vanEngelsdorp et al. 2009). Though cotton, rice, and soybeans are considered autogamy (self-pollinating), cross-breeding (via pollinators) helps increase yield, produce more viable seed, and enhance genetic diversity of the crop (Kremen et al. 2002; Pu et al. 2014).

    Emergent wetlands occur adjacent to croplands throughout the Southeastern United States and create valuable floral resources for pollinators throughout the growing season. Some of these emergent wetlands on public lands are actively managed for annual plants that produce abundant seed resources for migratory waterfowl while some emergent wetlands are more passively (less frequently or less intensely) managed for perennial plants. Pollinator communities that use emergent wetlands have been poorly documented and their benefits to plant communities on surrounding lands are not fully understood.

    Project objectives:

    • Compare pollinator communities between managed emergent wetlands and adjacent croplands,
    • Assess impact of management strategies on pollinator species abundance and diversity, and
    • Document whether pollinator visiting flowers in wetlands are also visiting flowers in adjacent croplands.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.