- Agronomic: soybeans
- Additional Plants: native plants
- Crop Production: crop rotation, multiple cropping
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Farm Business Management: value added
- 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:div style="margin-left:1em;">
- 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.