Promoting Pollinators on Maryland’s Working Landscapes
The proposed project addresses native pollinator populations on 12 CSA farms including ten from across the state of Maryland, one in Pennsylvania and one in West Virginia. The purpose of the project is to assess the current status of native bees in agroecosystems and provide baseline data so that research on declines and recovery efforts have benchmarks for comparison. Additionally, the research will investigate adjacent habitat to agricultural fields and its influence on pollinator presence within vegetable and cucurbit plots. The results will provide information that farmers can use to guide the management of adjacent lands for pollinator foraging and nesting habitat thereby improving pollination visitation and crop productivity.
Land use change, introductions of nonnatives and misuse of pesticides will continue to threaten native pollinators in the short term. Properly designed and managed, pollinator recovery projects could invite participation from agricultural producers through proper incentive schemes that would help to reduce further impact on pollinator species and likewise augment population growth where appropriate. Before decline can be assessed and restoration efforts can be evaluated as successes or failures, however, an understanding of the present status of native pollinator populations is required. The proposed project will contribute to that understanding by way of measuring native pollinator diversity on several CSA farms in and around the state of Maryland.
During the summer of 2005, we surveyed 12 farm sites in June, July and August and collected over 3200 wild bees using painted fluorescent pan traps. We surveyed habitats including cucurbit crops, other vegetable crops and cut flowers, shrubs, woodlines, meadows and grass lawns. Species diversity analyses are incomplete at time of print, however, overall wild bee abundance measures indicate a temporal shift in foraging from woodline flowers to cucurbit crops as the season progresses. Species identifications of collected wild bees are underway to determine differences in diversity among habitats on farms.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The results of the research project will provide information for farmers and the public through the proposed outreach channels. In the summer of 2005 I presented the project’s objectives at three symposia/conferences as well as to the public at two of my farm study sites. A local boy scout troop has been involved in learning about wild bees and helping to create bee boxes for farms.
One Straw Farm
Fresh & Local
Good Fortune Farm
Even’ Star Farm
Avian Mead Organics
Cromwell Valley CSA
Eating with the Seasons