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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #219086

Title: Decline in Bee Diversity and Abundance from 1972-2004 in a Flowering Leguminous Tree, Andira inermis in Costa Rica at the Interface of Disturbed Dry Forest and the Urban Environment

item Griswold, Terry

Submitted to: Journal of Kansas Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2008
Publication Date: 1/7/2009
Citation: Frankie, G.W., Rizzardi, M., Vinson, S., Griswold, T.L. 2009. Decline in Bee Diversity and Abundance from 1972-2004 in a Flowering Leguminous Tree, Andira inermis in Costa Rica at the Interface of Disturbed Dry Forest and the Urban Environment. Journal of Kansas Entomological Society 82(1):1-20

Interpretive Summary: Concern has been raised that bees and the pollination services they provide may be in jeopardy in part do to human induced changes in landscape. Bee diversity on a flowering tree in the dry forest of Costa Rica was measured across more than three decades from 1972 to 2004. During this period there was rapid population growth in the area accompanied by greatly reduced natural landscape and vegetation and increased urbanization. Both the total number of bees and the diversity of species declined during this time to a low but consistent level. It appears that ornamental plants in residential areas contribute to the support of these low levels of pollinators.

Technical Abstract: Long-term monitoring of bees in specific sites provides information on changes in diversity and abundance, especially in areas close to human habitation. Evaluations of this monitoring data combined with relevant measures of anthropogenic activity can aide in interpreting emerging patterns of bee pollinators. In 1972, we sampled bees visiting flowers of a population of the leguminous tree, Andira inermis (W. Wright) DC in a dry forest site adjacent to the town of Liberia, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. Slightly more than 800 bees were recorded on the average per tree site, with an overall bee diversity among the trees of approximately 70 species. Standardized bee samples were taken again from the same population of A. inermis in 1996, 1999, and 2004. In each of these years average abundance level per tree was greatly reduced, as was overall species diversity. Andira inermis trees were also observed to have variable attraction for large anthophorid bees versus honey bees. Some trees attracted significantly more anthophorids than honey bees, whereas other trees attracted the opposite. From 1972 there were many changes in land use that were directly related to a rapidly growing human population in Liberia. These changes, which greatly modified the natural landscape and vegetation, are believed to have caused a major decline in diversity and abundance of bees to a low but consistent level. Concurrently, increased urban growth has resulted in many more residential neighborhoods that have a wide variety of ornamental flowering plant species that attract a wide variety of native bee species. Evidence is offered to suggest that urban residential areas represent a source of bees that continue to visit A. inermis at low levels.