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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317774

Title: Agroecosystem diversity and pollinator ecosystem services on the northern Great Plains

item Sanderson, Matt

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2015
Publication Date: 11/16/2015
Citation: Sanderson, M.A. 2015. Agroecosystem diversity and pollinator ecosystem services on the northern Great Plains. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 91924.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The northern Great Plains provide critical habitat to pollinators. In 2012, North and South Dakota produced one-third of the total honey in the U.S. According to large scale analyses, crop diversity in the northern Great Plains has increased during the past 35 years. Increased diversity, greater complexity of crop rotations, and the use of cover crops, are assumed to benefit pollinator habitat; however, pollinator health has continued to decline. The increase in crop diversity has been accompanied by a significant change in land use from perennial crops (forages, rangeland) to annual crops. Thus, it is important to understand immediate land use around beekeeping operations to accurately gauge potential pollinator resources. In 2014 and 2015, the land use around 200 hive locations in several North Dakota counties was documented in site visits. Land use and vegetation was observed and documented for approximately 0.5 km around the hive site. The number of crops or land uses surrounding the hives ranged from 1 to 5 with hay crops [principally alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.)] the most common followed by wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and pasture. Understanding the links among agroecosystem diversity, management intensity, land use, and pollinators will enable better decisions to be made on where pollinator habitat is best enhanced on the landscape and inform government programs designed to assist farmers with developing better pollinator habitat.