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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357975

Title: Supporting pollinator communities by floral enhancement within livestock pasture ecosystem

item ACHARYA, ROSHANI - University Of Arkansas
item FITTING, EMILY - Henderson State University
item Burke, Joan
item JOSHI, NEEL - University Of Arkansas

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Pollination is important for fertilization, setting fruits, seed development and continuation of life cycle of plants that eventually provides food for humans, livestock and wildlife. Agronomic practices, use of pesticides, lack of diverse flowering plant species, introduction of invasive plants, loss of habitat, climate change and disease have all led to the decline of important pollinators. Pollinators include bees, butterflies, other insects, birds, and animals. One of the important ways to conserve pollinator diversity is to re-establish habitat comprising of native plant species. Use of pollinators to maximize crop production is a proven agricultural practice, however, less priority is given in a livestock forage production system. In this context, a season-long study was conducted to develop native pollinator habitat within livestock pastures at the USDA-ARS Small Farms Research Center in Boonville, AR. In particular, we examined the impact of native floral enhancement on insect pollinators and beneficial arthropods in pasture ecosystems. Study plots were established with the seed-mixes Buck’s Hangout (Hamilton Native Outpost, Elk Creek, MO), and warm season grasses (Prairie Moon, Winona, MN). Season-long weekly sampling of pollinators and beneficial arthropods was conducted to compare the abundance, diversity and species richness in research plots. Samples were collected weekly using blue vane traps, which were placed at 25, 50 and 100m distance from the edge of each plot. Preliminary results reveal bees as the major group of pollinators in livestock pasture ecosystem, followed by other groups of flower visiting insects such as beetles, flies and butterflies.