The Wilds is a 10,000 acre wildlife conservation facility consisting of grasslands and woods in eastern Ohio, USA. A 10 acre butterfly habitat was planted with native plants that encourage butterflies. In the 4 years following its establishment, butterfly species have increased by 227%, however other pollinators have not been documented, nor the spatial extent of its effect on pollinators explored.
We collected butterfly and bee species throughout the growing season in 24 locations extending 700m into a low diversity grassland. Three methods of collection were implemented in each location: passive water bowl traps, passive windowpane traps, and active netting on the most abundant flower species.
Data from the spring of 2008 show that species in the hymenoptera families Megachilidae, Andrenidae, Halictidae, Apidae, and Colletidae, as well as several species in the lepidopteran families Hesperiidae, Pieridae, and Lycaenidae are important components of the pollinator community even at >500 m from the forest or butterfly habitat. Preliminary analyses indicate a higher abundance and diversity of bee and butterfly species in plots close to the restored butterfly habitat and the remnant hardwood forest.
Our initial results will help inform subsequent pollinator habitat restoration efforts. We will continue to monitor pollinator communities over the next 3 years as additional plots of pollinator habitat are added.
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