Hedgerows in Agri-natural Landscape: Potential Habitat Value for Native Bees
The study investigates the value of hedgerows in small-scale agriculture and natural vegetation as foraging habitat for native bees in southeast Arizona. Maintaining patches of semi-natural vegetation is a way of preserving resources for wild bees, and these patches are similar to native foliage providing vital resources within cultivated landscapes. The most common patches are hedgerows made up up lines of trees and shrubs between agricultural fields. In addition to their value for supporting native bees, hedgerows function as field boundaries, windbreaks, and prevent soil errosion. There is very little literature on anything other than honeybees in hedgerows, and almost no data on whether hedgerows can support bees characteristic of native vegetation. As a result, this study was developed to survey bees in four different habitats to answer three main questions:
- How do hedgerows compare to other available habitats in bee abundance and species richness?
- How does bee species composition in hedgerows compare to species in composition in agricultural fields and woodlands?
- How do flower resources in hedgerows compare to those in fields and woodland?
Hedgerows were found to be attractive foraging habitat for native bees in early summer especially, and cumulative species richness is highest in agricultural fields. Hedgerows were also found to support high densities of woodland-characteristic shrubs, and the flowering shrubs are important in sttracting a variety of bee species including some that are valuable pollinators of crops. A complete background for and outline of the study, materials, methods, and discussion of results and findings can be obtained through this publication.
Laura E. Hannon, Thomas D. Sisk, Hedgerows in an agri-natural landscape: Potential habitat value for native bees, Biological Conservation, Volume 142, Issue 10, October 2009, Pages 2140-2154, ISSN 0006-3207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.014.