Increasing the conservation value of powerline corridors for wild bees through vegetation management
The journal Biodiversity and Conservation recently published a paper by current and former NJIT faculty and students on how to manage powerline corridors to enhance the number and diversity of native bees. Many people are aware that hive-living, non-native honeybees are in trouble, but did you know that in a place like New Jersey there are hundreds of native bee species, most of which also provide pollination services? While most of the alterations humans make to the landscape are not benefical to these hard-working insects, managed habitats like powerline rights-of-way can potentially provide refuges. This paper follows a number of others which collectively show that integrated vegeation management (essentially, the removal of large trees while leaving herbaceous plants and shrubs undisturbed) is better than the traditional management practices of periodic mowing or 'bush-hogging.' Ongoing studies are exploring whether the bees in these better-managed sites will 'spill over' to provide pollination services in neighboring farms and gardens. If you wish to read the paper, you can find it here:
Russell, KN, GJ Russell, KL Kaplan, S Mian, S Kornbluth (2018) Increasing the conservation value of powerline corridors for wild bees through vegetation management: an experimental approach. Biodiversity and Conservation online early. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-018-1552-8.
Kimberly Russell is a former University Lecturer and Research Associate at NJIT. She now works at Rutgers New Brunswick in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources.
Kayla Kaplan was a Biology undergraduate student who went on to complete a Masters in Environmental Science at NJIT.
Sameen Mian was a Biology undergraduate student who is now in medical school at Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Sarah Kornbluth was in the Biology PhD program and now works at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.