Management of Pollinator Habitat Along a Natural Gas Right-of-Way: Comparing Habitat Created by a Standard Reclamation Versus Native Pollinator Seed Mix
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Environment and Natural Resources Honors Theses; 2021
Pollinators are an extremely valuable and biodiverse group of organisms that contribute to food security and ecosystem health worldwide. Bees and butterflies are two important insect pollinators. The world is currently facing a 'pollination crisis;' pollinators including bees and butterflies are declining at the local, regional, and global scale (Potts et al. 2010a). Some contributors to this decline include habitat fragmentation and loss, land intensification, and climate change (Kearns et al., 1998). Rights-of-way (ROWs), or utility easements, have great potential for supporting pollinator habitat. In this study, I examine the management of a natural gas ROW at Three Creeks Metro Park (Three Creeks) in Franklin County, Ohio. Each side of the ROW was planted with a different seed mixture (standard reclamation mixture along the pipe-zone and a native seed mixture along the non-pipe zone). I aimed to analyze differences in the vegetation produced by each mixture and how the vegetation influenced pollinators. The results of the study indicate that there was not a statistically significant difference in floral resources, habitat structure, and 'cover class' (percentage cover of various vegetation) variables between the pipe and non-pipe zone. Additionally, zone did not have a significant effect on bee and butterfly species/genera richness and totals. Despite this, a diversity of butterflies was observed using ROW resources and a diversity of native bees was collected from the ROW. This suggests that ROWs such as the one at Three Creeks can serve as spaces for pollinator habitat, providing much-needed resources for bees and butterflies.
Academic Major: Environmental Science
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