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Conserving pollinators in North American forests: A review

Formally Refereed
Authors: James L. Hanula, Michael D. Ulyshen, Scott Horn
Year: 2016
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Natural Areas Journal


Bees and butterflies generally favor open forest habitats regardless of forest type, geographic region, or methods used to create these habitats. Dense shrub layers of native or nonnative species beneath forest canopies negatively impact herbaceous plant cover and diversity, and pollinators. The presence of nonnative flowers as a source of nectar, pollen, or larval food can have positive or negative effects on pollinators depending on the situation, but in cases where the nonnatives exclude native plants, the results are almost always negative. Roads and roadside corridors offer an opportunity to increase open, pollinator-friendly habitat even in dense forests by thinning the adjacent forest, mowing at appropriate times, and converting to native herbaceous plant communities where nonnative species have been planted or have invaded. Efforts to improve forest conditions for pollinators should consider the needs of specialist species and vulnerable species with small scattered populations. Conservation of bees and butterflies, as well as other pollinating species, in forested areas is important for most forest plant species, and forests may serve as reservoirs of pollinators for recolonization of surrounding habitats.


fire, forest management, invasive species, prescribed burning, verges


Hanula, James L.; Ulyshen, Michael D.; Horn, Scott. 2016. Conserving pollinators in North American forests: A review. Natural Areas Journal, Vol. 36(4): 13 pages.: 427-439.