Cost-Effective Roadside Vegetation Methods to Support Insect Pollinators

Insect SamplingStatus:  Complete
Report Date:  12/02/2022


A University of Minnesota research team, with support of MnDOT and the Local Road Research Board, studied whether restored roadsides could provide safe habitats for declining pollinator populations. The researchers conducted two studies. One used pollinator habitat maps to examine associations between the amount of nearby pollinator-friendly habitat and bumble bees. They also regrouped land covers to more specifically align with bumble bee habitat needs and compare the ability of both land cover categorizations to predict bumble bee metrics. The second study combined detailed insect and floral surveys of sites with known revegetation history to test efficacy of current revegetation methods for providing habitat for insect pollinators. They showed which plants establish after seeding and how communities change as they age, finding that native flowering plants are more likely to establish in roadsides when they are planted, but native and non-native seeded sites converge in the plant community through time. This work identifies where pollinator-friendly restorations should be implemented and how current seeding practices could be modified to improve benefits to pollinators while reducing costs.

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