Hedgerow presence does not enhance indicators of nest-site habitat quality or nesting rates of ground-nesting bees
A major challenge in habitat restoration is targeting the key aspects of a species' niche for enhancement, particularly for species that use a diverse set of habitat features. However, restoration that focuses on limited aspects of a species' niche may neglect other resources that are critical to population persistence. We evaluated the ability of native plant hedgerows, planted to increase pollen and nectar resources for wild bees in agricultural landscapes, to provide suitable nesting habitat and enhance nesting rates of ground-nesting bees. We found that, when compared to unmanaged field edges (controls), hedgerows did not augment most indicators of nest habitat quality (bare ground, soil surface irregularity, and soil hardness), although coarser soils were associated with higher incidence and richness of nesting bees. Hedgerows did not augment nesting rates when compared to control edges. Although all the bee species we detected nesting were also found foraging on floral resources, the foraging versus nesting assemblages found within a site were highly dissimilar. These results may reflect sampling error; or, species found foraging but not nesting in hedgerows could be utilizing hedgerows as partial habitats, nesting outside hedgerow plantings but foraging on the floral resources they provide. We conclude that although hedgerows are known to provide critical floral resources to wild bees especially in resource-poor intensive agricultural landscapes, simply increasing vegetative diversity and structure may not be simultaneously enhancing nesting habitat for ground-nesting bees.
Author(s): Sardinas, HS; Ponisio, LC; Kremen, C
Journal: Restoration Ecology