Frequent prescribed fires favour ground‐nesting bees in southeastern U.S. forests

  • Authors: Ulyshen, Michael D.; Wilson, Audrey C.; Ohlson, Gunnar C.; Pokswinksi, Scott M.; Hiers, John K.
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Insect Conservation and Diversity
  • DOI: 10.1111/icad.12484

Abstract

1. Although most efforts to improve habitat for bees and other pollinators focus on floral resources, it is also important to consider the availability and suitability of nesting habitats in relation to various management activities.
2. We used soil emergence traps to compare the number of ground-nesting bees among treatments in a long-term fire frequency study in Florida. We regularly moved the traps, a strategy that appears to greatly improve the efficacy of this sampling approach. The experiment consisted of forested plots that have been burned annually, biennially or triennially for the past six decades as well as unburned reference plots.
3. Bee abundance was significantly lower in the unburned plots than in any of the burn treatments and was higher in annual plots than triennial plots. Bee richness was significantly higher in plots burned annually than in unburned plots. Bee Shannon’s diversity was significantly higher in plots burned biennially or triennially than in unuburned plots. Evenness was significantly lower in annually burned plots than in any of the other treatments.
4. Indicator species analysis found six bee species to be significantly associated with one or more burn treatments. Four of them were strongly associated with plots burned annually or biennially while two species were significantly associated with plots burned biennially or triennially. None was significantly associated with unburned plots.
5. Our findings suggest that frequent fires generally improve habitat for groundnesting bees in southeastern U.S. forests and that tolerances for particular burn frequencies vary by species.

  • Citation: Ulyshen, Michael D.; Wilson, Audrey C.; Ohlson, Gunnar C.; Pokswinksi, Scott M.; Hiers, John K. 2021. Frequent prescribed fires favour ground‐nesting bees in southeastern U.S. forests. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 14(4): 527-534. https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12484.
  • Keywords: Forest management, fuel reduction, nest site, pine forests, Pinus taeda.
  • Posted Date: March 16, 2022
  • Modified Date: March 17, 2022
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.