Date of this Version
Lamke, K. E., Wedin, D. A., Wu-Smart, J. Y. (2022). Remnant prairies and high-diversity restorations work together to support wild bees season-long. Prairie Naturalist, Special Issue I, 30-40.
The presence of diverse bee communities in an ecosystem is vital for maintaining healthy plant communities, promoting habitat resilience, and supporting agriculture. In the US, wild bee declines have led to increased monitoring efforts, but there remain critical data gaps in much of the Midwest. Here, we sought to examine how variation in richness and abundance of flowering forbs influences the richness and abundance of wild bees across “remnant” tallgrass prairies, “high diversity” prairie restorations, and “low diversity” prairie restorations or degraded grasslands in eastern Nebraska. High-diversity plots attracted no bees in the early season due to a lack of forbs but supported the highest average richness and abundance of both bees and native forbs during the midseason. Remnant plots strongly supported bees in the early season and most consistently throughout all seasons; however, the early season forb community had a very high abundance of nonnative forbs. Our findings indicate remnant prairies and high-diversity restorations each have seasonal forage gaps or limitations, such that maintaining both is necessary to support wild bees throughout the growing season. This research also provides further evidence to the growing body of literature that prairie restoration efforts can promote diverse and abundant wild bee communities similar to, if not better than, remnant prairies.