U.S. Forest Service’s new bee management program means “bees-ness!”

U.S. Forest Service scientists just launched a project aimed at boosting bee populations.

Most people are acquainted with honeybees and bumblebees and their importance in nature. But, did you know? There are 4,000 bee species in this country that pollinate 80 percent of all flowering plants, including more than 130 types of fruits and vegetables. In fact, every year the U.S. bee population pollinates $15 billion worth of crops—the very food we eat and need for survival.

Bee populations continue to decline in range and abundance despite their critical role in nature, food production, and the national economy. One of the major causes of pollinator decline is habitat loss. That is why scientists from the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station (a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) created the Pollinator Habitat in Log Landings Project (PHiLL).

“What we’re doing on national forests is really to benefit a diverse range of flora and fauna,” said USDA Research Ecologist Lauren Pile Knapp. “And this project is just one piece of that.”

PHiLL is a three-year study on developing pollinator habitats on log landings following timber harvests by mimicking fire disturbance patterns to establish open-forest habitats ideal for bee populations to thrive.

“Although log landings (places where loggers stack,sort, and load timber into trucks) are generally considered degraded habitats because the use of heavy equipment results in soil compaction and the removal of vegetation, forest management can promote bee diversity and abundance by [...] opening the forest canopy helps increase light levels on the forest floor which, in turn, leads to higher understory plant species richness and good habitat for shade-intolerant, early successional species.

To learn more about the Pollinator Habitat in Log Landings Project, click the link below:

PHiLL Mitigating Soil Compaction in Log Landings (brightspotgocdn.com)

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