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Native plants and ecosystem services

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Title: Native plants and ecosystem services


1
Native plants and ecosystem services
2
The Ecological Society of America www.frontiersi
necology.org
3
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Ecosystem services
  • Processes by which the environment produces
    resources
  • timber
  • clean water
  • habitat for fisheries
  • pollination of native and agricultural plants
  • AMES
  • Arthropod mediated ecosystem services
  • US annual value 8 billion dollars (Losey and
    Vaughn 2006)

5
Beneficial insects
  • Pollinators and Parasitoids
  • Natural enemies of insect pests
  • gt 100,000 invertebrate species worldwide
  • E.g. bees, moths, butterflies, beetles, flies,
    wasps
  • Require nectar and/or pollen from flowers
  • Specific habitat and foraging needs
  • Most flowering plants require pollinators.
  • Significant role in gt150 food crops in the US
  • E.g. almonds, apples, alfalfa, melons, plums,
    squash
  • Almost all fruit and grain crops

6
Challenges to survival of bees, predators, and
parasitoids in farmland
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Changes in farmland
  • Farmland being sold for development
  • More invasive plant species
  • The focus on bio-fuels

8
Farmland being sold for development
  • More farmland is being sold for development. This
    is reducing land that native plant species grow
    on. Bees, predators, and parasitoids require
    these plant species for survival.

9
More invasive plant species
  • There are more invasive plants today than there
    were 25 years ago. Invasive plants are taking
    over land used for pasture or crops. This leads
    to less plants that beneficial insects need to
    survive.

10
The focus on bio-fuels
  • As the demand for bio-fuels increase, the amount
    of land planted in corn has increased. This means
    less landscape diversity and also intensifies
    pesticide use. When pesticide use is increased
    both target and non-target insect and plant
    populations are reduced. This means beneficial
    plants and insects will be dramatically reduced.

11
Rebuilding Habitat for beneficial arthropods into
farm landscapes
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  • Almost all beneficial insects require food in the
    form of nectar and/or pollen from flowers
  • This promotes optimal survival and high levels
    of reproduction
  • Success should be measured as an increase in
    biodiversity as well as crop production

13
Beneficial insects on native Midwest prairie
plant flowers
  • Syrphid fly
  • Adults feed on pollen and nectar
  • Larval stage feed on aphids and other insects

14
  • Soldier Beetle
  • Adults feed on grasshopper
    eggs as well as aphids and other insects
  • Supplement diet with pollen and nectar
  • When primary hosts or prey are
  • not available, these predators require alternate
  • hosts or prey to complete their lifecycles
  • Ecosystem must be in balance for long term AMES,
    survival or predator and prey important

15
  • Leafcutter bee
  • Very efficient pollinators
  • Only gather small amounts of pollen per trip
    to the flower which results in frequent trips,
    distributing pollen each instance
  • To maximize reproduction, bee species require
    flowers within their foraging range throughout
    the season
  • Must have enough plants in the area to support
    bees even after the crops are harvested

16
Key questions about rebuilding habitat for
beneficial arthropods
  • What types plants should be introduced or
    conserved in order to attract beneficial
    arthropods?
  • Increase beneficial insects
  • Minimize introduction of new harmful species
  • How should the insects or plants be
    distributed/introduced?
  • Slowly/quickly
  • Near/far from crops

17
  • Habitat management efforts to support
    beneficial insects are based on the establishment
    of flowering plants to provide pollen/nectar
    through the majority of the year
  • Which landscape will be most likely to
    conserve beneficial insects and provide pest
    control and pollination services?

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  • Low complexity impoverished/depleted insect
    populations
  • High complexity high insect population that
    is not easily increased
  • Medium complexity - the addition of flowering
    plants provide resources that can be
    exploited by organisms to increase their
    populations

20
Native Plants to Support AMES
21
Native Plants to Support AMES
  • Research mostly on a few species
  • Native perennials are a good alternative
  • Local Adaptation
  • Habitat Permanency
  • Increased Native Plant Diversity
  • Minimize Recurring Costs

22
Potential Drawbacks to Native Plants
  • Long establishment period
  • Availability of seed
  • More research needed
  • Collaboration needed

23
Screening Native Plants
24
Screening Native Plants
  • Screening native plants involves evaluating
    plants based on the number of beneficial
    arthropods on and around plants.
  • Specific species are recommended based on bloom
    period and the relative adaptation to the
    environment.
  • Native plants are important in agricultural
    landscape because they outcompete non-native
    plants

25
Screening Native Plants
  • In 2004 and 2005 plants were screened that were
    native to Michigan.
  • A total of 48 species were screened, with 43
    being native and 5 being non-native to the area.
  • Of these 48 plants, 26 were considered highly
    ranked when evaluated during the blooming season.
  • Ranking was based on the number of predators,
    parasitiods, and native bees found on or near
    each plant.

26
Screening Native Plants
27
Screening Native Plants
  • These plants provide an overlapping sequence of
    blooms during growing season.
  • The native plants frequently had more beneficial
    arthropods on or around them than the non-native
    plants.
  • More insects responded better to larger flowers
    as compared to plants with smaller flowers.
  • This means that large floral displays should be
    considered when screening for native plants

28
Screening Native Plants
  • These screenings suggest that targeted planting
    can contribute to natural pest control and crop
    pollination
  • Native flowering can also provide food and
    shelter for other wildlife, including threatened
    birds, mammals, and butterflies.
  • The planting of large areas of native flowers can
    also increase biodiversity in the ecodystem.

29
Landscape context and arthropod conservation
plantings
  • Landscape context-is the aspect of a land
    characteristic of a particular region
  • Arthropod conservation plantings-programs aimed
    at enhancing an area to sustain a high population
    of beneficial arthropods

30
Benefit of arthropods?
  • They act as pollinators
  • They help with biological control
  • Pest control which reduces use of pesticides on
    farmland thereby reducing waste runoff which
    harms the environment

31
Landscape variables that support beneficial
arthropods
  • Habitat complexity
  • Simplified, Intermediate or Highly complex
  • Quality-how beneficial the native plants are to
    arthropods
  • Patchiness-multiple small patches of conservation
    land are better than one huge patch

32
Crop fields are ephemeral habitats
  • Ephemeral-means lasting a short time
  • Anthropogenic disturbances-disturbances caused my
    man
  • Tillage of land
  • Pesticide application
  • Harvesting
  • These habitats require frequent recolonization
    and surrounding conservation areas can house the
    beneficial arthropods during this disturbance

33
There are many levels of landscape complexity
within the U.S.
  • Landscape context is a primary driver of the
    ability of conservation efforts to deliver
    intended benefits
  • Three levels with two extremes
  • Simplified-these lack infrastructure needed for
    some species
  • Highly complex-these wont benefit from
    conservation plantings
  • Intermediate-this is the level that benefits most
    from conservation plantings

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35
Landscape-ecosystem service hypothesis
  • This states that Arthropod Mediated Ecosystem
    Services (AMES) are unlikely to be enhanced by
    adding resources in highly simplified landscapes,
    because species pools are too impoverished to
    respond
  • Additional resources will increase AMES in
    landscapes of intermediate complexity, where the
    ecosystem will have a positive response to
    management

36
Conclusions
37
Conclusions
  • Landscape Changes
  • Agriculture
  • Profit Maximization
  • Yield
  • Production practices
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Urban
  • Expansion

38
Conclusions
39
Conclusions
  • Conservation Programs
  • FSA
  • State Acres for Wildlife (SAFE)
  • NRCS
  • NRCS-managed Conservation Security Program
  • Plant Species
  • Native
  • Large flowers
  • Perennial

40
Conclusions
  • Beneficiaries
  • Ag producers
  • Crop yield
  • quality
  • Society
  • Environmental concerns

41
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