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Forage and Grasslands as Pollinator Habitat in North Dakota

Sanderson, Matt A.
Crop 2016 v.2 no.1 pp. 1-6
abandoned land, acreage, apiaries, crop acreage, ecosystem services, forage, grain crops, grasslands, grazing lands, habitats, hay, honey bees, industry, land use, pastures, perennials, pollinators, shelterbelts, surveys, trees, wheat, Great Plains region, North Dakota
Perennial grasslands typically support a diversity of vegetation and an abundance of pollinators. The northern Great Plains provide critical habitat for pollinators, both native and those managed for honey production. The objective of this research was to broadly assess the land use adjacent to apiaries across North Dakota. In 2014 and 2015 the land use around 320 apiaries in North Dakota was documented in roadside surveys and site visits. Results showed that apiaries were most often located near perennial grassland followed by small grain crops, grazingland, and trees. The distribution of apiaries seemed to follow the acreage of crops in North Dakota. There was a greater frequency of apiaries associated with hay and pasture than other crops except small grains in relation to crop acreage. The number of crops or land uses surrounding the apiaries ranged from 1 to 5 with hay crops the most common followed by wheat and pasture. Apiaries were also frequently located in abandoned farmsteads and near shelterbelts. The results presented here highlight the value of forage and grazinglands in providing additional ecosystem services that support native pollinators and a large domestic honey bee industry.