Cost-Effective Roadside Vegetation Methods to Support Insect Pollinators

Principal Investigator(s):

Emilie Snell-Rood, Associate Professor, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior


Project summary:

Roadside right-of-ways contain millions of acres of promising habitat for insect pollinators. However, restoration of roadsides for pollinators can be expensive and is rarely evaluated for its effectiveness. Where do we invest limited resources in pollinator friendly revegetation efforts to maximize their benefits to pollinators? How effective are commonly used revegetation practices at providing habitat for pollinators and what are the associated costs? This project is addressing these questions, empowering road managers with the information necessary to guide them as to where and how they should revegetate for pollinators on limited budgets.

The research team is developing habitat occupancy models for roadside sites for monarchs and rusty-patched bumblebees using rapid assessments of 100 sites in Washington County. The researchers are combining these assessments with more detailed insect and plant surveys of 30 sites of known revegetation history to map revegetation methods and costs to present-day outcomes for insect pollinators. This work combines expertise from labs that study Minnesota butterflies and native bees and builds on three existing projects that focus on roadside habitat for monarchs and rusty-patched bumblebees.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2021006
  • Start date: 07/2020
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Environment