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Actively managed conifer forests may also provide important habitat for the pollinators that aid the reproduction of food crops and other flowering plants around the globe.
An international collaboration, led by Jim Rivers of Oregon State University, has established a roadmap for future research aimed at better understanding the role that managed conifer forests in temperate zones play for the conservation of pollinators such as bees, wasps, flies, beetles and butterflies.
Temperate - Forests - Portion - World - Land
"Temperate forests comprise a large portion of the world's land base and to date we haven't really thought about them much in terms of habitat for pollinators," Rivers said.
It's important to do so because insect pollinators have an estimated $100 billion global economic impact each year, enhancing the reproduction of nearly 90 percent of the Earth's flowering plants, including many food crops.
Pollinators - Promoters - Biodiversity - Bees - Bearer
Insect pollinators are also ecologically critical as promoters of biodiversity. Bees are the standard bearer because they're usually present in the greatest numbers and because they're the only pollinator group that feeds exclusively on nectar and pollen throughout their life cycle.
Many vertebrates such as birds and mammals also serve as pollinators, and worldwide, more than 100,000 animal species contribute to pollination.
Conifer - Forests - Pollinator - Populations - Rivers
"We know some managed conifer forests support wild pollinator populations," said Rivers, an animal ecologist with the OSU College of Forestry. "But there's a lot we don't know regarding pollinator diversity and the extent to which management practices affect pollinators and the ecosystem services they provide."
Rivers' team included researchers from OSU,...
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