Use of botanical gardens as arks for conserving pollinators and plant-pollinator interactions: A case study from the United States Northern Great Plains
Keywords:Functional diversity, generalized pollination, network analysis, natural areas, pollinator diversity, specialized pollination
Botanical gardens have contributed to plant conservation through the maintenance of both living and preserved plant specimens for decades. However, there is still a large gap in the literature about the potential conservation value that botanical gardens could provide to local pollinators. We investigated how plant-pollinator interaction network structure and diversity may differ between botanical gardens and native habitats by sampling and comparing two environments: a restored native grassland patch within a local botanical garden and fifteen native, remnant temperate grassland sites in the Northern Great Plains. We found pollinator diversity within the restored botanical garden’s native grassland patch to be at the high end of the distribution of the remnant temperate grassland sites throughout the entire flowering season. However, plant diversity and network community metrics between the two environments remained similar throughout, except that remnant temperate grasslands have more links (higher connectance) with pollinators than the garden patch. Overall, our findings demonstrate the promising role restored native grassland patches in botanical gardens could play as reservoirs for local pollinator communities by supporting plant-pollinator interactions comparable to those found in native habitat remnants in the same region.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Isabela B. Vilella-Arnizaut, Diane V. Roeder, Charles B. Fenster
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