POLLINATOR HABITAT enhancement
Trees and Bees
Hampton’s working forests provide raw materials for a variety of value-added wood products but they also create a wide range of habitat opportunities and ecosystem services as trees grow and mature. Recent studies have revealed that timber harvest sites can act as important pollinator habitat by opening up areas of forest canopy for habitation by plant and animal species that require more sunlight to thrive. Hampton’s pilot pollinator habit enhancement project seeks to further improve that habitat by creating food and nesting conditions on harvest sites that are ideal for important pollinator species. At the moment our efforts are focused on native bees. Researchers are only just beginning to examine forests as pollinator habitat, so there are not yet established best management practices (BMPs), or even recommended techniques for enhancing habitat. Hampton’s groundbreaking efforts in the area could help scientists identify what practices are most effective for forestland owners who may want to implement their own programs in the future. We’re fortunate to be working with experts at the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and Oregon State University’s (OSU) Pollinator Health Program who are at the forefront of this kind of research. By autumn 2018 we hope to have gathered valuable data on the effectiveness and costs of different treatments and will work closely with partners at ODF and OSU to identify possible improvements and new techniques to experiment with in the future.
Hampton’s pilot project will include the following treatments on approximately 20 acres of recently harvested forestland:
- Sewing seed of native plants that are particularly valuable to pollinators, either as food or habitat.
- Creation and maintenance of piles of woody debris to serve as nesting sites.
- Maintenance of cleared, lightly disturbed top soil for ground nesting species.
- Creation of treatment exclusion zones within the pilot project area for research into the effectiveness of the pilot treatments.
- Pre- and post-treatment species surveys to provide indications of the effectiveness of treatments.
MEET OUR BEE “KEEPERS”
We seeded 14 plots in February and plan to do an additional four this fall for a total of 19 treated acres! We’ll test each plot for things like seed density and species success.
We've Got Seed!
January 2018 Native bee expert, Andony Melathopoulos and ODF entomologist, Christine Buhl joined Hampton forester, Beth Fitch on a blustery day at our Big Creek forest. They dropped off some bee “hotels” to help us assess which species we currently have on the property.
What do you know?
May 2017 Many native bee species find nesting spots in disturbed soils, brush piles, and dense grasses. To learn more about the needs of local species, our bee ranglers attended OSU’s Pollinators in Managed Forests Workshop.