Globally, many insect pollinator populations are declining in response to anthropogenic harms including habitat loss due to land-use change and urbanization, climate change, increasing pesticide use, invasive species introductions, and increased pathogen transmission. In order to protect these insects, and the benefits they provide through pollination, habitat must be protected. Much of the effort to protect insect pollinator habitat is occurring in urban areas, where pollinators may struggle to find the resources they need to survive. The purpose of this study was to assess the success of three pollinator meadows created within the Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor (Eco-Corridor) on the University of Richmond (UR) campus in Richmond, VA. These meadows were designed to provide habitat to insect pollinators as part of UR’s recertification process as a Bee City USA certified Bee Campus. In order to assess the quality of habitat provided by these meadows, they were compared to three other sites on campus containing managed flower beds. At each site, five 1x1 meter quadrats were laid and the percent ground cover, individual number of plants, number of plant species, and presence of pollinators within each quadrat were recorded. Each presumed plant species was photographed and later identified, and its nativity to the area was noted. Results of these surveys suggest that the pollinator meadows do provide better habitat for insect pollinators than managed flower beds on campus. This information may be used to suggest to the campus Landscape Services Department ways to improve managed flower beds in terms of pollinator habitat. However, this study also revealed flaws within the pollinator meadows, and indicates a need for further planting projects to improve habitat on campus.
Paper prepared for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Todd Lookingbill
Copyright © 2020, University of Richmond.
Berner, Mary. "Pollinator Habitat on the University of Richmond Campus: Assessing the Success of Pollinator Meadows in the Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor." Paper for Environmental Studies Senior Seminar, University of Richmond, December 2020.