Restoration of Nontarget Species: Bee Communities and Pollination Function in Riparian Forests


N. M. Williams, email


Nontarget species such as pollinators may be of great importance to the restoration process and the long-term functioning of restored habitats, but little is known about how such groups respond to habitat restoration. I surveyed bee communities at five equal-aged restored sites, paired with five reference sites (riparian remnants) along the Sacramento River, California, United States. Flower availability and bee visitation patterns were also measured to examine the restoration of pollination function. Restoration of structural vegetation allowed diverse and abundant native bee communities to establish at the restoration sites; however, the composition of these important pollinator communities was distinct from that in the remnant riparian sites. Differences did not arise primarily from differences in the composition of the flowering-plant community; rather there must be other physical characteristics of the restored sites or differences in nesting site availability that led to the different pollinator communities. Because sites were spatially paired, the differences are unlikely to be driven by landscape context. Bee life-history and other biological traits may partially explain the differences between bee communities at restored and remnant sites. Patterns of visitation to native plant species suggest that pollination function is restored along with pollinator abundance and richness; however, function may be less robust in restored habitats. An examination of interaction networks between bees and plant species found at both restored and remnant riparian sites showed less redundancy of pollinators visiting some plants at restored habitats.