Wildlife species that pollinate flowers provide critical ecosystem services that are disproportionately important compared to the diminutive size of many of the pollinators. Alarmingly, populations of many pollinators in the Sierra Nevada and around the world are declining. The Western Bumble Bee (Bombus occidentalis) was recently designated by the US Forest Service as a Sensitive Species on National Forests in California, in part due to apparent disappearance from much of its historical range in recent years. Another important pollinator in the Sierra Nevada, the Rufous Hummingbird, still occurs in large numbers across the mountain range during its summertime southbound migration, but is increasingly recognized as a bird species in trouble, with a population estimated to be declining by 3% per year.
For more information about IBP’s efforts to study and protect pollinators in the Sierra Nevada, please contact Helen Loffland.
A major new initiative of IBP’s Protecting Sierra Pollinators Program is to study the occurrence, habitat relationships, and response to land management activities, of Western Bumble Bee and other bumble bee species on National Forests in the Sierra Nevada. Much of our initial work is taking place in recently burned areas, because post-fire forest management may be among the most important ways that Sierra Nevada land managers affect bumble bee habitat.
Polasik, J.S., H.L. Loffland, R.B. Siegel, and M.W. Tingley. 2016. Assessing bumble bee communities on the Fred’s and Power Fires of the Eldorado National Forest: report for the 2015 Field Season. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF