Bees flock to clearcut areas but numbers decline as forest canopy regrows, OSU research shows

by Steve Lundeberg, Oregon State University
April 13, 2023

Native bees in the Oregon Coast Range are diverse and abundant in clearcut areas within a few years of timber harvest but their numbers drop sharply as planted trees grow and the forest canopy closes, research by Oregon State University shows.

The findings are important for understanding the roles forest management might play in the conservation of a crucial pollinator group, the researchers said.

The study, led by graduate student Rachel Zitomer and Jim Rivers, an animal ecologist in the OSU College of Forestry, was published in Ecological Applications.

“The research demonstrates that Douglas-fir plantations develop diverse communities of wild bees shortly after harvest,” Rivers said. “Management activities that promote open conditions and enhance floral resources in the initial years following harvest are likely to promote bee diversity in intensively managed forest landscapes.”

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