The influence of garden flowers on pollinator visits to forest flowers: comparison of bumblebee habitat use between urban and natural areas
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As garden plants in urbanized environments provide considerable diverse floral resources to pollinators, the availability of floral resources has changed as a consequence of increasing urbanization. Although pollinators often forage at different sites in response to spatiotemporal variations in floral resources, little is known about the differences in pollinator foraging between urban and nearby natural environments. We monitored the foraging patterns of bumblebees in open and forest habitats in two areas with and without urban gardens with respect to flowering phenology and the availability of floral resources in each habitat. Floral richness in the forest habitat decreased as the season progressed, with a peak in late spring to early summer, whereas floral resources in the open habitat increased late in the season. Thus, floral resources in the open habitat could compensate for seasonal declines in forest floral resources. In the urban area, which contained green gardens, floral richness in the open habitat was much greater than that in the forest habitat. This resulted in a relatively high density of bumblebees in the open habitat in the urban area compared with those in the natural area, which lacked green gardens. Visitation frequency of bumblebees to forest flowers decreased as the floral richness of the open habitat increased. These results suggest that although urban gardens are important foraging sites for pollinators, the high attractiveness of garden flowers reduces pollinator visits to wildflowers in nearby forests. This may result in reduced pollination of native flowers.
KeywordsFloral resource Flowering phenology Forest Bumblebee Foraging habitat Garden flower
G. K. received grant from JSPS KAKENHI grant Number 15H02641, and S. N. was funded by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. We appreciate Teruyoshi Nagamitsu for his critical comments and suggestions. Takuya Kubo helped in the statistical analysis, Yukihiro Amagai supported GIS analysis, and Rika Hirano supported in data collection. The Botanical Garden of Hokkaido University allowed additional flower sampling. Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude to the warm understanding of the residents in the study areas.
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