Supplementary Material for Hill & Bartomeus: The potential of electricity transmission corridors in forested areas as bumble bee habitat. from The potential of electricity transmission corridors in forested areas as bumblebee habitat

2016-11-10T13:24:51Z (GMT) by Bruce Hill Ignasi Bartomeus
Declines in pollinator abundance and diversity are not only a conservation issue, but also a threat to crop pollination. Maintained infrastructure corridors, such as those containing electricity transmission lines, are potentially important wild pollinator habitat. However, there is a lack of evidence comparing the abundance and diversity of wild pollinators in transmission corridors with other important pollinator habitats. We compared the diversity of a key pollinator group, bumblebees (Bombus spp.), between transmission corridors and the surrounding semi-natural and managed habitat types at 10 sites across Sweden's Uppland region. Our results show that transmission corridors have no impact on bumblebee diversity in the surrounding area. However, transmission corridors and other maintained habitats such as roadsides have a level of bumblebee abundance and diversity comparable to semi-natural grasslands and host species that are important for conservation and ecosystem service provision. Under the current management regime, transmission corridors already provide valuable bumblebee habitat, but given that host plant density is the main determinant of bumblebee abundance, these areas could potentially be enhanced by establishing and maintaining key host plants. We show that in northern temperate regions the maintenance of transmission corridors has the potential to contribute to bumblebee conservation and the ecosystem services they provide.