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.
Bumble bees are declining across many regions in the Northern Hemisphere, indicating a need to manage, protect, and enhance their habitats. IBP recently initiated multiple studies of bumble bee ecology in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.
Our first scientific paper stemming from this work, was published in the August 2017 issue of the The Journal of Wildlife Management. Based on non-lethal sampling of nearly 2,500 bumble bees, the paper assesses the importance of post-fire chaparral to bumble bees and provides specific land management recommendations for incorporating bumble bee habitat needs into post-fire forest restoration efforts. For a copy of this publication, please contact Helen Loffland.
Cole, J.S., R.B. Siegel, H.L. Loffland, M.W. Tingley, E.A. Elsey, and M. Johnson. 2019. Explaining the birds and the bees: deriving habitat restoration targets from multi-species occupancy models. Ecosphere 10:e02718. PDF
Sieburth, D., and P. Pyle. 2018. Evidence for a prealternate molt-migration in the Rufous Hummingbird and its implications for the evolution of molts in Apodiformes. The Auk: Ornithological Advances 135:495–505. PDF
Loffland, H.L., J.S. Polasik, M.W. Tingley, E.A. Elsey, C. Loffland, G. Lebuhn, and R.B. Siegel. 2017. Bumble bee use of post-fire chaparral in the central Sierra Nevada. The Journal of Wildlife Management 81:1084–1097. (For a copy of this publication, please contact Helen Loffland.)
The Institute for Bird Populations. 2017. Bumble bees and post-fire chaparral management in the Sierra Nevada. Color brochure, 8 pp. PDF
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