Pollination of a bee-dependent forb in restored prairie: no evidence of pollen limitation in landscapes dominated by row crop agriculture

Alan D. Ritchie, Ian G. Lane, Daniel P. Cariveau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Restoration is used to conserve biodiversity; however, it is unclear to what extent restoration impacts ecosystem functions. Pollination is an ecosystem function that is critical to plant reproduction and thus restoration success. Few studies have assessed whether pollination is restored within restoration areas themselves. Plant–animal interactions may be affected by factors beyond the scale of the restoration. For example, surrounding landscape context may influence pollinator abundance and consequently the amount of pollen deposited. Decreased pollen receipt might then limit seed set. We hypothesized that in restorations surrounded by more agriculture, pollinator-dependent forbs would experience greater pollen limitation. This would likely be due to declines in pollinator abundance within the restorations with an increase in surrounding agriculture. We deployed potted Chamaecrista fasciculata (Fabaceae), an obligatorily bee-pollinated forb, and sampled bee communities in restored prairies in Minnesota, U.S.A. We measured pollen limitation by comparing seed set among open and supplementally pollinated plants. We also sampled native bees in seven of the eight sites. We tested for a relationship between proportion row crop agriculture (corn and soy) surrounding a restoration and pollen limitation, as well as an effect of agriculture on bee abundance. We did not find evidence that increasing proportion of surrounding agriculture negatively affected pollen limitation or bee abundance. Our results indicate that greater surrounding agriculture may not influence pollination of C. fasciculata through declines in pollinator availability, and suggest for some plants that landscape context might not limit pollination in restorations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-926
Number of pages8
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all who helped with the initial experimental setup and data collection: K. Friedrich, C. Herron‐Sweet, M. Campbell, J. Brokaw, A. Waananen, and R. Tucker. We would also like to thank G. Pardee, R. Shaw, and M. Spivak for their insightful feedback and comments on the manuscript. The authors have no conflict of interest to declare. This work was funded by Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, M.L. 2016, Chp. 186, Sec. 2, Subd. 03a.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Ecological Restoration


  • Chamaecrista fasciculata
  • ecosystem function
  • fragmentation
  • pollen limitation
  • restoration

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