Potential habitat value for wild bees in Kashmir valley
Showket A Dar, GM Mir, GM Lone, Gh. I Hassan and Sajad H Parey
The decrease in honeybee population in India has highlighted the importance of native bee conservation, and the need for research on the ecological requirements of native bees in various landscapes. In this study, we investigated the value of hedgerows as foraging habitat for native bees in mosaics of small scale agriculture and natural vegetation in the landscapes of Kashmir valley. In the spring of 2013-14, we surveyed bees and flowers in four habitats, i.e. hedgerows, agricultural fields, grasslands, and native woodland. We investigated that how hedgerows varied compared to other available habitats in bee abundance and species richness; the species composition in hedgerows compared to species composition in agricultural fields and woodland. We found that hedgerows were attractive foraging habitat for native bees, especially in early spring and summer. Cumulative species richness was highest in hedgerows, although cumulative species richness did not significantly differ among fields, hedgerows, and woodland. While bee faunas overlapped among habitats, and the bee assemblages in hedgerows were more similar to those in fields than to those woodlands. The flowering shrubs were important in attracting bees that were otherwise uncommon in the landscape, including some species that are potentially valuable pollinators of peach, plum and cherry.