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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Biologists routinely advise farmers and homeowners not to mow down prairie land or meadows until Winter so as to allow nesting birds and other "critters" a chance to evolve in their life cycle and persevere going forward................Now, that same advice is being put forth to City and State Highway Service personnel by U. of Florida researchers as it relates to allowing natural area medians to remain in their full "grow-out" condition so that butterflys and bees can do their ecosystem service role of pollinating wildflowers and native trees and shrubs-----Biodiversity enhanced by letting everything "bloom" and mowing costs knocked down some 30% in the process

Mow less along highways, preserve pollinators, researchers say

Mowing less frequently along Florida's highways boosts pollinator and wildflower biodiversity and would likely save money on gasoline and manpower, new University of Florida research shows.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are studying how to preserve pollinators and wildflowers along the state's roadsides. Pollinators visit flowers, searching for food in the forms of nectar and pollen. During flower visits, pollinators may deposit pollen from a different flower. The plant uses the pollen to produce a fruit or seed. Many plants cannot reproduce without pollen carried to them by foraging pollinators.

The best-known pollinators are bees, but UF/IFAS researchers are studying butterflies as roadside pollinators. Among their other benefits, butterflies serve as indicator organisms. They signal when environmental changes are affecting ecosystems before the effects are apparent to humans or many other organisms, said Jaret Daniels, a UF/IFAS associate professor of entomology.
Florida Department of Transportation officials supported UF scientists in the study and appreciate the results because they want to create an environment that fosters biodiversity and conserves critical ecosystem services like pollination, Daniels said. People sometimes complain to the FDOT when roadsides become overgrown with grass and flowers; thus, the department must mow to maintain aesthetics and clear an area for safety.
A March 2014 UF/IFAS report concluded that the FDOT could reduce right-of-way vegetation management costs by 30 percent by implementing sustainable management practices such as reduced mowing.
"Our new study will provide mowing recommendations for the FDOT," said Daniels, the faculty advisor for Dale Halbritter, a former UF/IFAS entomology masters student and current doctoral candidate, who led the research. "FDOT is committed to biodiversity conservation and ecological services that roadsides can offer. They additionally have a strong commitment to pollinator and monarch butterfly conservation."
"Mowing less frequently has the potential to accomplish the FDOT's objectives and enhance the abundance of floral resources," Daniels said. "More research is needed to determine the long-term impacts of different mowing regimes on Florida resources and pollinators in Florida."
For the study, researchers counted live and dead butterflies along roadways in Alachua County in the spring, summer and fall of 2011, during various FDOT mowing intervals. Although the study was conducted in Alachua County, its findings are applicable to other southeastern states, Daniels said.
They found butterfly mortality was reduced along roadways that were mowed less frequently.
The study by Daniels and Halbritter is published in the journal Florida Entomologist.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The original item was written by Brad Buck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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