People and Pollinators: Uncovering private yards’ potential for new pollinator beneficial plantings

Authors: Amelie Davis*, Miami University, Jessica Stoyko, Miami University, Zoey Scancarello, Miami University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: wild bees, yard choice, monarchs, stated willingness, land use land cover, urban, land change science, sustainability science
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 22
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

We know that pollinators are declining, that loss of habitat is one of the major reasons for this decline, and that residential parcels can provide floral and nesting resources for pollinators. However, we do not know how willing private citizens are to plant pollinator beneficial plants in their yards. The central objective of this study is to gauge the public’s acceptance of voluntarily planting native plants in their yards. We hypothesize that the willingness to add pollinator beneficial plants varies with socio-economic status, parcel size, as well as 'lifestyle' (e.g. gardening as hobby). Out of 51,237 properties that we identified as residential and occupied in Miami and Darke counties in Ohio (U.S.A.), we selected 200 according to two strata: income and parcel size. These households received a questionnaire that showed pollinator beneficial plants of differing appearance, management, and pollinator service and included purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), wildflower prairie (multiple species), dandelions, and white clover (Trifolium repens). We achieved a 57% response rate. Preliminary results indicate that large parcels of land could play a role in providing floral resources in early spring, especially by letting white clover grow. Overall, stated voluntary addition of purple coneflowers, common milkweed, or wildflower mixes to yards is low although it would be increased most by helping with cost of seed and secondly labor. Milkweed seems largely unpopular despite being vital to monarchs. We discuss what we see as challenges and opportunities to increase pollinator plantings on these private lands.

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