Utility Rights-of-Way Wildlife Research at Penn State
Plant and animal community response to long-term vegetation management on rights-of-way
ROW Presentation from the Entomological Society Annual Meeting
In 2016 (May-August), we used sweep nets to collect Hymenopteran pollinators at 6 study sites located under an electrical transmission right-of-way (ROW). The ROW was located on State Game Lands 33 in northern Centre County, Pennsylvania. Each 25m x 50m study site varied in the management treatments used to control vegetation incompatible with the ROW. The treatments were: high volume (hydraulic) foliar application of herbicide, stem foliar application of herbicide, mowing, mowing
followed by herbicide, low-volume basal application of herbicide, and hand-cutting. During our study, we collected 1056 individual bees that represent 95 unique taxa (including 88 species/species complexes) and 6 Hymenopteran families (Andrenidae, Apidae, Colletidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae, Melittidae). We found that bee species richness and abundance varied by treatment and month. Across all months, bee abundance was highest in low-volume basal, mowing, and stem foliar sites. Bee species richness was highest on these sites as well, but mowing with herbicide also had similar richness. Species richness was highest at hydraulic foliar and mowing during August, while all other study sites had highest species richness during May. This research is part of a larger, long-term (60+ years) study that examines the effects of ROW vegetation management on wildlife and plant communities in Pennsylvania.