Habitat loss from urban development threatens native plant populations in many regions of the world. In addition to direct plant mortality, urban intensification potentially impacts pollinator communities and in turn disrupts the pollination mutualisms that are critical to the viability of native plant populations. We placed standardized flowering plant arrays into woodlands along a gradient of increasing urban land use to simultaneously quantify landscape-scale and local-scale effects on pollinators and on reproduction of two spring ephemeral wildflowers (Claytonia virginica and Polemonium reptans) in woodland fragments in the Mid-Atlantic Region of North America. Greater pollinator abundance and associated diversity significantly reduced the degree of pollen limitation, demonstrating that pollinator populations are critical to successful pollination of these plant populations. However, landscape-scale habitat loss did not reduce pollinator abundance or diversity. Habitat loss at the landscape scale therefore does not appear to drive changes in pollination in this woodland system. Rather, local-scale habitat characteristics were more important, with pollinators being more abundant in brighter woodland patches for one plant species, and in larger patches for the other species. Because we found abundant pollinators and adequate pollination even in isolated, urban woodland fragments, our results are encouraging for the conservation of both plants and pollinators in urban landscapes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Habitat loss
- Land transformation
- Pollen limitation