DeMasi: “I think that it is exciting that we are helping farmers to increase productivity by working with nature and using products that are natural. Cover crops — some of these new products are like the Swiss Army Knives of plants because they do so many wonderful things.”
Actively managed conifer forests may also provide important habitat for the pollinators that aid the reproduction of food crops and other flowering plants around the globe.
An international collaboration, led by Jim Rivers of Oregon State University, has established a roadmap for future research aimed at better understanding the role that managed conifer forests in temperate zones play for the conservation of pollinators such as bees, wasps, flies, beetles and butterflies.
“Temperate forests comprise a large portion of the world’s land base and to date we haven’t really thought about them much in terms of habitat for pollinators,” Rivers said.
It’s important to do so because insect pollinators have an estimated $100 billion global economic impact each year, enhancing the reproduction of nearly 90 percent of the Earth’s flowering plants, including many food crops. Insect pollinators are also ecologically critical as promoters of biodiversity. Bees are the standard bearer because they’re usually present in the greatest numbers and because they’re the only pollinator group that feeds exclusively on nectar and pollen throughout their life cycle.