Pollination and plant reproductive success in restored urban landscapes dominated by a pervasive exotic pollinator
Lomov, Boris, David A. Keith, and Dieter F. Hochuli. 2010. "Pollination and plant reproductive success in restored urban landscapes dominated by a pervasive exotic pollinator". Landscape and Urban Planning. 96 (4): 232.
The reading of this article furthers the thinking of pragmatism – a concept integral to restoration ecology initiatives. Although the European honeybee is categorized as an invasive species in the test location in Australia, the experiments showed that, depending on the aim of a restoration project, the behavior of this exotic species can be advantageous to the success of the habitat - or, at least, the propagation of the specific studied plant. This article highlights the value of an exotic pollinator within an ecosystem – and in so doing stresses the need to take a holistic understanding of all the dynamic inputs that create a habitat – not just, for example, the plant structure, or soil content. It also challenges previous findings by suggesting that native and exotic pollinators can co-exist.
The article does not address the topic of what other “side effects” may be occurring in the system, as a result of the increase of the exotic species. A positive ramification of the findings is that, as both native and exotic pollinators responded to the availability of a restored plant species, rather than the habitat type it occurred in (in this case a forest remnant versus and restored pastures), an exotic species could be utilized for the fast replication of plant communities. However, the flourishing of the target plant aside, it is unclear what potentially negative consequences occur on other factors in the ecosystem as a result of the exotic bee pollination.
Further discussion stemming from this research includes understanding more about how to quantify the primacy of one restoration aim over another – e.g. restoration of plant structure in woodlands over repopulation of native pollinators in place of exotic pollinators. Also, if the behavior of an invasive species does the job of a native species (e.g. pollination), and there are no negative side effects of that species’ presence, is it acceptable to let a species dwindle (the native bee) in the face of the benefits of the rest of the now novel ecosystem thriving?