Advanced Biofuels

Michigan State University Researchers to Study Biomass Harvest Impact on Pollinators

Date Posted: August 30, 2012

Michigan State University Department of Entomology scientists Rufus Isaacs and Doug Landis have received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to investigate the effects of grassland harvest on pollinator populations and are looking to team up with grassland owners/managers to assist with their efforts.

The study will compare pollinator communities in warm-season grasslands (primarily switchgrass or mixed prairie plantings containing Indiangrass, big bluestem and/or switchgrass) that are either unharvested, partially harvested (leaving a 10 percent refuge strip on one side) or completely harvested.

The research team is looking for sites in Michigan with three grassland fields about 2 to 4 miles apart where land owners/managers would allow partial to full cutting and hay removal in the fall of 2012 and 2013.

Sampling in all sites would involve three visits (July, August and September of 2013 and 2014) to assess bee species and population levels.

The team would like to work with local cooperators who would harvest the sites in return for the harvested forage.

Study results will be used as the basis for harvesting guidelines on providing sustainable sources of biomass for bioenergy production while maintaining critical resources for pollinators in agricultural landscapes.

For more information, contact Julia Perrone, (517) 432-5282 or

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