Above-Ground Biodiversity

We are exploring how adding more species of plants to a farm (increasing its above-ground biodiversity) affects the crop productivity and environmental effects of farming

Above-Ground Biodiversity 

We are exploring how adding more species of plants to a farm (increasing its above-ground biodiversity) affects the crop productivity and environmental effects of farming

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Biodiversity: Above-Ground

by Laura Crothers last modified May 09, 2018 04:05 PM

Above-Ground Biodiversity in Context

    • Native grasses and wildflower plantings can have beneficial effects on the farm

    • These effects may include pollination, pest and weed control, soil carbon storage, better water-holding capacity, erosion control, prevention of nitrogen leaching, and soil restoration


How we look at above-ground biodiversity


We are investigating several ways to increase biodiversity along its farm edges, by planting:

      • Vegetated swales and canals: which help improve the quality of stormwater runoff

      • Hedgerows: which attract more pollinators, can be an extra source of income (if providing fruits, nuts or wood), and can help improve water and air quality

      • Forbs: which attract local pollinators

      • Native grasses: which attract local pollinators and provide habitat for ground-nesting mammals and birds

 


Featured Research Projects


  • California wildflowers and native bees

    Number of bees attracted to fields with no wildflowers planted, annuals, perennials, or mixed annuals and perennials planted. Figure adapted from Williams et al. 2015.UC Davis researchers Neal Williams and Kimiora Ward are testing how different mixes of native California wildflowers attract native bees without attracting pests.

    The researchers have found that wildflower mixes attracted up to ten times more native bees than control plots of typical weedy vegetation.

    Ongoing work, started in 2010, is testing these wildflowers with different management systems at the Ranch to design methods that growers can use to successfully establish native wildflowers on their farms.

    To learn more about this research, read the Williams’ lab’s 2015 article in Ecological Applications.

  • Building milkweed habitat for monarch butterflies

    • Coming soon.


Event Details

KEY FINDINGS AT THE RANCH

  • Planting native wildflowers attracts significantly more native bee pollinators to a field

  • Flowering vetch cover crops are highly attractive to bees and butterflies

  • Milkweed is important for monarch butterflies passing through California in the late spring and early fall

ASI

One Shields Drive
UC Davis
Davis, CA
95616


(530) 752-3915