ASSESSING SEMI-NATURAL FORESTS AS POPULATION SINK FOR POLLINATORS IN MOUNTAINOUS AGRICULTURAL FIELDSubhankar Gurung, Arun Chettri and Aditya Pradhan
The aim of the research was to understand the role of semi-natural forests in supporting pollinators that play an important role in mountain agriculture. Pisum sativum L. which is one of the major cash crops in the two study sites were chosen as the model crop in for the study. The vegetation of the adjoining forest which falls under Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal was also investigated and was later correlated with the abundance of pollinators reported in the field. We found that although there was a difference in the habitat quality, we did not find any significant difference in the abundance of pollinators (t= 0.98, p>0.05, NS). Anthropogenic activity showed a harmful effect on the abundance of pollinators which suggests an immediate check in such activities (t=0=0.0003, p<0.05). Apis mellifera was found to be the most abundant pollinator in both the sites. Bombus spp. which is considered to be the most important pollinator of garden pea was rarely observed. We suggest that habitat fragmentation should be checked and semi-natural forests should be preserved to sustain the abundance and diversity of pollinators in farmlands.
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