Restored and remnant Banksia woodlands elicit different foraging behavior in avian pollinators

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Pollinators and the pollination services they provide are critical for seed set and self-sustainability of most flowering plants. Despite this, pollinators are rarely assessed in restored plant communities, where their services are largely assumed to re-establish. Bird–pollinator richness, foraging, and interaction behavior were compared between natural and restored Banksia woodland sites in Western Australia to assess their re-establishment in restored sites. These parameters were measured for natural communities of varying size and degree of fragmentation, and restored plant communities of high and low complexity for three years, in the summer and winter flowering of Banksia attenuata and B. menziesii, respectively. Bird visitor communities varied in composition, richness, foraging movement distances, and aggression among sites. Bird richness and abundance were lowest in fragmented remnants. Differences in the composition were associated with the size and degree of fragmentation in natural sites, but this did not differ between seasons. Restored sites and their adjacent natural sites had similar species composition, suggesting proximity supports pollinator re-establishment. Pollinator foraging movements were influenced by the territorial behavior of different species. Using a network analysis approach, we found foraging behavior varied, with more frequent aggressive chases observed in restored sites, resulting in more movements out of the survey areas, than observed in natural sites. Aggressors were larger-bodied Western Wattlebirds (Anthochaera chrysoptera) and New Holland Honeyeaters (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) that dominated nectar resources, particularly in winter. Restored sites had re-established pollination services, albeit with clear differences, as the degree of variability in the composition and behavior of bird pollinators for Banksias in the natural sites created a broad completion target against which restored sites were assessed. The abundance, diversity, and behavior of pollinator services to remnant and restored Banksia woodland sites were impacted by the size and degree of fragmentation, which in turn influenced bird–pollinator composition, and were further influenced by seasonal changes between summer and winter. Consideration of the spatial and temporal landscape context of restored sites, along with plant community diversity, is needed to ensure the maintenance of the effective movement of pollinators between natural remnant woodlands and restored sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11774-11785
Number of pages12
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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