Seed World

Bayer Commits Over $100,000 to Improve Pollinator Habitat

Bayer CropScience is investing more than $100,000 in a project with Integrated Vegetation Management Partners, designed to improve and expand pollinator and wildlife habitats on public rights-of-way through integrated vegetation management.
IVM Partners, a nonprofit organization that is a liaison for industry, agency and conservation, develops programs and provides education on vegetation management and conservation best practices.
The project aims to improve habitats for pollinators, birds and other wildlife in upland and wetland ecosystems in sites across eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
“Bayer’s investment in this project will bring together efforts to improve pollinator and wildlife habitat, safety and aesthetics on utility and highway rights-of-way,” says Jim Blome, Bayer CropScience LP president and CEO.
Implementing integrated vegetation management practices includes: reducing or eliminating mowing, applying selective herbicides to encourage low-growing vegetation, controlling invasive and undesirable plant species, protecting watersheds, optimizing habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, reducing carbon footprint and reducing overall costs.
“With funding from Bayer, we will be able to expand integrated vegetation management research on diverse ecosystems across the country that correspond to migration routes of birds and Monarchs and increase and improve habitats for pollinators, birds and other wildlife,” says Rick Johnstone, president and founder of IVM Partners. “These sites can be used to educate utilities, agencies and the public on how we can partner using IVM best practices to control invasive plants, reduce erosion and sedimentation of waterways, and lower the risk of wildfires.”
Integrated vegetation management encourages pollinator diversity because native prairie and meadow habitats are suppressed by weed trees and invasive plants. Selective herbicide use is necessary to remove these plants and allow milkweed, asters and wildflowers to grow and provide nectar and pollen for pollinators, in addition to providing prime areas for bobwhite quail, turkey and other wildlife. Ravines and rights-of-way borders provide additional nesting and forage sites when mountain laurel, blackberry, blueberry, viburnum and other shrubs are retained.
In some areas where trees and invasive plants were treated with selective herbicides, rare orchids that have been dormant for years are springing to life. As open meadow and prairie ecosystems are restored, so is native plant life and wildlife habitat with no additional planting required. Within three years, without the need for routine mowing, one-third of the maintenance budget may be saved.