Date of Award
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)
Administrative Home Department
School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
As part of a broader project that evaluated the social and ecological sustainability of bioenergy, I studied the effects of bioenergy associated land-use change and management on native bees and birds in two bioenergy-producing countries, the United States and Argentina. In Argentina, I worked in Entre Ríos province where eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) plantations are being planted. These fast-growing trees are replacing pasture and annual crops, the current dominant land use. I surveyed for native bees and birds in pastures/annual crops and large-scale eucalyptus plantations, as well as mixed-use farms and native espinal savannas. Both birds and bees declined in the large-scale plantations in terms of species richness and abundance compared to the other land uses in the region. Avian biodiversity was richest in the espinal savanna with intermediate values in the mixed-use and pasture/annual crops. In contrast, pastures/annual crops and mixed-use farms supported more bees than the espinal. I also detected distinct communities of birds and bees in each land use surveyed. I also modeled ecosystem services in for this region, specifically carbon sequestration, pollination service and habitat quality. I considered the current baseline map and two future scenarios: eucalyptus expansive and community preferences. The models predict that the expansion of the plantations results in decreases in pollination service and habitat quality while increasing potential carbon sequestration. Collectively, these results demonstrate the need to carefully consider the effects of feedstocks on species and ecosystem services. In the United States, I worked in northeastern Wisconsin and studied the effects of aspen (Populus spp.) forest stand age on native bees and other members of the Hymenoptera using a chronosequence of no-retention aspen stands. Discrete bee and wasp communities were detected along the forest successional age gradient, but bee and wasp species richness and abundance did not decline with forest age as hypothesized. This work illustrates a successional pattern in bee community composition following disturbance and suggests both young and old forest stands are necessary to support bee biodiversity. Lastly, I conclude with a summary of my research and suggestions on how to be an effective team member in an interdisciplinary research group.
Phifer, Colin, "IMPACTS TO BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES FROM BIOENERGY DEVELOPMENT: A PAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE", Open Access Dissertation, Michigan Technological University, 2017.