Conservation of rare species and ecosystem biodiversity should not lead to conflicts. However, situations may arise when the management of focal species places non-target species at risk. In the Willamette Valley of western Oregon, USA, eradication of a naturally hybridizing Grindelia integrifolia × Grindelia nana (Asteraceae) population from a wildlife refuge to preserve genetically “pure” populations of endemic G. integrifolia populations to the North, eliminated a dominant, late-summer, flowering plant from the plant community. While this decision undoubtedly arose from good intentions, the hybrid Grindelia was the sole pollen resource for the last known population (numbered in 100s prior to Grindelia removal) of an endemic solitary bee, Melissodes pullatella (Anthophoridae), a rare wetland butterfly, Lycaena xanthoides (Lycaenidae), and very likely additional pollinators. Approximately 15 years after the removal of Grindelia from the wildlife refuge, we found several small populations of M. pullatella (<20 individuals sighted) about 70 km to the south of the refuge in hybrid Grindelia-dominated remnant and restored wetlands. We present this case study to highlight the loss of local biodiversity that can accompany single species driven ecosystem management. We hope that land managers will consider not only the preservation of the formally recognized rare species in their conservation strategy but also the impacts of management practices on site biodiversity.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Chambers KL (1998) Beware the hybrid gum-plant! Oregon Flora Newsl 4:9–10
Finley KF (1995) Hydrology and related soil features of three Willamette Valley wetland prairies. MSc thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis
Kaye TN, Kirkland M (1994) Population biology of Lomatium bradshawii: II. Insect interactions, phenology, and breeding system. Unpublished report funded by the USDI Bureau of Land Management, Eugene District and Oregon Department of Agriculture, Plant Conservation Biology Program. 12 pp
LaBerge WE (1981) A revision of the bees of the genus Melissodes in North and Central America Part III. Univ Kans Sci Bull 42:283–663
Lambeck RJ (1997) Focal species: a multi-species umbrella for nature conservation. Conserv Biol 11:849–856
Lattin JD, Schwartz MD (1986) A review of Acetropis americana Knight in North America (Hemiptera: Miridae: Stenodemini). J N Y Entomol Soc 94:32–38
Mouquet N, Thomas JA, Elmes GW, Clarke RT, Hochberg ME (2005) Population dynamics and conservation of a specialized predator: a case study of Maculinea arion. Ecol Monogr 75:525–542
Noss RF, LaRoe ET, Scott JM (1995) Endangered ecosystems of the United States: a preliminary assessment of loss and degradation. National Biological Service, Biological Report 28, Washington D.C
Pendergrass KL, Miller PM, Kauffman JB (1998) Prescribed fire and the response of woody species in Willamette Valley wetland prairies. Restor Ecol 6:303–311
Polhemus DA (1993) Conservation of aquatic insects. Worldwide crisis of localized threats. Am Zool 33:588–598
Severns PM (2003) The effects of a fall prescribed burn on Hemileuca eglanterina Boisduval (Saturniidae). J Lepid Soc 57:137–143
Severns PM (2006) Seasonality, habitat preference and life history of some Willamette Valley wet prairie terrestrial molluscs in western Oregon, USA. Veliger 48:220–227
Severns PM, Karacetin E (2009) Sex bias adult feeding for gumweed (Asteraceae) flower nectar and extrafloral resin by a wetland population of Lycaena xanthoides (Boisduval) (Lycaenidae). J Lepidop Soc 63:83–88
Severns PM, Warren AD (2008) Selectively eliminating and conserving exotic plants to save an endangered butterfly from local extinction. Anim Conserv 11:476–483
Severns PM, Boldt L, Villegas S (2006) Conserving a wetland butterfly: quantifying early lifestage survival through seasonal flooding, adult nectar, and habitat preference. J Insect Conserv 10:361–370
Tepedino VJ, Bradley BA, Griswald TL (2008) Might flowers of invasive plants increase native bee diversity? Intimations from Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Nat Areas J 28:44–49
We thank the land managers at Finley NWR, US. Army Corps of Engineers (Fern Ridge Project), the Eugene District Bureau of Land Management, and The Nature Conservancy for access to wetland prairie study sites, and the comments from two anonymous reviewers that helped improve this manuscript.
About this article
Cite this article
Severns, P.M., Moldenke, A.R. Management tradeoffs between focal species and biodiversity: endemic plant conservation and solitary bee extinction. Biodivers Conserv 19, 3605–3609 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-010-9897-7
- Habitat restoration
- Invertebrate conservation
- Solitary bees
- Umbrella species