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Page 243
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 12: Conclusion." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Pollinator Habitat Conservation Along Roadways, Volume 1: Alaska. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27055.
Page 243

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12-1 Chapter 12 Conclusion A diverse community of pollinators is important for sustaining wild plant communities and the wildlife that depends on those plants. This diversity is also critical for crop pollination and production of the many foods that provide crucial nutrients for human wellbeing. As more and more species of pollinators are in decline in the United States and worldwide, strategies to manage existing habitat and create additional habitat are needed to ameliorate those declines. Roadsides, which extend across landscapes, are an opportunity for pollinator habitat, providing pollinators with food, shelter, and connectivity to other patches of habitat. Departments of Transportation (DOTs) can make a difference for imperiled pollinators by managing existing roadside vegetation and designing new revegetation plantings with their habitat needs in mind, and they can do so in compliance with the Endangered Species Act so there are regulatory assurances if a species becomes listed. Highlighting the work that DOTs do for pollinators can generate public support for the agency. Pollinators are becoming more and more visible to the public, and the public views them favorably. People are willing to donate time to conduct bumble bee surveys, for example, or conduct outreach to kids. Additionally, U.S. households valued monarchs at up to $6 billion, levels similar to many endangered vertebrate species, according to survey findings. Actions to support pollinators are popular with the general public. Beyond their value to pollinators, roadsides managed for diverse plant communities provide a wide range of ecological services in urban, agricultural, and natural landscapes, including supporting biodiversity, storing carbon, and filtering air and water. They aid driver safety by reducing monotony and keeping drivers more alert. They also support cultural services such as health and aesthetic benefits by providing access to nature and showcasing unique regional beauty. Roadsides are also an opportunity to mitigate the negative ecological effects of roads. How DOTs manage their roadsides influences the surrounding lands, but their reach can also extend further, to local and regional businesses and the adoption of sustainable maintenance and revegetation practices. The scale at which DOTs work means that they heavily influence associated industries and can help drive the markets and therefore the availability and affordability of things like native plant materials and wildlife-friendly erosion blankets. Therefore, roadsides can be assets to DOTs, to states, to pollinators, and to ecosystems as DOTs maintain them as ecologically valuable components of the landscape. Roadsides provide a safe driving environment and so  much more.   Photo Credit: Luis Colon/Arizona DOT 

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Transportation agencies can make a difference for imperiled pollinators by managing existing roadside vegetation and designing new revegetation plantings with habitat needs in mind. This can generate public support for agencies and help to mitigate the negative ecological effects of roads.

NCHRP Web-Only Document 362: Pollinator Habitat Conservation Along Roadways, Volume 1: Alaska, from TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program, is a 16-volume series. Each volume focuses on a specific region of the United States and is intended to provide relevant guidance to rights-of-way owners and operators for roadside vegetation management practices that support pollinators, as well as strategies that are compliant with the federal Endangered Species Act.

Supplemental to the document are a Dataset of Alaska Accessory Materials, a Communications Toolbox, a Conduct of Research Report, and a Video.

This is the first of 16 volumes. The other volumes are:

Volume 2: California

Volume 3: Florida

Volume 4: Great Basin

Volume 5: Great Lakes

Volume 6: Hawaii

Volume 7: Inland Northwest

Volume 8: Maritime Northwest

Volume 9: Mid-Atlantic

Volume 10: Midwest

Volume 11: Northeast

Volume 12: Northern Plains

Volume 13: Rocky Mountains

Volume 14: Southeast

Volume 15: Southern Plains

Volume 16: Southwest


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