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Pollinating insects are in serious decline across the United States, which not only impacts agricultural plants, but native plants as well.

Some of the native plants affected include forbs that grow in arid areas in the western United States, such as species of phlox, sandworts, and milkvetch. In a study that began in 2017, the USGS is examining insect pollinator communities and forb-pollinator relationships at treatments across the area burned by the 2015 Soda Fire in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon. Researchers sample pollinators using traps and timed searches, and compare pollinators in seeded areas of the Soda Fire to unburned areas outside the Soda Fire. Researchers also compare pollinator use of seeded forbs versus non-seeded forbs, as well as native versus non-native forbs. This research will contribute much-needed information about pollinators on public lands to help preserve native plant species.

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