TABLE 5-4 Areas for Monitoring Pollination Function Using Agave Bulbil Production

Area

Region or State

Country

Cañon de Santa Elenaa

Northwestern Chihuahua

Mexico

Central Mexican Highlandsb

Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala

Mexico

Chiricahua Mountainsa

Southeastern Arizona

United States

Chisos Mountainsa

Big Bend National Park, Texas

United States

Cumbres de Monterrey National Parka

Central Nuevo León

Mexico

Hatchet and Animas Mountainsa

Southwestern New Mexico

United States

Maderas del Carmena

Northwestern Coahuila

Mexico

Sierra Madre Occidentala

Northeastern Sonora

Mexico

Sierra Madre Occidentala

Northwestern Chihuahua

Mexico

Tehuacán Valleyc

Southern Puebla

Mexico

Trans-Mexican Volcanic Beltb

Morelos, Michoacan, Jalisco, Colima

Mexico

aArea vegetation dominated by agaves.

bAgaves locally abundant.

cAgaves dominate vegetation in the southernmost stretch.

duce vegetatively by producing shoots and rhizomes, or sexually by producing seed-bearing fruits in the stalk after successful pollination (Arizaga and Ezcurra, 1995, 2002), but when pollinators fail to appear, agaves may produce aerial bulbils in the flowering stalk (Arizaga and Ezcurra, 1995). In the Tehuacan Desert of central Mexico, about 5 percent of the plants were never pollinated and instead produced bulbils (Arizaga and Ezcurra, 2002). Monitoring the frequency of bulbil production in selected areas (Table 5-4) may provide a direct indicator of pollinator availability or pollinator service to agaves.

CONCLUSIONS

Current monitoring systems for commercial pollinators, chiefly Apis mellifera, exist, but these fail to report or capture all of the necessary data to monitor pollinator status and function. In particular, new questionnaires directed at both the beekeepers and growers need to be developed to capture information on pollination by agricultural commodity. Several monitoring programs also exist for specific taxa or functional groups of pollinators, but many of these programs are either run by individual scientists, and are therefore limited in scale and not sustainable over the long term, or by citizen-scientist groups, and are therefore limited in precision and repeatability.

For pollinators, the ALARM project of the EU provides an excellent model for monitoring and includes development and testing of monitoring methods. In addition, some excellent models exist for a variety of taxa that



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