Pollinator Studies to Begin at New Hampshire’s Concord Pine Barrens

CONCORD, NH – An exciting new regional project will be starting this summer in the pine barrens of Concord, NH. The NH Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program will be teaming up with other states in the Northeast to begin a five-year study on pollinators in this dry sandy habitat.

Pine barrens are a rare type of habitat that consists of acidic, dry, and nutrient-poor soils that support pitch pine, scrub oak, blueberry, and little bluestem grass. They are also where you can find important nectar sources for many pollinators, from bees to butterflies. The Concord Pine Barrens is home to the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, which has been making a gradual recovery in the state.

“Monitoring of the wild Karner population and habitat health continued this past field season. Staff recorded a lower wild population than last year; however we are still on with our federal recovery goal as we move into our second year of having between 1,500 and 3,000 wild adults,” said Rebbeca Segelhurst, the Fish and Game Biological Aide who oversees the butterfly captive-rearing lab for Fish and Game.

In addition to monitoring pollinators and conserving the Karner blue butterfly, NH Fish and Game will begin focused research on the state-endangered frosted elfin butterfly. A species status assessment and conservation plan for frosted elfin is currently being completed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. NH Fish and Game will collect data to contribute to this effort.

Coordinating projects on the pine barrens will provide a multi-species benefit. Many rare moths, birds, and reptiles use the pine barren habitat for food, shelter, or breeding grounds.

“As these projects move forward, it is important that we work hard to keep rare habitats a part of the New Hampshire landscape for future generations to enjoy and benefit from,” said Segelhurst.