Next Article in Journal
Contributions to the Taxonomy of the Mugilid Genus Moolgarda Whitley (Teleostei: Mugilidae), with Redescriptions of M. crenilabis, M. seheli and M. tade from the Red Sea
Previous Article in Journal
The Elasmobranch Fossil Record of the Indo-Australian Archipelago since the Miocene: A Literature Review and New Discoveries from Northern Borneo
Previous Article in Special Issue
Effects of Peri-Urbanization on Coastal Sage Scrub Ant Species in Baja California
 
 
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:
Background:
This is an early access version, the complete PDF, HTML, and XML versions will be available soon.
Article

Insect Abundance and Richness Response to Ecological Reclamation on Well Pads 5–12 Years into Succession in a Semi-Arid Natural Gas Field

by
Michael F. Curran
1,*,
Jasmine Allison
2,
Timothy J. Robinson
3,
Blair L. Robertson
4,
Alexander H. Knudson
5,
Bee M. M. Bott
1,6,
Steven Bower
1 and
Bobby M. Saleh
2
1
Abnova Ecological Solutions, Cheyenne, WY 82001, USA
2
PureWest Energy Partners, Denver, CO 80202, USA
3
Department of Statistics, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
4
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
5
Plant Pest Diagnostics Laboratory, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
6
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2024, 16(6), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16060324
Submission received: 3 May 2024 / Revised: 25 May 2024 / Accepted: 27 May 2024 / Published: 29 May 2024
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity in Arid Ecosystems)

Abstract

Natural gas extraction is a critical driver of the economy in western North America. Ecological reclamation is important to ensure surface disturbance impacts associated with natural gas development are not permanent and to assist native biota. Previous studies in semi-arid natural gas fields within Sublette County, Wyoming, USA have shown insects respond favorably to 1–3-year-old well pads undergoing reclamation compared to older successional reference vegetation communities dominated by Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. Wyomingensis). Here, we examined well pads which were initially seed 5, 8, 10, 11, and 12 years prior to our study. We used a free, image-based software called SamplePointv. 1.60 to quantify vegetation on these well pads and adjacent reference areas from cell phone camera photographs. Insects were collected with a sweep net and identified to the family and morphospecies level. Statistical analyses were conducted to compare both vegetation and insect communities between reclamation sites and their paired reference area. We found little statistical difference between vegetation communities across our study but found significantly more insect abundance on reclaimed well pads than reference areas in 3 of 5 years and significantly higher family and morphospecies richness on reclaimed well pads in 4 of 5 years. A total of 2036 individual insects representing 270 species from 71 families across 11 orders were identified across this study. A total of 1557 individuals (76.5%) were found on reclamation sites, whereas 479 (23.5%) were found in reference areas across the entire study. A total of 233 species (86.3% of total) were found on reclamation sites, whereas 121 species (44.8% of total) were found in reference areas across the entire study. A total of 67 families (94.4% of total) were found on reclamation sites, whereas 45 families (63.4% of total) were found in reference areas across the entire study. All 11 orders found in the study were found on reclamation sites, whereas 9 orders were found in reference areas across the entire study. Our results suggest reclamation of natural gas well pads within an old successional stand of sagebrush continues to support higher levels of insect biodiversity and abundance for at least 12 years. As insects are the most diverse group of animals on Earth and because they provide a wide array of ecosystem services, our findings suggest ecological reclamation plays an important role in returning biodiversity and ecosystem functionality to a semi-arid and old successional sagebrush–steppe ecosystem.
Keywords: biodiversity; ecosystem services; natural gas; sagebrush; SamplePoint biodiversity; ecosystem services; natural gas; sagebrush; SamplePoint

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Curran, M.F.; Allison, J.; Robinson, T.J.; Robertson, B.L.; Knudson, A.H.; Bott, B.M.M.; Bower, S.; Saleh, B.M. Insect Abundance and Richness Response to Ecological Reclamation on Well Pads 5–12 Years into Succession in a Semi-Arid Natural Gas Field. Diversity 2024, 16, 324. https://doi.org/10.3390/d16060324

AMA Style

Curran MF, Allison J, Robinson TJ, Robertson BL, Knudson AH, Bott BMM, Bower S, Saleh BM. Insect Abundance and Richness Response to Ecological Reclamation on Well Pads 5–12 Years into Succession in a Semi-Arid Natural Gas Field. Diversity. 2024; 16(6):324. https://doi.org/10.3390/d16060324

Chicago/Turabian Style

Curran, Michael F., Jasmine Allison, Timothy J. Robinson, Blair L. Robertson, Alexander H. Knudson, Bee M. M. Bott, Steven Bower, and Bobby M. Saleh. 2024. "Insect Abundance and Richness Response to Ecological Reclamation on Well Pads 5–12 Years into Succession in a Semi-Arid Natural Gas Field" Diversity 16, no. 6: 324. https://doi.org/10.3390/d16060324

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop