Document Type




First Advisor's Name

David Lee

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Bradley Bennett

Third Advisor's Name

Mahadev Bhat

Fourth Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

Fifth Advisor's Name

William Vickers


Home garden, Pollinator community, Hymenoptera, Kyrgyzstan, Agrobiodiversity, Apple, Malus, Agricultural extension, Rural Development, Horticulture

Date of Defense



Pollination-dependent fruit trees grown in home gardens play an important role in the agricultural based economy of Central Asian countries, yet little is known about the status of pollinator communities, the cultivated plant composition or the factors that influence management practices in Kyrgyz home garden agroecosystems. As agricultural systems are human created and managed, a logical approach to their study blends anthropological and ecological methods, an ethnoecological approach. Over three years, I investigated how species richness and abundance of Hymenoptera, cultivated plants, and home garden management were related using quantitative and qualitative methods in the Issyk-kul Man and Biosphere reserve. Structured surveys were undertaken with heads of households using a random sample stratified by village. Gardens were then mapped with participation of household members to inventory edible species in gardens, most of which are pollinator-dependent, and to compare home garden diversity as reported by respondents during interviews. Apple diversity was studied to the variety level to understand respondents’ classification system in the context of in situ agrobiodiversity conservation. Household members identified 52 edible plant species when mapping the garden, compared with 32 reported when interviewed. The proportion of plant species received from others through exchange and the number of plots cultivated significantly explained the variation in edible plant diversity among gardens. Insects were sampled in gardens and orchards to determine potential pollinator community composition and the effect of different management practices on Hymenoptera richness and abundance. I collected 756 Hymenoptera individuals (56 bee; 12 wasp species); 12 species were new records for Kyrgyzstan or within Kyrgyzstan. Economic pressures to intensify cultivation could impact management practices that currently promote diversity. A home garden development initiative was undertaken to study management practice improvement. Participants in the initiative had higher adoption rates than controls of management practices that improve long-term yield, ecological sustainability and stability of home gardens. Home gardens, as currently managed, support abundant and diverse pollinator communities and have high cultivated plant diversity with few differences in community composition between garden management types.





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