Pollinators
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by Alisha Maves/USFWS

Pollinators

Do you eat apples, peaches, blueberries, almonds, or perhaps cherries? You can thank a bee! Do you enjoy seeing and smelling wildflowers? Thank a bee! Do you enjoy the taste and health benefits provided by honey? Thank a bee! Nearly two-thirds of the world’s crop species and some 70 percent of the flowering plants in the world depend on pollinators for their reproductive success (Xerces). Consequently, the economic value of pollinators in the U.S. alone is estimated at $16 billion (Beespotter)! Pollinators (bees, insects, bats, birds) perform an invaluable service to ecological health around the world, to agriculture production, and ultimately human beings. However, unfortunately multiple sources of data suggest our pollinators are in trouble...their populations are disappearing.

With a focus on birds and bird habitat conservation, why is the PPJV interested and concerned with pollinators? The answer rests in the fact the prairie landscape within the PPJV is rich in a wide variety of flowering plants. In turn, pollinating species, particularly bees, find the Northern Plains States particularly hospitable (NPR). Even though there are likely multiple causative agents for the observed decline in pollinators, one such factor is loss and fragmentation of habitat. Recognizing PPJV partners work tirelessly to conserve and restore grasslands across the U.S. prairie landscape, and recognizing the critical role this landscape provides to pollinators, we feel our efforts to conserve migratory birds will help serve the needs of pollinators.

A number of PPJV partners, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Services Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (Best Management Practices and Habitat Restoration Guidelines, in review), to name a few, are seeking to share information about pollinators, management practices to benefit pollinators, and conservation programs specifically designed to benefit pollinator populations.

In addition, there are a variety of other excellent outlets for pollinator information including the Pollinator Partnership , Xerces Society, and to assist state partners as they update of their State Wildlife Action Plans a suite of conservation actions beneficial to pollinator populations can be found here. Additionally, a Presidential Task Force produced a "National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and Other Pollinators" in 2015.