Pollinators play a critical role in supporting food production. About three quarters of all native plants globally require pollination. We can credit pollinators – generally honey bees – with one of every three bites of food we take (and for contributing more than $15 billion every year to America’s crop values). For a variety of reasons, including the destruction of habitat, pollinators are in a precipitous decline in the United States and worldwide. And the loss of pollinators represents a serious threat to global food security.
“Unabated, these losses of our pollinators threaten agricultural production, the maintenance of natural plant communities, and the important services provided by those ecosystems, such as carbon cycling, flood and erosion control, and recreation.”
In June 2014, President Obama created a Pollinator Health Task Force (co-chaired by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack). The task force has created a National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators (including birds, butterflies, etc.)
The strategy plan has three overarching goals: to reduce honey bee colony loss during winter; to increase monarch butterfly populations; and to restore and/or enhance 7 million acres of land in the next five years (to improve habitat for pollinators). The plan calls for collaboration between federal agencies and public and private partners. Underpinning the strategy plan is a Pollinator Research Action Plan (PRAP 2015), which aims to offer resources to improve scientific knowledge to “understand, minimize and recover from pollinator losses.”
Will it work?
Read more here.