Since I’m here for the long haul, I thought I’d start at the beginning of the story. Facts about why I am dedicated to this topic and why I hope you will consider adding or increasing habitat to your personal world, be it small or large. Unfortunately, these first facts are grim, but I will quickly move next time to why EACH of us can make a difference.
How you ask? Most pollinators are very small, and their entire world (and those of their offspring) is the space of a couple of backyards. So, YES, a major problem we can solve, yard by yard and person by person.
All the facts below are found in “Attracting Native Pollinators – The Xerces Society Guide”. For the future, all facts I share will have back-up references, but I won’t ordinarily list them but, you can always google.
WHY ARE POLLINATORS IMPORTANT?
Pollinators are considered a keystone species – Definition: a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically.
75% of plants REQUIRE animal pollination to live and reproduce
35% of the world’s food and product crops REQUIRE animal pollination -- fruits/vegetables/grains/beef/pork/chicken/medicines to name a few
Pollinated plants reduce carbon dioxide and produce oxygen in the environment
Pollinator larva provide critical protein for young wildlife/birds
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THEM?
Population has been declining rapidly since WWII
Estimated that the loss is near 50% at this time
Non-native honey bee colonies have significantly declined/collapsed
Native pollinators are declining
Lack of responsible pesticide use – both herbicides and insecticides
Urbanization – loss of native flowering plants and increase in lawns/concrete
Loss of habitat – beyond plants, no places for protection and undisturbed nests
Yes, it can look pretty bleak, especially when we have to say it’s all because of humans…sigh.
But enough of the doom. Next time I’ll talk about our Florida native pollinators and how they are perfectly adapted to this area and can make a strong comeback! They just need a little help from their friends…all of us!