Pollinator Preservation

Beyond Toxics, a non-profit organization that aims to protect environmental health, holds a bee garden work party at the community garden behind Kennedy Middle School in Eugene in order to help preserve pollinator habitats on April 21, 2018.

By: Maisie Plew

Pollinator populations are quickly dwindling across the globe and it is having a serious impact on humans’ land, food, and economy. According to The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) honey bee colonies have a loss rate of 30% each winter, which is more than double the historical annual loss rate of around 12.5%.  The declination, not only in honey bees but all pollinator populations such as butterflies or other species of bee, can have a major effect on food production and the economy. The White House under the Obama Administration reported that of the 115 global leading food crops, 87 of them are dependent on insect pollination and honey bees alone account for more than $15 billion worth of food in the U.S. economy.

The declination in pollinator populations can be traced back to various causes; many of them created by humans. The leading causes are habitat loss, non-native species, pesticides, climate change and parasites as reported in President Obama’s memorandum “Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators”. This 2014 memorandum outlines a variety of tactics to help preserve the population including: creation of a pollinator health task force, a research action plan, a public education program and increasing pollinator habitats. The task force was ultimately established and in 2015 released the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators.

In 2017 the Trump administration was sued by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for postponing the addition of a federal regulation that would add the Rusty Patched Bumblebee to the national endangered species list. According to the White House the postponement was a part of an executive order signed by President Trump that outlined new rules to enforce when adding or proposing any new federal regulations. The NRDC claimed that the Trump Administration illegally suspended the addition of the bumblebee to the endangered species list one day before its implementation. The postponement may have had a serious effect on the species since it has lost more than 90% of range in the past 20 years.