The Importance of Pollinators
One of every three bites of food we eat is dependent on pollinators, such as bees, butterflies and other critters, that play an enormous role in plant reproduction. Pollinators provide approximately $20 billion worth of pollination for American crops each year.
It’s obvious that pollinators are valuable. But did you know that many pollinators are in trouble? Many species are seeing declines in population as a result of habitat loss, disease, parasites and over-use of pesticides.
To help raise awareness of pollinators' peril, NRCS and its key partners, such as Pollinator Partnership, celebrate National Pollinator Week. This week affords an annual opportunity to raise awareness for pollinators. Learn what’s planned for your area.
NRCS has teamed up with farmers and ranchers across the U.S. to use conservation to aid pollinators while improving agricultural operations. This win-win effort – for pollinators, the environment and agriculture– is made possible by producers who create pollinator habitat in their fields, pastures and forests.
In New Hampshire, producers plant conservation cover, field borders and hedgerows. These conservation activities, or practices, are just three of 37 that NRCS offers to help producers create the perfect places for pollinators to forage and take shelter. Learn how you can manage for native pollinators on your land here.
Pollinators by Numbers
Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, birds and bats, and beetles and other insects.
How Animal Pollination Works
Pollinators visit flowers in their search for food (nectar and pollen). During a flower visit, a pollinator may accidentally brush against the flower’s reproductive parts, unknowingly depositing pollen from a different flower. The plant then uses the pollen to produce a fruit or seed. Many plants cannot reproduce without pollen carried to them by foraging pollinators.
Pollinators Are in Trouble
You may have heard that bees are disappearing and bats are dying. These and other animal pollinators face many challenges in the modern world. Habitat loss, disease, parasites, and environmental contaminants have all contributed to the decline of many species of pollinators.