Pollinators are vital components of natural and agricultural ecosystems. However, both managed and wild populations have environmental and economic value, and both are in decline. Multiple interacting factors cause decline such as pollutants, changes in land use, and climate change. The Entomological Society of America (ESA) has recently updated and rereleased their statement on pollinator health
. Through seven definitive priority areas the public, scientific community, policy makers and communities can help support policy changes and actions in favor of pollinator support:
- Monitor and maintain data on long-term pollinator trends, accessible databases need to be developed. Pollinator population data can be collected long-term from sources such as beekeepers and growers.
- Define needs of pollinators. Unless their nutritional and habitat requirements are defined, pollinators cannot be ensured sufficient resources in any landscape, whether urban, agricultural, or restored. For example, it is known that communities are better for pollinators when their flowering plant populations are diverse and abundant. More research is needed to establish, for example, the most appropriate species of flowering plants and how nutrition content may vary depending on the management practice being executed.
- Identify sources of stress put on pollinators by different risk factors and how they are effected is prioritized. Monitoring, modeling and predicting pollinators’ exposure to and response to different risks needs to be rapid, efficient, and analyzed across as multiple studies. With success, frameworks for pollinator risk assessments can be further established.
- Improve guidelines for raising, managing, and transporting honey bees. Honey bee colonies are prone to excessive stress because they are often transported large distances to provide pollination services.
- Develop guidelines for Integrated Pollinator and Pest Management (IPPM) within diverse landscapes. IPPM is a sustainable strategy with the goals of maintaining profitability while also implementing management programs that minimize damage to pollinator ecosystem services. More research on integration and the value of ecosystem services are needed.
- Facilitate collaboration and coordination between stakeholders, universities, industry, and government agencies. Partnerships increase resource, decrease fragmented efforts, and strengthen solutions overall.
- Develop outreach campaigns and professional training programs. Educating a range of peoples varying in age, concentration and experience on pollinator research, management, and conservation will only expand and strengthen the impact of positive pollinator health. Pollinator outreach and education, as well as each of the mentioned priorities, will help to stop population decline, to increase food security, and to increase healthy landscapes of all types.