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August 2016

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The push to preserve pollinators

Efforts around the creation and preservation of pollinator habitat has been making news recently — and with good reason. According to a 2015 report from the White House’s Pollinator Health Task Force, pollinators contribute more than $25 billion annually to the U.S. economy, with honeybees alone accounting for $15 billion through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts and vegetables available for consumption.

Yet, pollinator populations are on the decline, in part because of reduced habitat. To combat these potentially devastating declines, the government is dedicating significant resources behind initiatives aimed at restoring bee, butterfly and other pollinator species populations. For example, the White House’s Pollinator Health Task Force released the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators, a document outlining a plan to accomplish three main goals:

  1. "Reduce honeybee colony losses during winter to no more than 15 percent within 10 years."
  2. "Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies occupying an area of approximately 15 acres in the overwintering grounds in Mexico, through domestic/international actions and public-private partnerships, by 2020."
  3. "Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next five years through federal actions and public/private partnerships."

Many initiatives will extend to areas such as utility rights-of-way and roadsides, making it of interest to those in the vegetation management industry. At Dow AgroSciences, we’re helping support these important goals through the continued development of selective herbicide technology, as well as sponsoring important research like that done as part of the Pennsylvania State Game Lands 33 (SGL33) research project.

The full White House report can be read here.