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Pollinator conservation and climate science at the U.S. Geological Survey

June 20, 2023


Ecosystems—whether agricultural, urban, or natural—depend on pollinators, great and small. Pollinators in the form of bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and even moths provide vital, but often invisible services, from contributing to biodiverse terrestrial wildlife and plant communities to supporting healthy watersheds. Pollinator declines worldwide have been noted as land-use and climate changes occur on the landscape. This is alarming because up to 75 percent of crop species that are important for human food production depend on pollinators for production.

Biodiversity of pollinators in the United States includes more than 4,000 species of insects, birds, and mammals. Pollinator species in the United States are in crisis based on broad-scale changes in land-use and climate. The Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America summarized active and passive management alternatives to benefit pollinators and reduce their decline. Because assessment of pollinators in the United States has historically lagged behind other regions of the world, the Committee challenged the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop conservation plans, for pollinators, including quantification of the effects of climate change. As an example of the immediate need to focus efforts on pollinator conservation, Inouye and others cited the USFWS’s 2017 listing of the rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. Strategies are developed to accomplish pollinator conservation goals and the USGS is contributing scientific expertise toward those goals.

Publication Year 2023
Title Pollinator conservation and climate science at the U.S. Geological Survey
DOI 10.3133/fs20233026
Authors Elise R. Irwin, Jonathan R. Mawdsley
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 2023-3026
Index ID fs20233026
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Cooperative Research Unit Atlanta