On January 1st of this year, the Colorado Native Pollinating Insects Health Study–the most comprehensive and detailed report of pollinator health in state history–was released. PPAN played a leading role in the creation of the legislation that made this study possible. This study was essential in understanding the current status of pollinators in the state, the cause of native pollinator declines, and potential management strategies and priorities for the future of pollinating insects.
This study confirmed PPAN’s beliefs that pollinators are centrally important to the environment, agriculture, functioning ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health. However, this study also confirmed that native pollinating insect numbers in Colorado are declining. In fact, the main driver of these declines (besides climate change) is habitat loss due to agriculture and urbanization. Other declining factors include land management practices, pesticides, and non-native species of plants and insects. Although Coloradan landscapes are rather diverse, these declining factors are similar in nature. This means that the decline of pollinators in the mountains, for example, is also happening in the plains due to the declining factors mentioned above.
That being said, there are solutions to this decline of pollinators. There is no one size fits all solution, but the release of this study identified the best solutions for management and for policy. Unlike the cause of the decline of pollinators, the solutions to this problem are all different. In fact, the study says that, “successful management for pollinators should ideally be implemented based on the species, specific sites and habitats, and management goals of these areas.” Furthermore, there are five top priorities for the State to take immediate action on that include:
Protect Imperiled Native Pollinating Insects
Protect, Restore, and Connect Pollinator Habitats
Mitigate Environmental Changes that Negatively Impact Pollinators and their Habitats
Reduce the Risks from Pesticides to Pollinating Insects
Monitor and Support Native & Managed Pollinator Health
PPAN will disseminate report findings widely to help more people understand the intrinsic importance of pollinating insects to our ecosystems and to life as we know it. Stay tuned!
While PPAN played a leading role in the creation of the legislation that made this study possible, this was a collaborative effort and we extend our thanks to all who made this study a success including: CSU Extension, The Xerces Society, The CU Museum of Natural History, Representative Cathy Kipp, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, Governor Jared Polis, Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis, Senator Kevin Priola, Representative Meg Froelich, and the CO Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which oversaw the Study.
Want to read more? Check out the study here!