1/3 of the coffee, food, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, chocolate and spices, is created through the process and help of pollination. More than 3/4 of the world's plants need a pollinator to reproduce. Pollinators, however, have been declining for the past several years, and could really affect our overall ability to grow and yield crops and feeding our future.
What's at Stake?
First, we have to begin to understand the impact that pollinators have on our environment. Playing a vital role in plant reproduction, pollen transportation, and a number of wildlife benefits. Without pollinators, our human race, and earth's terrestrial ecosystems simply could not survive. more than 75% of the world's crops grown are dependent on pollinators to reproduce and survive.
Next, we should begin to understand our impact on their environment. With the introduction of invasive species, continued expansion of ag land, and increased diseases and parasites present, there has been a continuing decline of the pollinator population. Invasive species and ag land crowd out or destroy native habitat and kill existing pollinators within the area.
We can also see that warming temperatures have caused an earlier bloom period for a lot of wildflowers, which are costing some pollinators the opportunity to feed. This has endangered traveling pollinators that rely on specific species to feed on in the early spring and summer months, and in missing their bloom period, can cause them to die.
What can we do?
We can understand our role in our own ecosystems and how to implement proper practices. Whether we have hundreds of acres, a nice acreage, or just a quarter acre lot with a nice yard, we can all make significant impacts. Continuing to grow our knowledge for these plants and animals will benefit us both in the long run.
Planting natives can be tough and requires patience. Know the best practices, have a consistent plan of action, and using patience will go a long way. There is no one size fits all for different regions and ecosystems. The same goes for your goals in mind. Whether planting a tenth of an acre for your lawn to support pollinators, or hundreds of acres of native grasses and wildflowers, it can be overwhelming. Don't be afraid to reach out and for help to create a plan and get some cost share help through state and federal agencies.
Plan for diversity. The more diversity you have when it comes to natives, the better health for your soil, and more wildlife and pollinators you can attract and support. Ecosystems balance off of an array of different species of plants and more is always better. Each specific plant benefits both the soil, and animals around it in different way, some of which are the only food source for some wildlife and insects. Find out more about how native plants can help enhance your property.