The Pollinator Impact
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REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR THINKING
Habitat loss is a major cause for pollinator decline; monarch butterflies, for example, use over 30 different species of milkweed to breed, of which, only 19 varieties are sold by seed distributors. Milkweed growth in the U.S. is affected by herbicide use on farms, urban development, and harsh weather conditions.
According to the National Geographic, in 2004, monarch populations migrating to Mexico reached 550 million butterflies, in 2013 the number dropped to 33 million.
Promoting research and education about the benefits of regionally adapted plant varieties such as milkweed and clovers will help end the population decline of pollinators. By using regionally adapted varieties of plants, we can take advantage of pasturelands and highway corridors to promote pollinator habitats.
Jerry Hall, president of Grassland Oregon states, “There are over 400 million acres of pasture in the United States, and by including a variety of flowering annual clovers in our nation’s pastures we can greatly enhance the pollinator environment. An agricultural product that is beneficial to livestock can also benefit pollinators - one of our most under-appreciated resources.” Planting pollinator friendly cover crops and forage can build resources for natural pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Just imagine what 400 million acres would do for native and managed bee colonies and butterfly migration. Grassland Oregon’s cover crops such as FIXatioN balansa clover, buckwheat, phacelia, and Frosty berseem clover can all be used for honey production. Cover crops and forage offer bees a food source and habitat, while farmers receive all of the additional monetary and environmental benefits. Sounds like a win-win.
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