Pollinators are in significant decline due to a combination of factors including loss of habitat, disease, parasites, and environmental contaminants. However, honey bees have received most of the attention. Our domesticated honey bees pollinate many of our crops and provide valuable honey, but they are not native here. They were brought over from Europe about four hundred years ago and their numbers are vast (almost 3 million hives in the U.S. alone). We have over 4,000 species of native bees in North America that have co-evolved with our native plants over millions of years, many of which are experiencing catastrophic declines.
In today’s blog, we’ll explore what “ecosystem health” really means, review the biggest stressors acting on our wildlife populations today, and then I’ll offer some simple things you can do right now to help restore health and ecological integrity to the ecosystem right outside your own back door – and the front door, too!