New research out of the California Central Valley shows that by contributing to pest control and pollination services, native plant pollinator hedgerows end up paying back the cost of their installation and maintenance over time.
The cost of hedgerows used by the authors of the study are higher than those projected by groups such as the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Importantly, the authors found that when farmers are able to take advantage of cost share programs funded by the National Research Conservation Service (NRCS), that the amount of time it takes to pay back the initial investment is cut in half. This indicates that the Farm Bill program that supports hedgerows (the Environmental Quality Incentive Program or EQIP) is helping offset installation costs and is a tool farmers should take advantage of if they qualify for assistance.
Learn more about the study details:
Morandin, L.A., R.F. Long, and C. Kremen. 2016. Pest Control and Pollination Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hedgerow Restoration in a Simplified Agricultural Landscape. Journal of Economic Entomology: 1-8.
Check out this wonderful, short article on the history and value of hedgerows– it even includes information on hedgerow installation!
Western SARE (which stands for Sustainable Agriculture, Research & Education) just released a report highlighting the pollinator projects they have funded, including short courses on pollinator monitoring put on by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (excellent opportunities to learn about different bee species). WSARE funded my graduate research, which was also highlighted.
Check out the details here!
Check out this neat video!
Today the White House released it’s National Pollinator Strategy, a comprehensive document outlining the governments’ plans to decrease losses from Colony Collapse Disorder, help Monarch butterflies, and increase acreage for pollinators through restoration and enhancement (goal = 7 million acres in the next 5 years!). How will they accomplish this? Through “USDA resources applied to CRP and EQIP pollinator enhancements, and national forest and grassland acreage; DOI actions to restore or enhance lands through direct restoration action, along with the inclusion of pollinator-friendly native seeds in all post-fire re-vegetation and fuels/green stripping projects; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) implementation of pollinator best management practices at its facilities.”
However, the strategy had already been criticized for not doing enough to alter the use of pesticides currently being used today (that are having deleterious effects on pollinator populations).
Read the whole strategy here (pdf).
Bees are smart and discerning- they can learn which flowers offer the best rewards and only visit those flower types. You can learn about how they learn by visiting the Scientific American website and reading the article “Inside the Wonderful World of Bee Cognition– How it all began” by Felicity Muth.