Conservancy scientists in New Jersey are busy as, well, bees assessing pollinator habitat and its associated agricultural benefits through a study co-funded by the William Penn Foundation and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Today, native bee pollinators are in sharp decline. Habitat loss, alteration, and fragmentation, pesticide use, and disease are threatening our bee populations worldwide.
The decline of bees is especially alarming because we rely on them for pollination services. In fact, the fruits and seeds from insect-pollinated plants account for over 30 percent of the foods and beverages that we consume.
The team has evaluated statewide land patterns to make recommendations for effective integration of pollinator strips—linear tracts planted with a mix of native plants and flowers that bloom at different times—on farms to maximize crop yield and help sustain wild bee colonies. NRCS will use the findings to determine where to apply U.S. Farm Bill funding for improvements to indigenous pollinator habitat.
Staff conservation experts have also completed an economic analysis that provides farmers with estimates of how much pollinator habitat can improve production and profitability for nine different kinds of crops.
You can help support bee conservation in New Jersey. There are simple steps you can take to enhance pollinator habitat in your backyard.
We are also working to understand what kinds of barriers might be preventing farmers from installing pollinator habitat to benefit their crops. With information gathered from surveys the farming community, we will help address those obstacles; the financial benefits that native pollinators provide are a great incentive.