Open Spaces : pollinators

Protect Pollinators in 5 Easy Steps

By Rebecca Bartel, USFWS

Here are 5 simple steps you can take to help pollinators:

Plant: Provide habitat for a variety of pollinators by planting a pollinator garden. To attract pollinators to your yard, choose native plants of different colors, shapes, and heights. Creating variety in flower color and shape will increase the diversity of pollinators that will use the space! Need help in identifying which plants are native in your area? Check through the Native Plant Societies in your area or explore native planting guides available through the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and Pollinator Partnership.

bumble_bee(Photo: Laura Perlick/USFWS)

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Arizona: As Vegetation Moves to Higher Elevations, What Happens to the Pollinators?

Bee on a yellow flower
Bee on flower. Credit: USFWS.

Bees do it.  Flies do it.  Pollinate, that is. 

But what happens when the piñon and Ponderosa pines and aspens of northern Arizona -- vegetation pollinators call home -- move up the mountain as precipitation patterns change due to climate change? 

Some pollinators rely on specific plants.  But can they use a broader spectrum of plants?  Can they live at higher elevations to get to the plants they need? And what if they can’t?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Arizona Ecological Services Field Office is addressing those research questions as it works at five sites with the Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research Center at Northern Arizona University to compile the first-ever baseline about the diversity and behavior of pollinating insects at varied elevations in northern Arizona. 

Pine trees and mountains

Changes in the precipitation patterns in northern Arizona are affecting Ponderosa pine in the highest elevations of the San Francisco Peaks. Photo by Ron Hemberger/USFWS

Pollinators are critical to maintaining diverse, healthy ecosystems. The Service is entrusted to protect at-risk pollinators, such as hummingbirds and pollinators on national wildlife refuges – and threatened or endangered species that rely on animal pollination.  More than 75 percent of flowering plants, which provide fruits, seeds nuts, and nectar for wildlife, depend on pollinators.  Recent studies indicate some pollinators are already being impacted by climate change.

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Last updated: June 21, 2012