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Protecting pollinators: What role can the greenhouse industry play?

The Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University recently released the Pennsylvania Pollinator Protection Plan (P4). P4, developed with input from twenty-eight state and national organizations and stakeholder groups, provides recommendations for best practices and resources to support and expand pollinator populations. While focused on the situation in Pennsylvania, P4 is a useful plan far beyond Pennsylvania’s borders. And a close look at recommended best practices reveals that the greenhouse industry can play several very important roles in the broader efforts to protect pollinators.

The term ‘pollinator’ refers not just to domesticated honey bees, but also to the hundreds of other species of native bees, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles that pollinate cultivated and wild plants. Pennsylvania alone is home to more than 430 bee species, most of which are solitary and live underground. Pollinators pack a powerful economic punch. In the US, pollinators contribute approximately $25 billion to agriculture. In Pennsylvania, their economic services to producers have an estimated economic value of $250 million.

Populations of both wild and domesticated pollinators have been in decline in recent years. According to P4, the most important challenges pollinators face in Pennsylvania include:
  • Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation
  • Pesticide use
  • Pests and pathogens
To learn more about how the greenhouse industry can help protect pollinators, read the full e-Gro Alert here.

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