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Status of Pollinators in North America
tion Ecology (now Ecology and Society). NSF also provided funds in fiscal years 2005–2007 for a series of NCEAS workshops to determine how to restore pollinators and pollination function in degraded landscapes. Other federal agencies with an interest in pollinator status include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Environmental Quality, which maintains a pollinator website (http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/Issues/Pollinators.cfm) that has statements on pollinator decline. The USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure, a collaborative program designed to provide access to data on natural resources within U.S. borders, also has a pollinator decline program (http://www.nbii.gov).
CHARGE TO THE COMMITTEE
In 2002, NAPPC approached the National Research Council with a request for a study to review the literature on pollinating animals in North America. With funding provided by USDA, USGS, and The National Academies, the National Research Council’s Board on Life Sciences and Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources jointly convened an ad hoc committee to document the status of pollinating animals in North America. The questions to be addressed included whether, and to what degree, pollinators are experiencing serious decline; in cases where decline can be established by available data, what its causes are; and what the potential consequences of decline might be in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. The study committee was tasked to make recommendations on research and monitoring needs to provide improved information and on any conservation or restoration steps that could prevent, slow, or reverse potential decline. The committee also was asked to compile and analyze the published literature, determine the current state of knowledge on pollinator status, identify knowledge gaps, and establish priorities for addressing these gaps.
To address its charge, the committee assessed the status of pollinators in the United States, Canada, and Mexico between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Chapter 2) and some of the causes of decline in pollinator populations (Chapter 3). However, the extent to which the committee could discuss each species in different regions depended largely on the availability of data. The proportion of the report devoted to honey bees reflects the amount of knowledge and data available for this species. In contrast, the proportion of the report devoted to wild pollinators reflects the sparse data and our incomplete knowledge on those groups despite their critical role in ecosystem functioning. The later chapters of the report discuss the potential impact of pollinator decline in agriculture and natural areas (Chapter 4) and suggest ways to monitor, conserve, and restore managed and unmanaged pollinators (Chapters 5 and 6).