Pollinators are under stress. Habitat destruction by humans and invasive exotic plants and the decline of forage diversity are severely affecting pollinator populations. In fact, a few pollinators are under the threat of extinction. With their demise, the demise of those plant species dependent upon them is also threatened.
One of the most talked about issues affecting pollinators in the media is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) affecting honey bees.
The USDA suggests that CCD is the result of multiple acute stressors, including:
- Parasites and disease (Varroa mites and Nosema fungi)
- Decline in genetic diversity of honey bees
- Poor nutrition from forage crops and a lack of diversity of forage crops
- Poor apiary management practices: poor supplemental nutrition, over use of the same colonies, more transportation between farms to cover more crop land, apiary overcrowding
- Accidental exposure to pesticides.
However, honeybees are not the only victims of expansion: native bees, butterflies and bats are facing extinction issues as well. Habitat fragmentation, disease, the decline in genetic diversity, and pesticide use may compromise the ecosystems human beings are unknowingly dependent upon.