Importance of Pollinators in Texas Touted

AUSTIN May 1, 2018 ⎯ The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has partnered with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Association of Texas Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association to highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas. The Importance of pollinators to soil and water conservation in Texas is the theme of this year’s Soil and Water Stewardship Week, April 29 through May 6, 2018.

Pollinators include the birds and the bees (butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, and even small mammals) and are vital for production agriculture, our food supply, and the preservation of our natural resources.  Many Texas farmers, ranchers, foresters, and urbanites recognize the importance of these insects and animals, and are attempting to regenerate pollinator populations by implementing voluntary conservation practices on private and public lands. Texans have been working with their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts for over 75 years to voluntarily implement conservation practices that protect and enhance our soil and water resources.

Unfortunately, pollinator populations have been declining in the United States for several years, primarily due to loss of habitat. Thankfully there are many landowners in Texas that want pollinators on their property, and for good reasons.  To begin with, pollinators are essential for productive agricultural ecosystems, such as row crop production and agro-forestry, and they ensure the production of fruit and seeds in many crops, grasses, and timber. Likewise, pollinators play a significant role in natural rangeland ecosystems by helping to keep plant communities healthy and reproducing, which in turn prevents soil erosion, improves water quality, and provides food and cover for native wildlife.

“This campaign aims to bring more awareness and support to voluntary land stewardship because the way we manage our resources on private lands directly impacts pollinator habitat,” said Justin Dreibelbis, private lands program director at TPWD. “TPWD is proud to collaborate with conservation partners across Texas to promote the importance of land stewardship.”

Rural working lands are crucial to protecting and preserving the natural resources of Texas. With the great majority of land in Texas being privately owned, voluntary land stewardship is vital to keeping these resources healthy.

Without healthy and productive rangeland, cropland, and forests, our pollinators will fail, production agriculture will fail, and our society will ultimately fail.  Whether you’re a farmer, a rancher, forester, or just want to plant an urban flower garden, it is up to you to decide how to run your operation.  We need pollinators, and we also need good stewards of our lands that protect and preserve the natural resources of Texas.

More information on the importance of pollinators to soil and water conservation in Texas is available online at https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/nongame/native-pollinators/

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