Partnership Promotes Healthy Pollinator Habitats
The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund—a collaborative effort of Pheasants Forever, Syngenta, the honey industry and many others—is an example of a growing number of alliances aiming to significantly impact their local landscapes and beyond. The partnership is improving pollinator forage and habitat for honey bees, native bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators. Pheasants and quail also favor the same highly diverse, high-quality habitats that attract pollinators, Berthelsen says.
Established in 2014, the partnership started as a pilot program with partners working with landowners in North Dakota and South Dakota to plant pollinator projects. This year, landowners in Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri will also participate in the program.
"These partnerships are promoting understanding and awareness among groups that together are making a real difference in pollinator health."
Partners provide all participating landowners with:
- Funding for regionally adapted seed mixes to grow pollinator forage and habitat
- Guidance on managing pollinator plots
- Expert advice on the best fits for pollinator plots and agricultural crops
“Funding for the program comes from a wide range of partners,” Berthelsen says. “And Syngenta was the first major agricultural industry partner to step up.”
Syngenta also was one of the first agriculture companies to establish its own pollinator health initiative, Operation Pollinator. Launched in Europe more than 15 years ago, Operation Pollinator has since been implemented in 21 countries, including the U.S. This research-based program boosts insect pollinators on commercial farmland, golf courses and a variety of other landscapes by creating essential habitats that contain vegetation tailored to local conditions.
“Honey bee health was the trigger for Operation Pollinator, but it encompasses many other pollinators,” says Caydee Savinelli, Ph.D., pollinator and integrated pest management stewardship lead for Syngenta.
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The expansion of pollinator habitats has been a quantitative measurement of the initiative’s success. But, Savinelli says, it’s also important to take into account qualitative successes, such as the outstanding partnerships formed among growers, agricultural organizations, beekeepers, the honey industry and conservation groups.
“These partnerships are promoting understanding and awareness among groups that together are making a real difference in pollinator health,” she says.