347 Native Bee Species 'Spiraling Toward Extinction'
“The evidence is overwhelming that hundreds of the native bees we depend on for ecosystem stability, as well as pollination services worth billions of dollars, are spiraling toward extinction,”
05 March 17
Center for Biological Diversity, EcoWatch
The widespread decline of European honeybees has been well documented in recent years. But until now much less has been revealed about the 4,337 native bee species in North America and Hawaii. These mostly solitary, ground-nesting bees play a crucial ecological role by pollinating wild plants and provide more than $3 billion in fruit-pollination services each year in the United States.
The key findings:
- Among native bee species with sufficient data to assess (1,437), more than half (749) are declining. (Click here to see a list of the bees as well as their status and geographic range).
- Nearly one in four (347 native bee species) is imperiled and at increasing risk of extinction.
- Many of the bee species lacking sufficient data are also likely declining or at risk of extinction, highlighting the urgent need for additional research.
- The declines are caused primarily by habitat loss, heavy pesticide use, climate change and urbanization.
These troubling findings come as a growing body of research has revealed that more than 40 percent of insect pollinators are highly threatened globally, including many of the native bees critical to unprompted crop and wildflower pollination across the U.S.
To assess current population trends and threats as comprehensibly as possible for the 4,337 described species of North American and Hawaiian bees, Center for Biological Diversity staff reviewed the current conservation status of 316 species as established by state, federal or independent research. We then conducted a comprehensive review of all available literature on native bees to determine a status for an additional 1,121 species.
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