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Pollinators are essential to the environment and our food supply. Nearly one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat relies on a pollinator, and they have been shown to boost crop yield and quality, providing clear economic benefits to farmers. Most people know that bees are pollinators, but there are many others, including butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, bats and hummingbirds. They carry seeds and pollen between plants, facilitating plant reproduction. Without them, we would lose much of our food supply, put wildlife food and habitat at risk, and compromise plants that stabilize soils against erosion and buffer waterways. Yet pollinators throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world are clearly in distress. Pollinator decline has been reported on every continent, and hundreds of pollinator species are on the verge of extinction. Even so, many pollinator species have not been able to to maintain stable and healthy populations. While there are many complex, interrelated causes of declining pollinator populations and health, recent research identifies several fundamental problems that are having a negative impact, including pesticide exposure, habitat loss and disease. Farmers know how critical pollinators are to agriculture and their ability to make a living. That is important, since farmers and landowners are the ones who can do the most to help. But farmers and landowners need to have accurate information to better understand and address these problems. This guide is intended to fill that role, by providing current research pointing to some of the major causes of pollinator declines. Beyond clarifying the science, this guide also gives landowners and farmers information on ways that they can directly help pollinators survive and thrive on their land and beyond.

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