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Photos: Pollination in the Tusas Mountains

Pollination is vital.

That fact is that nearly 90% of all plant species need the help of animals to act as pollinators.  About 75% of the crops grown world-wide for human consumption likewise depend on plant pollinators to propagate.


Nature didn’t let us down. There are something like 200,000 different species of animals around the world that act as pollinators. The majority of these are invertebrates, such as flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, and bees.  About 1,000 – and among the most important – are vertebrates, such as birds, bats, and small mammals.


It has been calculated that one out of every three to four mouthfuls of food we eat and beverages we drink is delivered to us by pollinators. As such, agricultural products that are produced with the help of pollinators make a significant contribution to the economy. For example, it has been estimated that insect-pollinated crops directly contributed $20 billion to the United States economy in the year 2000. If this calculation were to include indirect products, such as milk and beef from cattle fed on alfalfa, the value of pollinators to agricultural production would be raised to $40 billion in the  United States alone. Table 1 shows some of the common agricultural crops that are dependent upon or benefitted by insect pollination.”


Anicia checkerspot, Euphydryas anicia

It is said that in the Sichuan Province of China, one of the world’s most incredible apple producing areas, they pollinate every flower by human hand. The heavy use of pesticides and herbicides has eliminated native pollinators from the area. Regional beekeepers refuse to bring their hives into the toxic environment. Many areas of North America are not far behind.  Plant pollinators are under attack and, if eliminated, the world food supply could collapse.



The kids and I spent a few days out in the higher and cooler Tusas Mountains west of Taos, New Mexico last week.  There was a fierce lightening storm and it rained.  Then the clouds cleared.  The fields beyond the Ponderosa Pines were covered from one end to the other in flowers.

Pollinators everywhere!

Anicia checkerspot, Euphydryas anicia






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