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Re: E-M:/ Another bad sign....decline of pollinators species

Enviro-Mich message from Gary Stock <gstock@net-link.net>

The press release implies but does not articulate a related "bad sign,"
namely, loss of native flora across the board -- not just among species
requiring specialty pollinators.

I'll make a string of assertions, many of which may be demonstrated, and
some quantified.  However, I suspect that all are "at least 51% true at
least 51% of the time."  If so, the important questions are:  1) how can
we reduce these effects as much as possible; and 2) how long until
critical conditions become irreversible.

Just pondering:

Most native pollinators accept native and non-native food sources
equally well.  Most non-native pollinators are no more discerning.

Some new non-native (flora or pollinator) is introduced to virtually
every parcel of land from time to time.  Introductions of new native
species are less frequent.  Thus, over time, the ratio of non-natives to
natives increases.  As a result, more of the total pollination effort
goes to non-natives.

Increased pollination effort results in more pollination, more seed set,
and more reproduction by seed.  Thus, in a setting of mixed native and
non-native species (both flora and pollinator), non-native species are
more likely to have increasing success, at the expense of natives.

Once an environment is dominated by non-natives, more pollinators will
begin to rely on them.  Thus, the cycle in favor of non-natives will accelerate.

If those assertions are "just-a-bit-more-true-than-false," non-native
flora eventually will dominate everywhere (unless we intervene with
active habitat management).  If those assertions are
"much-more-true-than-false," natives may simply disappear in many
places, even if they are _not_ dependent on certain pollinators!  Of
course, external influences (for example, changing climate) or other
mechanisms (such as selection for flower size, or drought or cold
tolerance) might alter the process.

In any event, loss of a few native bees, flies, wasps, beetles, ants,
and so on, is bad news for all native species, from the smallest to the largest.

For us, as well.


"Alex J. Sagady & Associates" wrote:
> Some Pollinator Populations Declining; Improved Monitoring and
> Although the consequences of wild pollinator declines for
> nonagricultural settings are more difficult to define, one result
> could be a greater vulnerability of some plant species to extinction,
> the report adds.  Few plants rely on a single pollinator, but certain
> species could be at increased risk. 

> Copies of Status of Pollinators in North America are available from
> the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or
> on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu. Reporters may obtain a
> pre-publication copy from the Office of News and Public Information
> (contacts listed above).

Gary Stock                                        gstock@unblinking.com
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     The best proof for a claim that terrorists are crazy or evil
     would be to acknowledge that the White House is full of them

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