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Environment

White House Aims To Protect Pollinators

by Britt E. Erickson
May 25, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 21

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Credit: Shutterstock
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Credit: Shutterstock

The White House laid out a strategy last week to slow the decline of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Goals of the plan are to reduce honeybee losses to economically sustainable levels by 2025, increase the number of monarch butterflies to 225 million by 2020, and restore 7 million acres of pollinator habitat in the next five years through federal action and public-private partnerships. The White House also released a research plan for better understanding pollinator declines and improving pollinator health. Beekeepers reported losses of about 40% of honeybee colonies last year, and the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico has declined by 90% the past 20 years. Environmental groups criticize the strategy for not banning neonicotinoid pesticides. Use of these chemicals is one of several factors, including parasitic mites and habitat loss, that are linked to bee declines.

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