The Honey Bee Health Coalition, a coalition comprised of more than 30 organizations and agencies from across food, agriculture, government and conservation, released Bee Healthy, a roadmap to improve honey bee health, last week. The roadmap’s focus is collective action that will accomplish more than any one group can achieve on its own to address the crisis of honey-bee die offs around the globe.
The roadmap was a collaborative response to unacceptable declines in honey bee health that pose a significant danger to food systems and fragile ecosystems. Nearly a quarter of the bee population disappeared in 2013, much to the alarm of scientists. The consequences of bee die-off are grim. “More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators, such as bees, to reproduce, meaning pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat,” the US Department of Agriculture said in a report last winter. Bees’ pollinating role adds $15 billion to the value of U.S. crops, including apples, almonds, watermelons and beans, according to government reports.
The Bee Healthy Roadmap lays out specific priorities and actions that it will take to reverse these declines and improve the health of honey bees and other pollinators. The Roadmap also provides a framework for ongoing collaboration inviting anyone with a vested interest in honey bee health to work together to achieve its vision of Healthy Honey Bees, Healthy People, Healthy Planet.
Coalition establishes science-based platform for cross-industry coordination on four priority area, focusig on immediate and consistent action from partners across the landscape. The focus areas include improving Hive Management, Forage & Nutrition, Crop Pest Management, and Cross-Industry Education, Outreach and Coordination. For each priority, the Bee Healthy Roadmap sets out specific actions the Coalition and its members will take and invites others to join forces or take steps on their own to improve pollinator health.
“The Bee Healthy Roadmap lays out a specific set of priorities through which the Coalition will achieve its core mission,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology and a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee. “By collaboratively implementing solutions through partnerships across food, agriculture, government, and conservation partners,” he continued, “we can achieve a healthy population of honey bees and healthy populations of native and managed pollinators, productive agriculture systems, and thriving ecosystems.”
In all of its efforts, the Coalition emphasizes the need for partners to join together. Saving the honeybee is a task that we simply can’t manage alone, it will take cooperation and collective action.
“The Coalition’s Bee Healthy Roadmap is very ambitious,” said The Keystone Center’s Julie Shapiro, the Coalition’s facilitator, “but by building off of the excellent collaboration among Coalition members to date, and with the help and support of new partners, we can achieve our goal of substantially improving honey bee health.”
To get involved in the Coalition or learn more about the project, visit http://www.honeybeehealthcoalition.org.