Wildlife species that pollinate flowers provide critical ecosystem services that are disproportionately important compared to the diminutive size of many of the pollinators. Alarmingly, populations of many pollinators in the Sierra Nevada and around the world are declining, including various native bumble bee species.
For instance, the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis) was recently designated by the US Forest Service as a Sensitive Species on National Forests in California, in part due to apparent disappearance from much of its historical range in recent years. In response, IBP has initiated multiple studies of bumble bee ecology in the Sierra Nevada.
Another important pollinator in the Sierra Nevada, the Rufous Hummingbird, still occurs in large numbers across the mountain range during its summertime southbound migration, but is increasingly recognized as a bird species in trouble, with a population estimated to be declining by 3% per year.
For more information about IBP’s efforts to study and protect pollinators in the Sierra Nevada, please contact Helen Loffland
Photo Credits: Top of Page, IBP; Bottom Left Column (western bumble bee painting), Lauren Helton; Right Column, Travis DuBridge