Study launches on CO insects vital to state’s economic stability

KKTV 11 News this Morning
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 8:39 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Several agencies are teaming up for a statewide study on Colorado’s native pollinating insects.

“Pollinators are key to life on this planet,” explained Deryn Davidson, CSU Extension Sustainable Landscape Specialists and one of the study leads heading this project.

Pollinators are critical to our ecosystems and pollinate 85% of flowering plants. More than 2/3 of the world’s crops can contribute their reproduction to these insects.

On a state scale, Colorado is home to a diverse community of pollinators that contribute more than $300 million to the state’s economy.

“Any conservation that we can do not only on our ag lands but also in our natural areas and natural spaces, by bolstering and improving habitat, that is going to better support those pollinators who then in turn provide us with those critical services,” said Davidson.

This study is happening as a result of SB822-199 Native Pollinating Insects Protection Study being signed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2022 to push for more research on the vital insects and the role they play in our ecosystems and economy.

“It’s such a big topic and a big issue and I think it’s fantastic that Colorado is prioritizing this,” said Davidson.

Researches and scientist are teaming up from across the state with CSU Extension, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, state, and federal agencies to provide recommendation for best land management practices that support pollinator conservation.

Research on Colorado pollinators has been going on for decades, but Davidson is hoping this study can bring all that information together.

“It’s just a really unique and fantastic opportunity. To see what’s existing, to see what we already have, and also be able to potentially identify gaps, so that we can further this research and information. Pollinators are so key to to life on the planet and also the economic and stability of Colorado.”

Researchers have until Jan. 1, 2024 to complete their study and prepare a presentation for the General Assembly and Governor.