Reducing Protected Lands in a Hotspot of Bee Biodiversity

“The Beehive State”

“The state of Utah’s nickname is “The Beehive State,” and the moniker couldn’t be more apt, say Utah State University scientists.  One out of every four bee species in the United States is found In Utah and the arid, western state is home to more bee species than most states in the nation. About half of those species dwell within the original boundaries of the newly reduced Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.” –


Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 5.33.24 AM“So 660 bees represents about half the species known in Utah, and about one fifth of the species known from the United States.” Joseph Wilson, an entomologist at Utah State University involved in the efforts. “So there’s a big proportion of the bees known from North America are found in the Grand Staircase National Monument.”

But then, he says, just as they were publishing those big results, his team got word the Trump administration was going to shrink the monument to half its size.

So they reanalyzed their data in light of the new maps. And found that the new monument left 84 of the 660 wild bee species outside its bounds (~13%).

“So what does it mean for these 84 species now that they’re no longer in these protected lands? We really don’t know.” – Bees get stung by decision to scale back national monument

The article published by the authors is free to read and download at PeerJ, a peer-reviewed journal, under the copyrights applying.

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 5.50.41 AM

“The minimization of this monument opens the door to further development, such as paving, mining, natural gas extraction, and increased human activity and traffic, and reduces the role these monuments can play in protecting unique pollinators and pollinator communities. What’s more, scientific research into the needs, population dynamics, and identities of these bees has been deprioritized during a time when understanding the role of each specific pollinator is imperative (Allen-Wardell et al., 1998; Potts et al., 2010). In order to minimize the impact of this monument downsizing, we therefore suggest that land managers commit to prioritizing pollinators in current and future land management plans for the monument.” – from the article in PeerJ


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