It is interesting to think about how insects relate to plants. We have all watched a butterfly or bumble bee move from flower to flower and have made the assumption that they are feeding or at least collecting food. We also know that this process spreads pollen, thus making the development of seed possible. It is an obvious example of a win-win relationship, interdependent species, synergy and collectively of the tremendous diversity of nature.
Throughout time, the pollination process has become quite specialized. Although some insects are generalists and can utilize many plant species, others are highly selective and basically feed on only a few plant species or maybe even just one. This, of course, can be a risky way to perpetuate your species for either the plant or the insect. If one is lost the other will also be doomed. In times when there were large continuous and relatively stable plant communities (millions of acres) there was essentially enough to compensate for localized change. In other words, if a million acres of prairie would burn, there would still be 10 million that did not burn and populations of insects would have plants to feed on and plants would have pollinators so they could produce seed (they also had corridors of habitat to facilitate movement). Life basically went on for both species.
Of course that has changed and changed in a big way. The midwestern prairies are all but gone and with them the food supply for thousands of species of insects. Butterflies, bees, beetles, moths, flies, hoppers, ants and almost countless others are all without the habitats and plants that they depend on. This is a critical situation that modern large scale food production has accelerated. Habitat loss is at an all time high and what is left may not be sufficient to support some species of either plants or insects. Further, it may take decades for the total impact of habitat loss to really take effect – we may be just beginning to realize our predicament.
So what happens next? Time will tell. Maybe we don’t really need all those stinging, biting, messy insects or the hundreds of species of plants they pollinate, but at PRI we are betting that we do. Like you, we think that it is our mission to do all that we can to save every species – even if they bit, sting, smell funny, look pretty or are just plain ugly. They all have a place and provide stability, diversity and value to an ecologically challenged world.
Our seed mixes are designed to develop habitat and our pollinator plantings may be particularly valuable at this time. Our two pollinator seed mixes are defined in our catalog and here on our web site. We also have a “Sowing It Back Together” pollinator kit that might be just right for a small space in your home landscape or anywhere else that you can find room. Every little bit can help and so we hope that you can become part of a solution that will require a big effort from us all.
To help off-set these declines and others that we can only guess at, Prairie Restorations, Inc. has created a new initiative that we are calling "Sowing it Back Together".
Four kits have been developed to accommodate your site so that you can join in this effort. With everyone doing their part, we can make a difference! Click on the links below to find the program best suited for your site…
Visit our headquarters in Princeton, MN, our newest retail Shop in Scandia, or a location nearest you