Pollinators on Public Lands
The Mojave bearpoppy (Perdita meconis) is a bee that pollinates the Las Vegas bearpoppy (Arctomecon californica). Both are BLM Nevada special status species. The bearpoppy is one of many rare plants dependent on native bees for reproduction. In Nevada, insects are not protected under state law. By including insects as special status species, the BLM fills a critical conservation role.
Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly (Callophrys [Mitoura] grynea thorneii) is a BLM California special status insect known only from the Otay Mountains in San Diego County. First described in 1983, it is dependent on its larval host plant, another BLM special status species, the Tecate cypress (Cupressus forbesii). Only five populations of Thorne’s hairstreak are known, all located in BLM Wilderness. Both species are threatened by wildfire.
Bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators are essential to our nation’s food supply and to maintaining healthy, productive wildlands.
The BLM's Plant Conservation Program recognizes managing for pollinators and other non-pollinating insects is an important aspect of protecting and managing rare plants and natural plant communities. Because plants and insects can be interdependent, many times, conservation of one species cannot happen without consideration of the other.
The BLM takes the needs of pollinators into consideration when authorizing or performing land use activities on the public lands.
Increasingly, specialist pollinators and insects are becoming the focus of BLM conservation activities and are being added to BLM special status species lists. This page contains a few of the many examples of plant-insect interactions that the BLM manages.
The Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly (Euphilotes pallescens arenamontana) is a BLM Nevada special status butterfly species. These butterflies are known for their almost complete dependence upon Kearney buckwheat (Eriogonum nummulare), eating the fallen leaves of the plant as larvae, and feeding on the nectar of the flowers as adults. In addition the Sand Mountain Blue has a close relationship with ants. Desert carpenter ants feed off a sugary secretion produced by the larvae. Over the past 10 years, the population of Kearney buckwheat in the Sand Mountain area has declined due to recreational use. Changes in BLM management of the area have stabilized populations while balancing multiple use of the area.
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
The BLM has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Pollinator Partnership, which is the non-profit administrator for a collaboration known as the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC). Through NAPPC, more than 100 private, government, university and non-profit organizations are working together to encourage the health of resident and migratory pollinating animals in North America.
Visit the Pollinator Partnership website for more information on pollinators and pollinator week activities and other podcasts in this series.
| ||The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization focused on invertebrate conservation. Xerces works with BLM on pollinator monitoring projects in Oregon and other locations.|
Podcast: Carol Spurrier, BLM range ecologist, and Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of the Xerces Society, are featured in the BLM podcast, Managing Microfauna: Pollinators on Public Lands. Listen to what the BLM is doing to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and the need to protect them and their habitats.