15. LIFE ON LAND

Lawsuit Launched to Protect American Bumblebees, Three Other Bee Species

Lawsuit Launched to Protect American Bumblebees, Three Other Bee Species
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Lawsuit Launched to Protect American Bumblebees, Three Other …  Center for Biological Diversity

Lawsuit Launched to Protect American Bumblebees, Three Other Bee Species

Suit Filed to Protect Imperiled Bee Species

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice today of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect four imperiled bee species, including American bumblebees, under the Endangered Species Act. Southern Plains bumblebees, variable cuckoo bumblebees, and blue calamintha bees are also included in today’s filing.

“The Biden administration has failed to step up for pollinators, but we won’t let them go extinct without a fight,” said Jess Tyler, a staff scientist at the Center and petition co-author. “Your parents’ generation may have seen American bumblebees all over their yards, but now trained biologists spend their summers looking and can’t find any. The loss of one of our most common bumblebees is a scary prospect.”

America’s pollinators are vital to 75% of leading food crops and 90% of wild plants. Bees are highly effective pollinators whose loss would have disastrous consequences for food security and the environment. The Biden administration has not taken any meaningful actions to protect bees, such as reining in the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, which play an outsized role in bee population declines.

North America’s bumblebees have been especially hard hit, with nearly 1 in 4 bumblebee species vulnerable to extinction because of habitat loss, pesticide use, disease, and climate chaos. Bumblebee declines are not limited to the most specialized or habitat-limited bees. Even adaptable habitat generalists like American bumblebees are struggling, with their populations plummeting by nearly 90%.

The four bee species in today’s lawsuit have suffered declines in population and range, largely driven by habitat loss, intensive agricultural land use, and the related increase of toxic pesticides. Infectious disease, competition from nonnative bees, and climate change are also hastening their decline.

Following petitions by the Center and allies to protect the bees under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service found that the American bumblebee, variable cuckoo bumblebee, and blue calamintha bee may warrant protection under the Act. The Service has failed to meet its legal requirement to decide if listing the Southern Plains bumblebee may be warranted or to make a listing determination within the required 12-month period for any of these four bee species.

Species Highlights

  • American bumblebee — Once found in 47 of the lower 48 states, this iconic bumblebee now inhabits only 35 states after declining by 89% in the last two decades. They’re social insects who live in colonies that can number in the hundreds, with workers and a single queen. Along with habitat loss and pesticide contamination, disease spillover from domesticated bee colonies is accelerating the bees’ decline.
  • Southern Plains bumblebee — This bumblebee is native to the perennial grasslands and open woodlands of America’s Great Plains, Midwest, and southeastern coastal plains. It has become twice as rare relative to other bees in recent decades as its habitats have degraded and disappeared. This bee has vanished altogether from six states.
  • Variable cuckoo bumblebee — This is one of the rarest bumblebees in North America, with zero confirmed observations since 1999. Its fascinating life cycle requires it to invade the nests of American bumblebees, tying its fate to a host species in precipitous decline and demonstrating the ripple effects of the loss of a single bee species.
  • Blue calamintha bee — This metallic blue mason bee relies entirely on two rare flowers found in central Florida’s fragile sand pine scrub ecosystems. Habitat loss to agricultural, commercial, and residential development are existential threats to this highly restricted bee. Other threats include pesticides, disease, and natural disasters.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species Indicator 15.5.1: Red List Index
SDG 2: Zero Hunger Target 2.4: Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding, and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality Indicator 2.4.1: Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture
SDG 13: Climate Action Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning Indicator 13.3.1: Number of countries that have integrated mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning into primary, secondary, and tertiary curricula

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

SDG 15: Life on Land

The article discusses the decline of bee species, including American bumblebees, due to habitat loss, pesticide use, disease, and climate change. SDG 15 aims to protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species and reduce the degradation of natural habitats. The issues highlighted in the article are directly connected to this goal.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

The article mentions that pollinators like bees are vital to 75% of leading food crops and 90% of wild plants. The decline of bee populations can have disastrous consequences for food security. SDG 2 aims to ensure sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. The issues discussed in the article are relevant to this goal.

SDG 13: Climate Action

The article mentions that climate change is one of the factors contributing to the decline of bee species. SDG 13 focuses on climate action and aims to improve education and awareness about climate change mitigation and adaptation. The issues highlighted in the article are connected to this goal.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

The decline of bee species due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and other factors mentioned in the article aligns with this target under SDG 15.

Target 2.4: Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding, and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality

The importance of pollinators like bees for food production and the potential impact of their decline on food security are relevant to this target under SDG 2.

Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning

The mention of climate change as a contributing factor to the decline of bee species connects to this target under SDG 13.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

Indicator 15.5.1: Red List Index

The article mentions that bee species, including American bumblebees, are vulnerable to extinction. The Red List Index is an indicator that measures the risk of extinction for species. It can be used to assess progress towards Target 15.5 under SDG 15.

Indicator 2.4.1: Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture

The article highlights the need for sustainable agricultural practices to protect pollinators and maintain ecosystems. The proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture is an indicator that can measure progress towards Target 2.4 under SDG 2.

Indicator 13.3.1: Number of countries that have integrated mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning into primary, secondary, and tertiary curricula

The article mentions the role of climate change in the decline of bee species. The integration of climate change education into curricula is an indicator that can measure progress towards Target 13.3 under SDG 13.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species Indicator 15.5.1: Red List Index
SDG 2: Zero Hunger Target 2.4: Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding, and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality Indicator 2.4.1: Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture
SDG 13: Climate Action Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning Indicator 13.3.1: Number of countries that have integrated mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning into primary, secondary, and tertiary curricula

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: biologicaldiversity.org

 

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