The global plight of honeybees and native pollinators has increasingly become a cause of alarm for environmental and agricultural sustainability. The decline in numbers and health and longevity of various species of pollinators has been increasing as fluctuating climate, agricultural and land stewardship practices and habitat encroachment have been compromised (www.beeinformed.org). It is necessary for local, regional and national food security to develop programs that can support pollinator health and also promote alternative and adaptable crops that support pollinator preservation and propagation; as well as encourage value added product economies.
Colony Collapse Disorder is a term that was first defined in 2006 as the global phenomena of disappearing honeybees. After a decade of diverse research programs across the nation, the core to understanding pollinator health and longevity resides in the nutritional foundation (http://www.usda.gov/documents/ReportHoneyBeeHealth.pdf ). Unfortunately, many parts of the United States only offer compromised forage for pollinators either, by the continuance of large monocrop systems (which only provide one source of food then become food deserts in non-bloom time), or by residual toxins present in nectars and pollens from agro-chemical practices.
Uniquely, New Mexico is a state of a myriad of microclimates–from desert to tundra. As such, those plants and animals that have adapted over time to the diverse topography of our enchanted lands have a developed relationship that nurtures longevity and strengthens adaptability and perpetuity. The long standing traditional and cultural practices of land stewardship in our state nurtures a different perspective as it relates to preserving and promoting reverential practices that care for the landscape and livestock as multiple aspects of a greater whole.
As such, the landscape and its offerings create the habitat that tests and nurtures the multitude of pollinator species in our state. And stewards nurture their livestock as best they can by coordinating with farmers for pollination and forage. It is this relationship of flower to pollinator to health that is at the core of our inquiry.
By extension, if pollinators can secure beneficial and perhaps medicinal forage for themselves, it will also translate into their harvestable products. This second query is what our analysis will determine as it relates to promoting value added products of both botanical and honeybee hive origin such as the ongoing research of Pediatrician Dr. Stephen Rankin and Dr. Don Hyder of Farmington, NM (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01748318) .