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Opening Remarks of Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Oversight Hearing on "The Birds and the Bees


Location: Washington, DC

Opening Remarks of Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Oversight Hearing on "The Birds and the Bees: How Pollinators Help Maintain Healthy Ecosystems"

We learn as children that reproduction is as simple as the birds and the bees. The understated message we rarely take away from that instruction is, however, that those same birds and bees are essential to maintain biodiversity and healthy ecosystems around the world.

This afternoon, the Fisheries Subcommittee will shift its conventional focus from game animals to those other forms of wildlife; wildlife that often escape our attention but are nonetheless indispensable in the web of life. In fact, were it not for the hummingbirds, bats and butterflies - to name just a few types of wild pollinators - it is hard to imagine a landscape capable of supporting any wildlife at all.

This week we are celebrating National Pollinators Week in recognition of the vital importance of pollinators in maintaining not only agriculture, but also biodiversity and healthy landscapes. I commend the organizers of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign for their efforts in generating public awareness about the role of pollinators and what we need to do to conserve this vital ecological service.

In a world forecast to experience unpredictable climate change, we simply cannot afford to squander our pollinator resource if we hope to maintain food security and biologically diverse forests, grasslands, wetlands and deserts. I am pleased that we will have experts of the caliber of Dr. Lovejoy and Dr. Berenbaum to explain the status of pollinators and their importance in maintaining biodiversity.

It is also important that federal land managers and private landowners consider the needs of pollinators as a normal part of doing business. To the extent that we can be better pollinator stewards, we can avoid unnecessary harm of pollinators and reduce the impact of threats facing pollinator populations, such as invasive species or habitat fragmentation.

I will look forward to hearing from all our witnesses to learn more about what both the public and private sectors are doing to support pollinator conservation across our country.

In closing, we would be wise to abide by the message once delivered by biologist E.O. Wilson who said, "The evidence is overwhelming that wild pollinators are declining around the world…Humanity, for its own sake, must attend to the forgotten pollinators and their countless dependent plant species."

Let us begin that effort.

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