The decline in the monarch butterfly has led to it being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Declines in managed and native bees have also been documented, leading to increased concerns about bee populations and communities, as well as the availability of pollination services for crops and native plants. Similar factors have been identified in the decline of monarchs, native bees, and other pollinators, including habitat fragmentation, loss, and degradation (including milkweed loss for monarchs), and disease/predation, as well as climate change, weather extremes, invasive species, and pesticides. Texas is part of the Southwest breeding region for monarchs, which supports approximately 11% of the population that overwinters in Mexico. It also forms the southern end of the Monarch Central Flyway in the U.S., which has been identified by the Monarch Joint Venture as a high priority for habitat restoration efforts, including the addition of at least 1 to 1.5 billion milkweed stems and abundant nectar resources to support monarch reproduction and migration.
With the extensive loss and fragmentation of native grasslands, managed grasslands are becoming increasingly important for supporting conservation efforts. Managed grasslands have the potential to provide floral resources for monarchs and other pollinators, as well as host plants (milkweeds) for monarchs and nest sites (e.g., undisturbed soil, woody or pithy stems, tree cavities) for native bees. However, few baseline data exist for this region, making it challenging to assess the value of ongoing conservation efforts for monarchs and other pollinators.
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