Maintaining property under a wildlife tax valuation is about more than just birds and mammals. Insects are also an important part of the system. Protecting native insect pollinators on private property now comes with new benefits for Texas landowners.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Nongame and Rare Species Program developed new guidelines for landowners to develop wildlife management plans for their properties. If a landowner’s property is currently evaluated under an Agricultural Tax Valuation, they may qualify for an Agricultural Tax Appraisal based on Wildlife Management Use if they follow the new guidelines to protect and support native pollinators.
Private Lands Means Wildlife Management by Property Owners
Because more than 95 percent of Texas lands are privately owned, effective native insect pollinator conservation requires private landowner involvement. Landowners can play a significant role in conserving and maintaining pollinator populations by applying management practices that benefit these species, which support the healthy growth of several agricultural crops for free.
Wildlife Management Guidelines for Tax Valuation
The new guidelines are published in Management Recommendations for Native Insect Pollinators in Texas, which are available online by navigating through the link that appears later in this paragraph. The guidelines outline a suite of different practices that benefit these species, from prescribed burning, native plant re-seeding and installation of native pollinator plots to creating nest sites. The various practices in the guidelines could be applied to small backyards and large ranches alike.
The guidelines address a growing problem: Native insects that are important to pollinating wildflowers and agricultural crops, including some bumble bee species and the monarch butterfly, have experienced dramatic population declines and are in need of conservation action. In addition, significant challenges to managed European honeybee health has sparked interest in native insects as alternative pollinators for agricultural production.
Pollinators are Important for Wildlife & People in Texas
Pollination is one of the most vital processes in sustaining natural ecosystems and agricultural production. The majority of flowering plants that comprise Texas’ diverse ecosystems rely upon insects to transport pollen among flowers, ensuring the production of viable seed. Viable seed is critical for the perpetuation of plant species across the landscape. The annual value of insect-pollinated crops to the U.S. economy is estimated at over $15 billion.
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