Agroforestry Symposium to Focus on Pollinators

Each year, the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry picks an agricultural-related theme for their Agroforestry Symposium.

For the seventh symposium, the Center for Agroforestry will focus on pollinators and how agroforestry can assist in bringing their habitat back to life.

“Everyone is talking about pollinators,” said Shibu Jose, director of the Center for Agroforestry. “We are losing invaluable habitat. Among other reasons, the loss of habitat is contributing to a decline in pollinators. There are numerous statistics about how pollinators help sustain humanity.

The Agroforestry Symposium will focus on pollinators and how agroforestry can assist in bringing their habitat back to life. Photo by Kyle Spradley.The Agroforestry Symposium will focus on pollinators and how agroforestry can assist in bringing their habitat back to life. Photo by Kyle Spradley.

“We want to show how agroforestry can help revive critical habitats, and thereby pollinator populations.”

The symposium, “Future of Pollinators: Why Agroforestry Matters” will run from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Bond Life Sciences Center on the MU campus. It will be a free event open to the public.

“The symposium is an opportunity for us to reach out to our stakeholders,” Jose said. “We’ll be able to showcase what we do – and we’ll showcase what is happening, in general, in the world of agroforestry and natural resource management.”

Several speakers will discuss a variety of topics. Jose said the symposium will begin with the big picture – the role of pollinators in agriculture. Presentations on land-use practice to sustain the pollinators’ habitat will follow. There will also be discussions on how agroforestry can be used to improve that habitat.

The symposium will feature several experts discussing those numerous topics related to pollinators.

“Many of the plants in these habitats are what we consider weeds,” Jose said. “From an agricultural standpoint, out first reaction is to get rid of the weeds.

“However, agroforestry can open doors to other avenues where that habitat can be revived in a different way.”

Toward the end of the symposium, there will also be a four-person panel discussion with the focus on public-private partnerships for pollinator conservation.

“The public-private partnership is extremely important to scaling up pollinator habitat creation and conservation,” Jose said. “I’m really excited for that panel. They’ll be sharing their experience on how we can do things bigger and better.”

From 3:45-5:30 p.m. there will be a poster session and reception. The session will showcase different programs related to pollinators in the form of booths and information.

“It’s going to be a great event,” Jose said. “It’s going to be fruitful.”