Trump reduced the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Now what will happen to the bees?

Photo: Joseph Wilson

It’s been fourteen years since Olivia Carril completed a sweeping and bold survey of the bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. And the results of that survey, published just this year, are astounding: this slice of Utah is approximately the size of Delaware but is home to nearly as many species of bees as the entire United States east of the Mississippi River — over 600 species. The bee community and diversity in this remote desert landscape is truly astounding.

But a year ago this week, President Trump decided to reduce the size of this monument and carve it into three separate units.

What do these changes mean for the future of this unique collection of bees? And why should any of us care?

I had the privilege of working with Olivia Carril and Joseph Wilson to answer these questions. We compared the results of Olivia’s original survey with the new boundaries. Here’s what we found…

Reducing protected lands in a hotspot of bee biodiversity: The bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument