Monday, April 29, 2013

The ongoing loss of pollinating insects requires quick and decisive action

Insect pollinators such as bees are not only important from environmental point of view but also from economic point of view because the pollination services they provide are worth more than $200 billion each year.

The researchers have calculated that these insects pollinate about 75% of crop species and enable reproduction in up to 94% of wild flowering plants. Their rapid decline in population is therefore a major reason to worry, and there are many ongoing researches that are searching for factors that have contributed to this decline.

UK's Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI), a £10M research programm, has come up with some very interesting conclusions on this matter. The most important include:

  • Insect pollinator populations are declining in many areas of the world, threatening human food supplies and disrupting many important ecosystem functions.
  • A variety of interacting pressures are having a big impact on pollinator health, abundance, and diversity with most notable being land-use intensification, climate change, invasive species and the outburst of new diseases.
  • A complex interaction between various factors(e.g. lack of food sources, diseases, and pesticides) and biological processes (e.g. species dispersal and interactions) at a range of scales (from genes to ecosystems) is what underpins their general decline in population.
  • The world needs to focus more on interdisciplinary research and better collaboration that should provide evidence-based solutions.
  • Short-term speaking world should establish effective habitat networks, broadening of pesticide risk assessments, and ensure development and introduction of innovative disease therapies for bees and other pollinators.
The decline of pollinators is major long-term threat to global food security and governments and scientists need to unite in decisive action to protect these species from disappearing. Otherwise, our future generation will have tough time to survive because there won't be enough food in the world.

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