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.