Report: Deadly Human-Made 'Cocktail' Threatening World’s Pollinators

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Common Dreams

Report: Deadly Human-Made 'Cocktail' Threatening World’s Pollinators

Decline of 'unsung heroes' will have drastic impacts on world's ecosystems, food supply

by
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

(Photo via Flickr / Wood Thrower / Creative Commons License)

A "cocktail" of human-made "pressures" are threatening insect pollinators across the world, whose decline will have "profound environmental, human health and economic consequences," according to a new report released Monday by the Insect Pollinators Initiative

Insect pollinators such as bees provide pollination for up to 75% of crops and enable reproduction in up to 94% of wild flowering plants, meaning their current decline greatly "threatens human food supplies and ecosystem function" around the world, the group urges.

According to the study Threats to an Ecosystem Service: Pressures on Pollinators, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the steady disappearance of these essential creatures cannot be tied to one factor, but to a multitude of anthropogenic reasons such as "the loss of food resources in intensively-farmed landscapes," pesticides, climate change, and "the spread of alien species and diseases."

Dr. Adam Vanbergen from the UK’s Center for Ecology & Hydrology and science coordinator of the IPI led the review and stated:

There is no single smoking gun behind pollinator declines, instead there is a cocktail of multiple pressures that can combine to threaten these insects. For example, the loss of food resources in intensively-farmed landscapes, pesticides and diseases are individually important threats, but are also likely to combine and exacerbate the negative impacts on pollinators.

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“Pollinators are the unsung heroes of the insect world and ensure our crops are properly pollinated so we have a secure supply of nutritious food in our shops," said co-author Professor Simon Potts from the University of Reading. "The costs of taking action now to tackle the multiple threats to pollinators is much smaller than the long-term costs to our food security and ecosystem stability. Failure by governments to take decisive steps now only sets us up for bigger problems in the future.”

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