according-to-united-nations-report-humanity-cannt-survive-without-pollinators

two in five species of invertebrate pollinators (such as bees) are on the road to extinction

these are problems that can be fixed, and unlike global warming, the solutions don’t require countries to agree on global action — they can act locally

 

 

A simple and deadly statistic : 75 % of all world food supply production relies on Pollinators. The impending extinction of , butterflies, and other pollinators could cost the world hundreds of billions in food crops if nothing is done to stop it

According to the new United Nations report, two in five species of invertebrate pollinators (such as bees) are on the road to extinction

One in six species of vertebrate pollinators (such as hummingbirds) are facing the same fate. Tens of thousands of species of insects, birds and bats are a vital part of the natural cycle of , and the study found that a significant percentage of them are at risk.

Sixteen percent of vertebrate pollinators — birds, bats, anything with a backbone — are threatened with global extinction. For isolated populations on islands, like Darwin’s finches, the number is nearly double that.

The trouble is the report can’t point to a single villain. Among the culprits: the way farming has changed so there’s not enough diversity and wild flowers for pollinators to use as food; pesticide use, including a controversial one, neonicotinoid, that attacks the nervous system; habitat loss to cities; disease, parasites and pathogens; and global warming.

The report lays out a long list of things that are contributing to the pollinators decline.

“The variety and multiplicity of threats to pollinators and pollination generate risks to people and livelihoods,” the report stated. “These risks are largely driven by changes in land cover and agricultural management systems, including pesticide use.”

But these are problems that can be fixed, and unlike global warming, the solutions don’t require countries to agree on global action — they can act locally, said Robert Watson, a top British ecological scientist and vice chairman of the scientific panel. The solutions offered mostly involve changing the way land and farming is managed.

Focusing on bees, which about one-third of our fruits and vegetables, the report suggests creating more diverse habitats for the wild bees that thrive near agricultural and urban areas, reducing pesticide usage, and managing populations to help fight the damage being done by “diseases, pests, and invasive species.”

It notes that parasites like the mite can destroy entire colonies of bees. And it references the relatively recent news that the phorid fly, which was known to infect bumblebees, was also laying its eggs in honeybees, leading them to abandon their hives.

The researchers hope that their study will encourage farmers, scientists and agricultural companies to get together to help protect the industry that is currently delivering over $230 billion worth of crops to the world every year.

“All farmers, especially family farmers and smallholders around the world, benefit from these services” said José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the United Nations’s Food and Agriculture Organization. “Improving pollinator density and diversity has a direct positive impact on crop yields, consequently promoting food and nutrition security.”

More Pollinator Species In Endanger, Threatening World Food Supply

The United Nations report also highlights monoculture agriculture, with wide swaths of farmland supporting a single crop, as another source of woe for pollinators. In England, the government pays farmers to plant wildflowers in their hedgerows, British scientist Robert Watson told AP. In the United States, the newly formed Pollinator Health Task Force is also looking into ways to encourage farmers to diversify plants grown on agricultural lands.

This problem is exacerbated by the growing dependency of human agriculture on pollinators like honeybees, which produces 1.6 million tons of honey every year. In the past fifty years, the amount of human agriculture reliant on pollinators has risen by 300 percent.

 

 

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