Over the past decades, both wild and domesticated insect pollinators are in dramatic decline, which puts at stake the existence of species, ecosystem resilience and global food security. Globally, 87 of major food crops depend on animal pollination. Together these account for 35 % of the world food production volume. Pollinator mediated crops are indispensable for essential micronutrients in the human diet. Many ornamental plants as well as crops for fibre, fodder, biofuels, timber and phytopharmaceuticals also depend on insect pollinators. This article aims to map the current situation of pollinators worldwide, with a focus on the critical role of pollinators in the human food chain and ecosystem sustainability, their intrinsic and extrinsic value, as well as the causes of their declines and the interventions needed to conserve them, in order to develop an argument for the importance of conserving and restoring pollinator populations and diversity. The present pollinator crisis threatens global and local food security, can worsen the problems of hidden hunger, erodes ecosystem resilience, and can destabilise ecosystems that form our life support system. An integrated approach that simultaneously addresses the key drivers is needed. This includes creation and restoration of floral and nesting resources, a global phase out of prophylactic use of neonicotinoids and fipronil, improvement of test protocols in authorisation of agrochemicals, and restoration and maintenance of independence in regulatory science. The authors argue that an international treaty for global pollinator stewardship and pollinator ecosystem restoration should be initiated in order to systemically counteract the current crisis.
Scientists urge transition to pollinator-friendly agriculture
Utrecht & Tokyo, 7 June 2013
Honeybee disorders and high colony losses have become global phenomena. An international team of scientist led by Utrecht University synthesized recent findings on the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees. Scientists conclude that owing to their large scale prophylaxic use in agriculture, their high persistence in soil and water, and their uptake by plants and translocation to flowers, neonicotinoids put pollinator services at risk.
Wetenschappers dringen aan op transitie naar bijvriendelijke landbouw
Utrecht & Tokyo, 7 juni 2013
Wereldwijd kampen imkers met abnormaal hoge volksterfte en verzwakte bijen. Een internationaal team van wetenschappers geleid door Universiteit Utrecht bracht de recente wetenschappelijke stand van kennis in kaart over de effecten van neonicotinoïde insecticiden op bijen. Grootschalig preventief gebruik in de landbouw, in combinatie met hoge persistentie in bodem en water en opname door planten die het gif doorgeven aan hun stuifmeel en nectar, leiden tot substantiële risico’s. De wetenschappers concluderen dat de bestuiving van bloeiende planten en landbouwgewassen op het spel staat.