Decline in pollinators
- April 6, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Decline in pollinators
Context: Decline in pollinators linked to half a million premature human deaths every year, shows study.
More on the News:
- Half a million people are currently dying prematurely every year due to global insect pollinator decline that has impacted the availability and price of healthy foods such as nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables, finds a new modeling study.
- Middle-income countries, including India, Russia and China are among the hardest hit. Wealthy nations were more immune from pollinator decline.
- The world’s pollinators are vanishing for a host of reasons, but the largest is loss of habitat. Other escalating impacts include the use of pesticides and climate change.
- When a pollen grain moves from the anther (male part) of a flower to the stigma (female part), pollination happens and it is the first step in a process that produces seeds, fruits, and the next generation of plants.
- This can happen through self-pollination, wind and water pollination or through pollinators.
- Vectors that move pollen within the flower and from flower to flower are called pollinators.
- They visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot.
- There are two categories of pollinators:
- Invertebrate pollinators: Include bees, moths, flies, wasps, beetles and butterflies.
- Vertebrate pollinators: Include monkeys, rodents, lemurs, tree squirrels and birds.
Significance of Pollination:
- Ecosystem: Pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining the ecosystem. Pollinators are responsible for pollinating a large variety of flowering plants, which in turn provides food, shelter, and habitat for many other animals. They also help in the formation of fruits, berries, and nuts that are a source of food for birds and mammals.
- Agriculture: Pollination is essential for agriculture as it is directly responsible for the production of fruits, vegetables, and grains. About 75% of global food crops rely on pollinators for their reproduction. Without pollinators, many of our favorite foods, such as apples, strawberries, and almonds, would be difficult to grow.
- Biodiversity: Pollination is essential for maintaining biodiversity as it ensures the continuation of various plant species. Without pollinators, many plant species would not survive, which would have a ripple effect on the entire ecosystem.
- Economic benefits: Pollination has significant economic benefits. The value of crops that depend on pollinators exceeds $200 billion annually worldwide.
Reason for declining Pollination
- Loss of Habitat: Destruction of habitat is one of the main reasons for the decline in pollination. Many plant species that depend on pollinators for reproduction have lost their habitats due to deforestation, urbanization, and other land-use changes.
- Pesticide Use: Pesticides are widely used in agriculture to control pests and diseases. However, these chemicals can also harm pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other insects. Pesticide residues on flowers and plants can kill or weaken pollinators, making them less effective at pollination.
- Climate Change: Climate change has also affected pollinators and their habitats. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns have altered the timing of flowering and the emergence of pollinators, making it difficult for them to synchronize their life cycles.
- Invasive Species: Invasive species can also compete with native plants for pollinators, disrupting the natural balance of ecosystems. Some invasive plants, such as the Japanese knotweed, can also outcompete native plants for pollinators.
- Monoculture Farming: Monoculture farming practices have also contributed to the decline in pollination. These practices involve growing large areas of a single crop, which reduces the diversity of flowering plants available for pollinators.
- Bee Diseases: Diseases such as Varroa mites, Nosema fungus, and American foulbrood have also affected bee populations, reducing their effectiveness as pollinators. These diseases can weaken and kill bees, reducing their numbers and pollination services.
- Plant a diverse range of native plants: A diverse range of plants will also ensure a longer flowering season, providing pollinators with a consistent source of food.
- Provide nesting sites: Many pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, require nesting sites to lay their eggs and rear their young. Providing nesting sites such as hollow stems, logs, or bare ground can help support pollinator populations.
- Reduce pesticide use: Limiting the use of pesticides or choosing less harmful alternatives can help protect pollinators.
- Create habitat corridors: By creating habitat corridors, pollinators can more easily move between habitats, increasing their chances of survival.