The Importance of Pollinators
The Importance of Pollinators
It would bee impossible to overstate the importance of pollinators to humanity. Whilst many people are vaguely aware that bees are important, few truly give much thought to the vital role that pollinators play in gardening and agriculture – and to the wider global ecological picture.
Without pollinators, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for human beings to grow the food that we need to survive on this planet. Unfortunately, current human practices mean that pollinators are in danger. If we do not change these practices then pollinators are going to be gone and with them, we may also lose our ability to feed ourselves on this planet.
If this happens, it is likely that there will be no coming back. Preserving our pollinators is one of the most pressing concerns facing us today, which is why we must all do our part in preventing their mass extinction.
What Are Pollinators?
Pollinators are creatures that move pollen from one part of a plant’s flower to another, fertilizing that plant. This agency is essential for certain plants in order to be able to form fruit and/or seed and to reproduce. While some plants are pollinated by the wind, others require pollinators in order for fertilization to take place.
Globally, around 87.5% of flowering plant species require animals for pollination. The volume of agricultural production that is dependent on animal pollination has increased by 300% over the past 50 years.
Bees are just one common pollinator. Other insects also undertake this vital work, as do some birds, and mammals. Ecosystems are all in a delicate balance. Without pollinators, they are not able to endure and the natural life cycle of plants is disrupted. Healthy ecosystems are essential to all life on this planet – humanity included.
Why Are Pollinators Threatened?
A U.N. Report released in 2016 stated that 40% of pollinators are facing extinction. The causes of this are varied, though it is widely agreed that human beings are to blame. The rapid reduction in the numbers of certain pollinators have been blamed on:
The loss of basic habitats upon which these pollinators rely.
- The loss of plant and animal biodiversity in a range of ecosystems.
- The proliferation of mono-crop agricultural systems, and the reduction in the number of plant varieties grown commercially.
- The extensive use of agricultural chemicals including harmful pesticides and herbicides.
- Pests and disease, which are more likely to decimate less diverse and less resilient ecosystems and populations.
The importance of pollinators is clear. The question remains – will we do enough, quickly enough, to preserve these vital creatures before it is too late? If we work to redress the problems that we have created, then we can bring ourselves back from the brink – but only if we work in harmony with nature as we grow our food and live our lives on this planet. Now you know the importance of pollinators – it is time to begin to look into ways in which you can help them to help us.