Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Loss of wild pollinators would hit crops

Claudia Mazzeo in The loss of wild pollinators from agricultural landscapes could threaten global crop yields, a study has found.  Led by Lucas Garibaldi, an assistant professor at the National University of Río Negro in Argentina, a team of researchers compared fields containing many wild pollinators — mostly insects — with those containing few. They studied 41 crop systems across all continents except Antarctica to understand how the loss of wild pollinators impacts crop production.

They found that the more wild pollinators a field contained, the more fruit it produced. From this, the researchers deduce that the loss of natural pollinators could reduce crop yields and hit long-term food security.

....Study co-author Alexandra-Maria Klein, professor of ecosystem functions at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany, said in a press release: "Intensified agriculture separates crop production and biodiversity. Our study shows that this separation can have negative consequences for pollination services … We urgently need more research that informs but also involves the global and wider society to explore novel management designs for agricultural landscapes."

The researchers also examined whether adding honeybees to fields can compensate for the lack of wild pollinators and maximise agricultural production. They found that wild pollinators pollinated crops more effectively, with an increase in visits resulting in twice as much fruit being produced compared with a similar rise in honeybee visits....

Bumblebee on goldenrod, shot by Beatriz Moisset, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

No comments: