Pollinators like bumblebees are declining in Europe. What are the causes, the consequences and the possible solutions? Researchers know that the causes are multiple: a combination of habitat loss, pathogens, alien species, agrichemical pollution and even climate change.
And the consequences are dramatic. Bees and other pollinators are sentinels of whole ecosystems, which depend on them to thrive.
Declining pollinators have negative effects in wild plant populations, crop production and, eventually, human nutrition.
Simon Potts who is a pollination biologist at Reading University explained the effect with the help of two strawberries: “Take a strawberry that is a good colour, good size, and is symmetrical. That is a strawberry that’s been very well pollinated. A poorly pollinated strawberry is a bit smaller, it is misshapen, it is not very attractive; it probably has less sugar in it.
‘So pollinators play a really important part in agriculture, and if we have fewer of them in Europe, we are going to have problems with growing good quality food.”
Researchers at te European research project STEP are working to assess the problem and find solutions.
Read the full story at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?id=/research/star/index_en.cfm?p=sf-20150115-pollinators&calledby=infocentre&item=Infocentre&artid=33739