Review in Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment: Threats to an ecosystem service - pressure on pollinators
Insect pollinators of crops and wild plants are under threat globally and their decline or loss could have profound economic and environmental consequences. Here, we argue that multiple anthropogenic pressures – including land-use intensification, climate change, and the spread of alien species and diseases – are primarily responsible for insect-pollinator declines. We show that a complex interplay between pressures (eg lack of food sources, diseases, and pesticides) and biological processes (eg species dispersal and interactions) at a range of scales (from
genes to ecosystems) underpins the general decline in insect-pollinator populations. Interdisciplinary research on the nature and impacts of these interactions will be needed if human food security and ecosystem function are to be preserved. We highlight key areas that require research focus and outline some practical steps to alleviate the pressures on pollinators and the pollination services they deliver to wild and crop plants.
Insect Pollinators: Linking Research and Policy
The international workshop Insect Pollinators: Linking Research and Policy, which took place on 14th February in London, was organised by the UK Science and Innovation Network in collaboration with UK partners, including BBSRC and DEFRA.
The workshop brought together 59 scientists (including some IPI researchers), policy-makers and other stakeholders (including industry) from across Europe to discuss insect pollination from four different perspectives: pollinator diversity, pollinator health, pesticide impacts on pollinators and the economics of pollination.
Policy-makers need robust evidence to develop appropriate policies relating to insect pollination. Researchers around the world are engaged in a variety of projects to understand fully the problems facing pollinators, and to support the development of new strategies and interventions. The concept for the workshop grew from the policy need to understand the different messages coming from various media and lobby groups regarding insect pollinators, their role in pollination, their decline and speculation as to how this might affect global food production.
The workshop participants shared and exchanged their expertise in research, policy and best practice to identify the key research and policy priorities in insect pollination.
The final 34-page report includes a two-page executive summary of recommendations, followed by the detailed outputs of each of the four working groups. The research and policy priorities identified are clearly presented in nine individual tables.
For specific questions regarding the report’s content, please contact the coordinating author, Dr Adam Vanbergen, from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, who is the science co-ordinator of the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative email@example.com