Pre-war insect hunters help to save our pollinators

300px-Green_bee_pink_flower

85% of sites had suffered declines in pollinator species richness of between 10 and 50% over the past 80-100 years.

Maps made more than seventy years ago and records collected by amateur naturalists between the World Wars are providing new clues about declining pollinator numbers, ecologists have found. By showing which land use changes have driven pollinator declines over the past 100 years, the research reveals how we could ensure future land use benefits these vital insects. The results are presented at INTECOL, the world’s largest international ecology meeting, in London this week.

Using newly-developed statistical techniques, the team from Reading, Leeds and the Centre for Hydrology & Ecology analysed two sets of historical data: pollinator data from 1921-1950 based on more than half a million records collected by the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society since 1800 and now digitised; and the Dudley Stamp Land Utilisation survey from the 1930s, the earliest known land use map of Britain.

By comparing this historical data for 21 sites across England with recent pollinator records and land cover maps, they found that 85% of sites had suffered declines in pollinator species richness of between 10 and 50% over the past 80-100 years.

The results show urban landscapes might not be as detrimental to pollinator communities as previously thought; sites with an increased level of urbanisation around them show smaller declines in pollinator diversity. According to Dr Deepa Senapathi of the University of Reading: “This doesn’t mean that concrete jungles are good for pollinators, but urban environments may offer diverse forage resources in the shape of people’s gardens, parks, churchyards and green spaces which in turn could help support these insects.”

This is the first study of its kind to look at the impact of historic land-use change on pollinator communities in Britain. It shows that the dramatic changes in land use since World War II – in particular agricultural intensification and urbanisation – have had a significant impact on pollinator communities.

As well as helping explain how past land use change has driven pollinator declines, history offers important lessons about how to improve things in future. “Understanding the major step changes in land utilisation over the last 80-100 years provides a unique understanding of the drivers within changing land-use that might have the most significant impact on pollinator communities,” Dr Senapathi says.

Read more . . .

 

The Latest on: Pollinators
  • Pollinator Protectors
    on January 12, 2020 at 9:25 am

    The next generation of seeds, fruits, and plants starts when the pollen grain moves from the male part (the anther) of the flower to the stigma (the female part). Pollinators move from plant to plant ...

  • Birds were critical factor in natural history of the islands
    on January 11, 2020 at 9:19 am

    They were pollinators, predators and scavengers, seed dispersers, fertilizers and even the grazers on the landscape shaping the ecology and being shaped by geography and isolation. Take the moa-nalo ...

  • Gardening series begins with discussion on local growers
    on January 11, 2020 at 3:09 am

    The four sessions will focus on aspects of gardening, including local food, attracting pollinators, landscape design and learning about Potager gardens. At the first session in the Brown Bag Gardening ...

  • California Farmworkers, Farmers and Regulators Join Forces to Limit Pesticide Drift in Central Valley
    on January 10, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    FRESNO, Calif., Jan. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Nearly 250 Central Valley farmers and farmworkers converged on the Fresno County fairgrounds today to participate in Spray Safe, a stewardship ...

  • A day in the life of pollinators on ‘Born to be Wild’
    on January 9, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    They disperse seeds and help pollinate forests. With the aid of special lenses, take a look inside the world of pollinators. Witness a day in the life of these creatures as they go about their daily ...

  • Gardening: Nurturing pollinators beyond butterflies
    on January 9, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Gardening: Nurturing pollinators beyond butterflies Though the big buzz in the garden a couple of years ago was butterfly gardening, it has now expanded to pollinators big and small. Check out this ...

  • Bright Ideas 2020: Protect the city’s native pollinators by planting wildflowers
    on January 7, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    If we want healthy, happy pollinators in Madison, they need more food. Bumblebees, solitary bees, mason bees and other native pollinators do best when the local vegetation is in bloom. The 50,000 ...

  • Glasshouse trials put native bees to test as pollinators
    on January 7, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Western Sydney University research is looking at trials to see if native stingless bees are successful pollinators for strawberries in protected cropping environments. The glasshouse trials are using ...

  • 'The Pollinators’ to be shown Jan. 13 at Bradley Square AMC
    on January 4, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    A one-time showing of the film, “The Pollinators,” will be hosted at the Bradley Square AMC Theaters on Jan.13 at 6:30 p.m. This item is available in full to subscribers According to Carole Hicks, ...

  • Wild Pollinators
    on January 3, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    The researchers found that the top three pollinators were honey bees, bumblebees and squash bees. They then determined how much pollen a female pumpkin flower needs to initiate fruit production and ...

via Google News and Bing News

Bees, Fruits and Money: Decline of Pollinators Will Have Severe Impact On Nature and Humankind

Two thirds of the crops humans use for food production and the majority of wild plant species depend on pollination by insects such as bees and hover-flies.

This ecosystem service, however, provided by nature to humans for free, is increasingly failing. As an example, after 3000 years of sustainable agriculture, farmers in the Chinese province Sichuan have to pollinate apple flowers themselves by using pollination sticks — brushes made of chicken feathers and cigarette filter. This is one small example of a problem occurring world-wide, including Europe.

The work has been carried out in part part by STEP, an EU-funded Framework program Seven (FP7) project.

A global survey of several studies demonstrated a severe decline of pollinators and provision of pollination services in a wide range of intensively managed temperate and tropical agroecosystems. Considering that global crop production worth 153 billion Euros (for Europe 22 billion Euros) relies on insect pollination, the pollinators’ decline has direct impact on the stability of food production and consumer prices, and might also have serious consequences for human health.

A decrease of fruit and vegetable availability could impact the health of consumers worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set a lower limit of 400 grams per capita per day for fruit and vegetable consumption. Some studies demonstrated than even now more than 50% of the European households fall below this recommendation. In the case of pollinator declines and increasing food prices, this situation is very likely to worsen.

Read more . . .

via Science Daily
 

The Latest Streaming News: Decline of Pollinators updated minute-by-minute

Bookmark this page and come back often
 

Latest NEWS

 

Latest VIDEO

 

The Latest from the BLOGOSPHERE

Bee decline could be down to chemical cocktail interfering with brains

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts...

Image via Wikipedia

Insect Pollinators Initiative will look at the multiple reasons thought to be behind devastation of bees, moths and hoverflies

A cocktail of chemicals from pesticides could be damaging the brains of British bees, according to scientists about to embark on a study into why the populations of the insects have dropped so rapidly in recent decades. By affecting the way bees’ brains work, the pesticides might be affecting the ability of bees to find food or communicate with others in their colonies.

Neuroscientists at Dundee University, Royal Holloway and University College London will investigate the hypothesis as part of a £10m research programme launched today aimed at finding ways to stop the decline in the numbers of bees and other insect pollinators in the UK.

Insects such as bees, moths and hoverflies pollinate around a third of the agricultural crops grown around the world. If all of the UK’s insect pollinators were wiped out, the drop in crop production would cost the UK economy up to £440m a year, equivalent to around 13% of the UK’s income from farming.

Pollinators are also crucial for the quality of fruits and vegetables. Perfectly shaped strawberries, for example, are created only if every single ovary has been pollinated by an insect. And the number of seeds in a pumpkin depends on the number of species of insects that have pollinated the plants. “If you’ve got 10 pollinators, you’ll get more seeds in the pumpkin than you would have got if you’ve just got one pollinator,” said Giles Budge of the Food and Environment Research Agency. “It is important to have that diversity in a pollinating population.”

According to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, three of the 25 British species of bumblebees are already extinct and half of the remainder have shown serious declines, often up to 70%, since around the 1970s. In addition, around 75% of all butterfly species in the UK have been shown to be in decline. The new £10m Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI), the largest programme to date of its kind, will look at the multiple reasons thought to be behind this devastation in insect population.

If this concerns you, here is a link to a petition: http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_bees/97.php?cl_tta_sign=387beff07650d5b7a61127924d8dd035

Read more . . .

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta