Importance of Pollinators in Agricultural Biodiversity

Authored by: Barbara Gemmill-Herren

Routledge Handbook of Agricultural Biodiversity

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415746922
eBook ISBN: 9781315797359
Adobe ISBN:


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Pollination as a factor in food production and security has been little understood and appreciated in the past, in part because it has been provided by nature at no explicit cost to human communities. As farm fields have become larger, and the use of agricultural chemicals that impact beneficial insects such as pollinators along with plant pests has increased, pollination services are showing declining trends around the world. The domesticated honeybee, Apis mellifera (and several of its Asian relatives), have been utilized to provide managed pollination systems, but for many crops, honeybees are either not effective or are suboptimal pollinators. Thus, the process of securing effective pollinators to ‘service’ large agricultural fields, orchards and plantations is proving difficult to engineer, and there is a renewed interest in fostering natural pollination services’. Pollination services have now been studied at the global level for at least fifteen years through FAO’s coordination of the International Pollinators Initiative, and we are well-placed to provide an evidence-based assessment of the importance of pollinators as an essential component of agricultural biodiversity, meriting focused conservation and management.

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