Pollination, Food, and Environment
By bringing expertise and knowledge sharing to the design of sustainable agricultural landscapes we support all pollinators and also protect threatened plant populations and the wildlife that depends on such habitats.
The World Bee Project approach includes ecological, economic and social dimensions, where food and nutrition security, gender and equity are crucial components.
The 2016 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) recommends:
The "promotion of sustainable agriculture, which helps to diversify the agricultural landscape and makes use of ecological processes as part of food production." Specific IPBES options include maintaining or “creating greater diversity of pollinator habitats in agricultural and urban landscapes.”
POLLINATION IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES ON OUR PLANET
It is through pollination that plants are fertilised and able to produce the next generation of plants, including the fruit and vegetables and crops that we eat to survive. Of all the different animals and insects that serve as pollinators, the most important are wild bees and honeybees.
Until the last few decades we relied on wild bees to pollinate our vegetables, fruits, nuts and crops but wild bee populations are now in decline due to habitat loss, climate change, monocultures, disease, and use of harmful pesticides.
The IPBES Report explains that a growing number of pollinator species worldwide are being driven toward extinction by diverse pressures, many of them human-made, threatening millions of livelihoods and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of food supplies.
There are more than 20,000 species of wild bees alone, plus many species of butterflies, flies, moths, wasps, beetles, birds, bats and other animals that contribute to pollination. Pollinated crops include those that provide fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oils. Many of these are important dietary sources of vitamins and minerals, without which the risks of malnutrition might be expected to increase. Several crops also represent an important source of income in developing countries, for example, the production of coffee and cocoa.
Nearly 90% of all wild flowering plants depend at least to some extent on animal pollination. In addition to food crops, pollinators contribute to crops that provide biofuels (e.g. canola and palm oils), fibers (e.g. cotton), medicines, forage for livestock, and construction materials. Some species also provide materials such as beeswax for candles and musical instruments, and arts and crafts.
Loss of habitat worldwide has been a long-term contributor to pollinator declines. In the UK about 97% of wildflower meadows have disappeared in the last decades due to an increase in farming and over industrialisation.
The bee symbolises our ultimate goal of placing the natural world at the heart of public policy.