What is Europe doing to save the bees?

Recently, the European Commission came up with a proposal to create "buzz lines", essentially a network of ecological corridors for pollinators. This is seen as an important step towards arresting the alarming decline of pollinators. But why is this decline alarming and why should we be concerned? Come, let's find out.

What are pollinators?

Pollination is the process by which pollen – a powdery substance-moves from the male part of one flower to the female part of another flower. This movement results in fruits, seeds, and young plants. Pollination occurs in some species when wind or water carries the pollen. However, most plant species require the help of pollinators. These pollinators a wide range of creatures such as bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, birds, flies, and bats-fly from one flower to another for various reasons such as food, shelter, and looking for materials to build nests with. When they flit between flowers thus they end up carrying pollen with them and transferring them to other flowers.

What is causing their decline?

There has been a decline in the population of pollinators, including bees and butterflies globally. While the "excessive use” of pesticides and other chemicals is said to be responsible for much of that decline, there are a lot of other factors too. "Invasive pests and diseases, such as mites and viral and fungal pathogens” play a role in decreasing pollinator numbers. As human activity and infrastructure development increase, pollinators have had to grapple with loss of habitat too. Adding to such aspects are loss of genetic and species diversity and also the negative impact of climate change. The scenario for pollinators look pretty grim right now.

Why are they important?

Pollinators are the ones keeping the planet going, with their crucial ecological function. A huge part of the fruits and vegetables we eat and agricultural crops raised are the result of pollen transferred by pollinators. So, they are vital for food globally. Not just that. Even timber and our clothing are dependent on them since they help the likes of cotton and wood-bearing trees grow. Which means, by helping with food and other industries, pollination services are worth millions of dollars worldwide in addition, the natural habitat they help create supports all kinds of plants and animal life. The billions of plants and trees that grow across the globe clean air by taking in carbon dioxide and giving us oxygen. Further they also prevent soil erosion. So, when the population of pollinators including bees and butterflies, declines, it can cause both an economic and an ecosystem collapse. It has been found that low-income countries lost significant income and crop yields from pollinator deficits, pointing to an economic threat. And without ecosystems, the human race may have no hope of survival. Here's proof. A study found that that 3% to 5% of fruit, vegetable, and nut production is lost due to inadequate pollination, leading to an estimated 427.000 excess deaths annually from lost healthy food consumption and associated diseases".

Picture Credit : Google 

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