A new study released by the UN predicts 40 percent of invertebrate pollinators are at risk for extinction, threatening nearly 90 percent of the plants that rely on bees and butterflies for pollination. From Newsweek:
Forty percent is a large amount, and that should concern us all—because agriculture depends on pollinators, but not only because of that,” says Scott Black, a peer reviewer for the report. “Without pollinators we’d have wheat, rice, and corn, but we wouldn’t have our most nutritious foods. We wouldn’t have apples and other fruits or a lot of vegetables. In the wild, everything from songbirds to grizzly bears depend on pollinated plants.”
The study was conducted by the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which compiled research from nearly 3,000 scientific papers spanning 124 countries.
Wild pollinators in certain regions, especially bees and butterflies, are being threatened by a variety of factors,” says IPBES Vice-Chair Sir Robert Watson. “Their decline is primarily due to changes in land use, intensive agricultural practices, and pesticide use, alien invasive species, diseases and pests, and climate change.”
The authors say the full impact of neonicotinoid pesticides and GMO crops on pollinator species is still largely unknown. They advise that a shift to organic farming, combined with replanting of wild flowers near crops could help to limit the potential damage.
Get the full report here.