Pollinators: The Ideal Allies In Our Battle Against Climate Change

In this day and age, we frequently overlook the fact that we live in an inextricably intertwined world in which no creature exists in isolation. No matter how big or small, every single organism contributes to the system’s productivity and health, and is therefore an essential component for the survival of humankind and the planet. 


However, there is one specific biodiverse group of animals that includes various types of invertebrates like bees, butterflies, flies, moths, beetles, but also over a thousand birds, reptiles, mammals such as bats, and amphibians, which serves a pivotal role in the internal dynamics of an ecosystem by assisting plants with their reproduction. Although it may not seem like it on surface level, pollinators have a very important and growing part in preserving biodiversity and maintaining habitats on which many species rely for basic necessities like food and shelter.  


It is generally known that plants and pollinators have coexisted abreast for millions of years. Therefore, it is no surprise that they have both developed numerous techniques on how to attract each other and benefit from their interaction. But how do pollinators help thousands of flowering plants to reproduce? In short, pollinators assist in the transport of pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the same or another flower by carrying the nectar they have sipped from the flower blossoms. Pollen movement is required for the plant to be fertilized and generate seeds, and every pollinator has its own unique way of pollinating. Many species of bees deliberately collect and deposit pollen, while other species like birds, bats and butterflies unintentionally transfer pollen.  


According to IPBES, nearly 90% of wild flowering plant species worldwide rely on animal pollination. Pollinators, as a result, are critical for the regulation of ecosystem services that support food production, habitats, and natural resources. According to some experts, animal pollinators such as native honey bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. In addition, pollinators boost crop productivity and quality in a variety of crops that provide vital goods like biofuels and fibers such as cotton and linen. These crops, which include fruits and vegetables, are necessary for human diets and nutrition because they provide vitamins and minerals. 

Because pollinators affect 35% of global agricultural land (FAO, 2018), they can also have a positive impact on farming by preventing soil erosion and increasing biodiversity. At the end of the day, by buffering the effects of climatic change and changing land use, adequate pollination can promote agricultural production stability, and result in more tasty fruits and increased crop yields. 

Unfortunately, pollinator abundance, variety, and health are all declining globally. Many human activities, which have led to climate change, habitat loss and the damages caused by excessive use of pesticides, have made the survival of pollinators particularly challenging. Bee population declines, in particular, pose a significant threat to both our agricultural economy and the habitat that feeds other creatures. Being aware of their significance and potential endangerment, we as human beings have the responsibility to protect pollinators, and what better way to do it than to invest in and support projects that create a pollinator-friendly environment. 


Taking into consideration importance of pollinators, Nature+ invests in projects that aim to create a compact environment for local pollinators, in order to secure pollinator species by constructing a new and safe habitat for them. One of our investments in this area is Buglife.  


Buglife is Europe’s only organization dedicated to the conservation of all invertebrates and production of invertebrate populations that are sustainable. 


They achieve their cause through promoting the relevance of invertebrates in the environment and raising awareness about the threats to their survival, but also by encouraging and supporting invertebrate conservation initiatives by other organizations in the UK, Europe, and around the world.  Buglife, for instance, promotes the use of green or “living” roofs as a means of increasing bug habitat and therefore supports the creation of land which can be used by pollinators during extreme weather conditions resulting from climate change. This plays a very important role, as this land can serve as a safe and protected area for migration when pollinators desperately need a habitat.  


In essence, pollination is more than simply an interesting biological phenomenon. It is an important tool to ensure ecological survival. Pollinators play a key role in the health of food systems and natural ecosystems and are  rooted in local cultures and customs. The human race and all earthly ecosystems would perish if pollinators were not present, and that is why efforts need to be made to create more pollinator habitats in agricultural and domestic settings.

Wetlands: Slowing Down The Pace Of Climate Change

Earth’s constantly changing climate has proven to be one of the biggest threats to face modern civilization. Since pre-industrial times, human activity has increased the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere by 40%, intensifying the natural greenhouse effect of the Earth and increasing temperatures. These rapidly rising temperatures caused by global climate change have already significantly contributed to species extinction and ecosystem collapse, water shortages and rising sea levels, but also to melting glaciers and warming oceans, and extreme weather events like intense droughts, storms, floods and heat waves. To properly tackle these problems, reducing carbon emissions should become our central priority.


Even though rainforests are typically recognized as “earth’s lungs” and the main tool for carbon emissions reduction, new research suggests that another natural solution for climate change mitigation is gaining popularity because of its numerous beneficial services: wetlands. 


Wetlands, which occupy around 6% of Earth’s surface, are among the most prolific and biologically varied ecosystems on the planet. Simply put, wetlands are geographic regions where water covers or is near the soil’s surface. They are distinguished from other types of land and bodies of water chiefly by the vegetation that has acclimated to their wet soil. Because water determines their biological, physical, and chemical properties, wetlands can take the forms of rivers, swamps, ponds, lakes, lagoons, but also marshes, bogs, mudflats, floodplains and mangroves. These dynamic systems have seasonal, yearly and decadal cycles of dry and wet phases which enables them to provide ecosystem services even while climate change continues. 

Known as “biodiversity hotspots” and “biological supermarkets”, they contain a wide range of microbes, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals and produce a large amount of food which attracts these species. 


Wetlands capture pollutants like phosphorus and heavy metals in their soils, convert nitrogen into a form that plants can use, and physically and chemically degrade bacteria. Although they cover a small percentage of earth’s surface, they are vital for our survival. 

As a result of their unique natural characteristics, wetlands offer numerous advantages. While coastal wetlands like salt marshes and mangroves act as natural coastal barriers that prevent coastal erosion, urban wetlands can protect cities from storm surges and floods by acting as natural absorbents for excess rainfall. Some wetland vegetation like trees and root mats can decrease the pace and distribution of flood waters throughout the floodplain. Because they have the ability to absorb energy and retain water, wetlands can assist in maintaining stable flow rates, supply water during periods of drought and reduce downstream flood damage during storms. Moreover, certain plants and microorganisms that reside in wetlands may assist in the purification of water from excess nutrients and pollutants, and consequently create a vital source of freshwater. Wetlands in Florida’s Everglades, for instance, assist refill the Biscayne Aquifer, the city of Miami’s primary source of drinking water.


Many varieties of aquatic and terrestrial plant and animal species rely on wetlands for their survival. In addition to providing a home, wetlands also  produce large amounts of food, supporting a very high level of biodiversity. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,  wetlands provide fully 60% of all threatened species and 40% of all endangered species listed in 1991 with essential habitat. For example, without wetlands, marine life animals like shrimp, oysters, crab, trout and clams would be left without food, shelter, breeding and nursery grounds.


However, the most important feature of wetlands is probably their ability to serve as huge carbon sinks- capturing, storing and regulating greenhouse gasses in their soil and plant communities. Wetlands’ vegetation cover and algal activity assists in controlling  processes  that produce GHG such as decomposition. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in comparison to rainforests, wetlands can store around 50 times more carbon. For this reason, wetlands represent a viable technique for mitigating the effects of climate change.


Wetlands are essential, productive ecosystems which offer humanity and the planet nothing but benefits.  They are valuable resources that should be maintained and protected because of their important role in the survival of countless plant and animal species,  as well as in flood control, shoreline erosion protection, groundwater recharge, freshwater supply, and climate change mitigation. 


Wetlands that are well-managed can thus play an essential role in assisting society in adapting to climate change, but also in ensuring human safety and well-being. The quicker we shift our focus in seeing wetlands as part of the solution rather than part of the problem, the faster we build up our resilience to climate change.