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.