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expert reaction to safeguarding pollinators

Published in Nature, this review looks into the values of different pollinators on issues including food secutiry and biodiversity, their status and trends, risks from environmental pressures and the consequent management and policy response options to safeguard pollinators.


Norman Carreck from the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex, said:

“This is a wide ranging and novel review. Many existing reviews have covered only bees, but this is comprehensive and covers all pollinators, including vertebrates. As well as the familiar effects on crop pollination, it emphasises the socio-economic value of pollinators.

“It has been widely reported in the media that the human population would starve without bees. This is not true, because many of the world’s staple food crops are wind pollinated, but this review emphasises the complexity of the relationship. Animal pollinated crops supply many vital micronutrients and a lack of such crops due to pollinator decline could lead to deficiencies and other human disease.

“The review provides useful data on the increased dependence of crops on animal pollination and provides guidance on three complementary approaches to safeguard pollinators in agro-ecosystems.”


Dr Lena Wilfert, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Evolution at the University of Exeter, said:

“This review by Potts et al. shows that diverse pollinator populations are crucial for a wide range of factors influencing human well-being, beyond the immediate pollination of crops. Importantly, their work shows how ecological intensification of agriculture and ecological infrastructure can tackle the threats to pollinator diversity and abundance.

“Adopting these measures will not only protect our pollinators but promises to have a wide range of benefits to wildlife and the ecosystem services they provide – from as yet undiscovered medicines or materials to the sheer benefit of a beautiful natural environment to human health.”


* ‘Safeguarding pollinators and their values to human well-being’ by Simon Potts et al. was published in Nature at on Monday 28 November 2016.


Declared interests

None declared

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