Stop press: crops need pollinators

The National Research Council in the US has published a report on the importance of pollinators for crop production funded by the Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey, National Academies and the Research Council’s Division on Earth and Life Studies and requested by The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, representing agencies and organizations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. According to this story, “the report pointed out that in order to bear fruit, three-quarters of all flowering plants — including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs, and fuel — rely on pollinators for fertilization” and “a decline in pollinators may spell trouble for crops.” Well alrighty then. Among the recommendations:

  1. the Agriculture Department should increase research into pest management and bee breeding practices
  2. long-term studies must be done on the populations of wild bee species and some butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, and the United States should collaborate with Canada and Mexico to form a network of long-term monitoring projects
  3. landowners should take simple steps to make habitats more “pollinator friendly,” for instance by growing native plants

5 Replies to “Stop press: crops need pollinators”

  1. On the same day, the US Postal Service announced a set of stamps featuring pollinators, which could help to raise public awareness. I can’t find pictures, but I did find a description:

    “Another clever issue is Pollination, eight stamps forming two blocks of four. In one of the blocks, the four plants (prairie or common ironweed, saguaro flower, hummingbird trumpet blossom and purple or chaparral nightshade) are at the center, while a Southern dogface butterfly, lesser long-nosed bat, calliope hummingbird and Morrison’s bumble bees are in the corners. In the other, which will be on the opposite side of the booklet of stamps, the fauna are at the center, and the four plants are in the corners.”

  2. That stamp link doesn’t work, because one needs to be registered with AAAS and Science magazine. Maybe someone else will track down a picture we can finally and eventually see. Or buy a few and scan them?

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