Pollination Management

Pollination Management


Pollination is a keystone process in both human managed and natural terrestrial ecosystems. It is critical for food production and human livelihoods, and directly links wild ecosystems with agricultural production systems. The vast majority of flowering plant species only produce seeds if animal pollinators move pollen from the anthers to the stigmas of their flowers. Without this service, many interconnected species and processes functioning within an ecosystem would collapse.


In agro-ecosystems, pollinators are essential for orchard, horticultural and forage production, as well as the production of seed for many root and fibre crops. Pollinators such as bees, birds and bats affect 35 percent of the world's crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, plus many plant-derived medicines. The diversity of pollinators is striking. Most of the estimated 20,000 species of bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) are effective pollinators, and together with moths, flies, wasps, beetles and butterflies, make up the majority of pollinating species. Vertebrate pollinators include bats, non-flying mammals (several species of monkey, rodents, lemur, tree squirrels, olingo and kinkajou) and birds (hummingbirds, sunbirds, honeycreepers and some parrot species).


Current understanding of the pollination process shows that, while interesting specialized relationships exist between plants and their pollinators, healthy pollination services are best ensured by an abundance and diversity of pollinators. Maintaining pollinator biodiversity in agricultural landscapes can ensure the provision of essential pollination, while also serving as a critical form of insurance against the risks of both climate change and the pests and diseases that occur among populations of managed pollinators.


© Mace Vaughn