“The global loss of pollinators is already causing about 500,000 early deaths a year by reducing the supply of healthy foods, a study has estimated.
Three-quarters of crops require pollination but the populations of many insects are in sharp decline. The inadequate pollination that results has caused a 3%-5% loss of fruit, vegetable and nut production, the research found. The lower consumption of these foods means about 1% of all deaths can now be attributed to pollinator loss, the scientists said…. “
Buglife says “One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators. It is almost impossible to over-emphasise the importance of the service pollinators perform for us.
Many plants rely on insects to pollinate their flowers and so complete their reproductive cycle – most plants cannot set seed without being pollinated (receiving the pollen, usually from another flower). Without bees, hoverflies and other insects visiting flowers, there would be no strawberries, apples, avocados, chocolate, cherries, olives, blueberries, carrots, grapes, pumpkins, pears, plums or peanuts…. And very few flowers in our gardens and countryside.
It is estimated that 84% of EU crops (valued at £12.6 billion) and 80% of wildflowers rely on insect pollination…”
Report in the Guardian newspaper:- ” Almost half of Britain’s natural biodiversity has disappeared over the centuries, with farming and urban spread triggered by the industrial and agricultural revolutions being blamed as major factors for this loss.
Britain has lost more of its natural biodiversity than almost anywhere else in western Europe, the most of all the G7 nations and more than many other nations such as China,
The world’s overall biodiversity intactness is estimated at 75%, which is significantly lower than the 90% average considered to be a safe limit for ensuring the planet does not tip into an ecological recession that could result in widespread starvation. On this scale, the UK’s index reading was 53%.”
To pollinate 87% of plants. 75% crops need insect pollination.
Recycle dung, leaves, corpses.
Keep soils healthy.
Control pests, though they can also be pests.
Food for larger animals eg. fish. Crickets are 12 times more efficient than cows in converting vegetation into digestible body mass, produce little or no methane and use 55 times less water.
Insects are in all food chains.
German nature reserve studies – over 27 years the insect biomass has dropped by 75%. Forest and grassland had a 40% drop over 10 years. UK butterflies – over 41 years a 46% drop in common species numbers. 77% drop in rare species numbers. US studies – 70% drop in insectivorous birds in 20 years.
“A lack of bees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security.
Species of wild bees, such as bumblebees, are suffering from a loss of flowering habitat, the use of toxic pesticides and, increasingly, the climate crisis. Managed honeybees, meanwhile, are tended to by beekeepers, but have still been assailed by disease, leading to concerns that the three-quarters of the world’s food crops dependent upon pollinators could falter due to a lack of bees.
Of seven studied crops grown in 13 states across America, five showed evidence that a lack of bees is hampering the amount of food that can be grown, including apples, blueberries and cherries. A total of 131 crop fields were surveyed for bee activity and crop abundance by a coalition of scientists from the US, Canada and Sweden. …. ”
A Guardian newspaper article ,,, “Buying organic food is among the actions people can take to curb the global decline in insects, according to leading scientists. Urging political action to slash pesticide use on conventional farms is another, say environmentalists.”