Pollinators in decline around the world – ‘Pollinating species will become extinct and we will lose key, irreplaceable species in our ecosystems’Posted by Jim at Saturday, March 07, 2015
By Matt Walker
4 March 2015
(BBC News) – Around the world, animals that pollinate flowering plants are in decline.
An increasing number of pollinating mammal and bird species are moving towards extinction, according to the first study of its kind.
Other, so far unpublished studies, also suggest that pollinating insect species are also heading towards extinction.
If these trends continue, say the studies' authors, key species will be lost, with potentially significant impacts on how ecosystems function.
The latest assessment is published in the journal Conservation Letters, by ecologist Eugenie Regan of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, based in Cambridge, UK, and an international group of colleagues.
In their research, the scientists point out that animals pollinate more than 87% of flowering plant species, and humans use many of these plants for food, livestock forage, medicine, materials and other purposes.
A number of studies have indicated that pollinator numbers might be falling. But despite this, until now there has been no investigation of how they are faring at a global level.
On average, 2.4 species per year have moved one Red List category towards extinction in recent decades, representing a substantial increase in extinction risk across this set of species, report the scientists.
“These measures show which species are threatened with extinction and show that more and more species are becoming at risk of extinction over time,” Dr Regan told BBC Earth.
“In the real world, it means that pollinating species will become extinct and we will lose key, irreplaceable species in our ecosystems.” [more]