Why the Global South needs birds and bees more than the North?

Source: Down to Earth

Relevance: Implications of the decline in pollinator population

Synopsis: World’s biodiversity is facing a risk from reduction of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds, bats, etc. It is believed that the risk is greater for most of the developing world. A brief look.


A recent study on the causes and effects of the dramatic decline of pollinators has raised concerns for Africa, the Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

  • On livelihood– Declining population of pollinators can impact the livelihoods of rural population.
  • On yield from crops– Yield of pollinator-dependent crops is becoming unstable and categorized as “serious” in South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania while it is “moderate” in Europe and North America.
  • Threat of extinction– Around 40% of the invertebrate pollinator species, particularly bees and butterflies, face extinction across the world as per report by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • On nutrition– it can affect nutrition and livelihood of the people since pollinated crops are of notable nutritional and economic value to livelihoods and well-being
  • On ecosystem services– that provide food and wellbeing to millions, particularly in the Global South are threatened by this declining trend
  • Global risk– Reduction in the quantity or quality of food, fibre, fuel or seed that can be produced as a result of pollinator loss, is another global risk
Causes behind pollinator decline
  • Destruction of habitat through natural as well as man made causes
  • Improper land-use such as excessive grazing
  • Excessive use of fertilizer and increased trend of monoculture farming
  • High pesticide use to increase the yield of crops
  • Climate change is considered as fourth leading clause behind declining population of pollinators
Significance of the findings

According to the 2016 assessment report by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), pollinator-dependent food production increased 300% over the past half century, thus these findings become more important.

Importance of pollinators

An impact on pollinators will have cause negative effects for humanity too. These small creatures play central roles in the world’s ecosystems, including many that humans and other animals rely on for nutrition. If they go extinct, human species would be in serious trouble.

Way forward

A focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation in pollinator research and conservation strategies is the need of the hour.

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