The pollination services of forests

This report sheds a light on the critical role and the benefits of forest-dependent pollinators, explaining that forest management practices can have significant effects on pollinator abundance and diversity.

Forests and trees are critical for promoting pollination by bees, butterflies and other animals, according to the report The pollination services of forests published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Bioversity International in June 2020. There is an urgent need to stop forest habitat degradation and safeguard biodiversity.

Many pollinators depend heavily on forests for nesting and forage. But the report notes that deforestation or landscape fragmentation together with climate change have impacted on pollinators’ role, resulting in a cascading effect on the sustainability of ecosystems, food security and livelihoods.

An estimated 88 per cent of wild flowering plants are animal-pollinated globally, and more than 70 per cent of global food crops benefit from animal pollination, the report states.

Carrying pollen from one plant to another by bees and other insects not only enables the production of fruits, nuts and seeds, but promotes greater variety and better quality, thereby contributing to nutrition and food security. 

Land-use changes and land-management practices can fragment and degrade pollinator habitats. The report finds that wild pollinators provide crop plants with important pollination services that cannot be replaced by managed bees.

The FAO report features over 35 case studies, including one that revealed a strong positive link between bee diversity and forest cover in Brazil's coffee sector, while another in Costa Rica shows that some bee species are only found in forested habitats.

The report explains that heterogeneity and connectivity of habitats are vital for promoting pollinator diversity and abundance, and calls for more efforts to draw on indigenous and local knowledge, and to involve land custodians and stakeholders for pollinators-friendly management.

(FAO/ile)

Read more at FAO website

More information and download the report The pollination services of forests

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