Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Disappearance of bees now worldwide
Decline of honey bees now a global phenomenon, says United Nations
The Independent: Declines in managed bee colonies, seen increasingly in Europe and the US in the past decade, are also now being observed in China and Japan and there are the first signs of African collapses from Egypt, according to the report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The authors, who include some of the world's leading honey-bee experts, issue a stark warning about the disappearance of bees, which are increasingly important as crop pollinators around the globe. Without profound changes to the way human beings manage the planet, they say, delclines of pollinators needed to feed a growing global population are likely to continue...
The scientists warn that a number of factors may now be coming together to hit bee colonies... ranging from declines in flowering plants and the use of damaging insecticides, to the worldwide spread of pests and air pollution...
"The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. "The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world's food, 70 are pollinated by bees."...
The transformation of the countryside and rural areas in the past half-century or so has triggered a decline in wild-living bees and other pollinators,' said one of the lead authors, Dr. Peter Neumann of the Swiss Bee Research Centre. "Society is increasingly investing in 'industrial-scale' hives and managed colonies to make up the shortfall and going so far as to truck bees around to farms and fields in order to maintain our food supplies.
"A variety of factors are now making these man-made colonies vulnerable to decline and collapse. We need to get smarter about how we manage these hives, but perhaps more importantly, we need to better manage the landscape beyond, in order to recover wild bee populations."
Image source here.