FunNature & AnimalWhy are bees important for the planet?

Why are bees important for the planet?

 

Every May 20th World Bee Day is celebrated, an ideal moment to remember that bees exist in all kinds of climates around the world, from forests in Europe to deserts in Africa, even in the Arctic Circle and that they are very important in our world because they pollinate food crops.

 

Bees, flagship group of all pollinators

Bees of all kinds, including honey bees and bumblebees, move from plant to plant, moving pollen and fertilizing plants along the way. Thanks to this pollinating effect, the plants are fertilized and can produce fruits, vegetables, seeds, etc. Bees even help plants survive by avoiding inbreeding.

Humans depend on pollinators and therefore it is crucial to monitor their populations to detect declines and halt biodiversity loss. A study by M. Kuhlmann published in the South African Journal of Botany suggested that around 20,000 species of bees exist worldwide (most of them are wild), and these represent the most important pollinators of the 240,000 species of flowering plants and more than half of the 3,000 species of crops that exist on the planet. It is a key ecological species.

More figures. Of all the pollinating animals (wasps, moths, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds…) bees are the most dominant pollinators of wild and cultivated plants. They visit more than 90% of the 107 main crops in the world.

In other words, bees are essential to the growth of many plants, including food crops.

The threats

However, an increase in various factors, such as pesticide use and urbanization and other environmental factors, such as climate change , show that bees are currently in decline, negatively affecting many of the Earth’s ecosystems. The loss of bees would affect honey supplies, but more importantly it would affect global food security and biodiversity. Without them, the world could be a very different place.

Bees require diverse and lush landscapes to feed, breed and nest. So when the diversity of the ecosystem is affected, the surrounding pollinator populations, too.

The vast majority of flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce . As we mentioned earlier, all fruits and vegetables need the help of pollinators that transport pollen from one flower to another. But the value of bees goes beyond supplying countless fruits and vegetables.

Aside from helping us produce 1/3 of the human food supply, they also help provide half of the world’s fibers, oils, and other raw materials; they are useful for creating medicines; they provide food for wildlife and help prevent soil erosion.

And it is that, pollinators in general , (including flies, beetles, birds, bats or geckos) are also part of the maintenance of the lungs of our planet: they help the growth of many trees and other plants and make up a vital part of many ecosystems .

Referencia: Vidushi Patel, Natasha Pauli, Eloise Biggs, Liz Barbour, and Bryan Boruff

Why bees are critical for achieving sustainable development. Ambio. Published online 2021 Apr 20. doi: 10.1007/s13280-020-01333-9

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