As residents living on this beautiful blue planet, we are all interconnected and nothing exemplifies this more than our ecosystems. They are humanity’s life support system. These delicate environs depend on pollinators to regenerate finely tuned elements to ensure continuity. Whether mammal, animal or insect, should these pollinators disappear the impact on humanity would be considerable. Not only from an economic and food security point-of-view but right down to the breath we take. Previous studies indicate that the number of pollinators may be falling, but until now, there has been no investigation of how they are faring at a global level. A new international study does just that and it’s ringing a very loud warning bell.
Published in the journal Conservation Letters, by ecologist Eugenie Regan of the United Nations Environment Programme the study clearly states that an increasing number of pollinating mammal, bird and insect species are moving towards extinction. There are those that claim that it wouldn’t make much of a difference if a few pollinators disappear because there are so many. But if enough key species go extinct at crucial spots, the whole system will crash and that leaves humans out in the cold.
In the first study of it’s kind, researchers examined how bird and mammal species known to pollinate plants are faring based on the IUCN Red Lists. The lists, produced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, are regarded as the most authoritative and objective system for collating information on the risks of species going extinct.
The report points out that animals and insects pollinate more than 87% of flowering plant species, and humans rely on many of these plants for food, livestock forage, medicine, material and other purposes. 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 the set of species.