Commercial Agriculture Fails to Use Ecological Knowledge, Globally

Thirteen ecologists from Australia, Argentina, Germany, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and The United States have reported that agricultural managers have persisted in importing honeybee colonies as their main method of managing pollination of their crops.

 

Use of imported single species as pollinators fails to use the fact that species-rich and abundant wild insects are demonstrably valuable in pollinating agricultural crops.

 

The report suggests several land management methods for increasing the diversity and abundance of wild pollinators.

Suggested methods for off-field application include:

Making nesting habitat available such as wetland reeds, muddy spots and uncultivated bare earth patches.

Conserving or developing fencerows and wildflower patches.

Conserving or restoring natural habitat patches.

Enhancing farmland heterogeneity.

Using smaller crop fields so that crops are closer to habitat of wild pollinators.

 

On fields, they suggest:

Reducing the use of synthetic pesticides.

Using no-till methods.

Enhancing plant diversity within crop fields.

Organic farm practices.

Sowing flowering crops.

 

We might summarize these suggestions as: apply ecosystem based landscape stewardship to farmland. It is becoming too clear that agriculture’s oft-repeated claim to be eco-friendly badly needs updating.

bee n wing at pickerel weed full pollen basket crop 72dpi

Wetlands provide habitat for a diversity of pollinators. Here a bee is filling its pollen baskets from pickerel weed. Degrading wetlands reduces crop pollination and reduces crop yields

 

 

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