Food, Land or Bees


The global honeybee population reduced drastically between 2005-2007. The varoa mite and the colony collapse disorder were blamed. This led to fears of pollination crisis-a notion that decrease in the number of pollinators would threaten world food supply. Analysis of UNFAO data revealed the global domesticated honeybee population has actually risen 45 per cent, driven by a demand for honey, over the last five decades. While this bodes well for bee-pollinated crops, the study published in the May 7 issue of Current Biology, also noted that demand for insect-pollinated crops-mangoes, plums-tripled over the last half century, indicating a supply under stress. This could worsen as increasing demand for agricultural lands might lead to destruction of habitats that support pollinators and, in turn, cause the yield of insect-pollinated plants to drop.


Down To Earth, June 2009