Pollinators provide many significant benefits to humankind and the environment. However, there is an ongoing and dramatic decline in the number and diversity of pollinating species in Europe and around the world. Pollinating species include bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths, and some vertebrate species such as birds and bats. Many pollinator species are extinct or threatened with extinction.
The brief from Science for Environment Policy presents an overview of research into the benefits of pollinators for food production and security, the essential role of pollinators in nature, the drivers of change in pollinator populations and the importance of monitoring for pollinator protection. It is largely based upon peer-reviewed research, but also presents case studies that illustrate the nature and significance of pollinators, as well as the work that goes into investigating and supporting these essential creatures. The brief draws on evidence from around the world.
The brief is written in the context of the EU Pollinators Initiative,1 which presents strategic objectives and a set of actions to be taken by the EU and its Member States to address the decline of pollinators in the EU and contribute to global conservation efforts.
The Initiative’s priorities are to:
- improve knowledge of pollinator decline, its causes and consequences;
- tackle the causes of pollinator decline;
- raise awareness, engage society-at-large and promote collaboration.
Pollinator decline raises issues that cut across a host f policy areas, including agriculture, management of rural and urban land, biodiversity, food, health, energy (biofuel crops), research and innovation. At an EU level, relevant legal acts include:
- Birds and Habitats Directives;
- Pesticides legislation (Directive 2009/128/EC, Regulation (EC) No 1107/20094);
- Common Agricultural Policy;
- EU cohesion policy (including its urban dimension);
- EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and LIFE.