What can WE do?Policy Makers
Pollinators like bees are vulnerable to pests, diseases and environmental changes. In recent years these factors have had a major impact on their populations. Without pollinators, many of the crops we rely on would not produce a harvest.
Here are ten evidence-based policy recommendations that every country could start doing now to protect pollinators:
1. Raise pesticide regulatory standards.
2. Promote integrated pest management.
3. Include indirect and sublethal effects in genetically modified crop risk assessments.
4. Regulate movement of managed pollinators.
5. Develop incentives, such as insurance schemes, to help farmers benefit from ecosystem services instead of agrochemicals.
6. Recognise pollination as an agricultural input in extension services.
7. Support diversified farming systems.
8. Conserve and restore ‘green infrastructure’ (a network of habitats that pollinators can move between) in agricultural and urban landscapes.
9. Develop long-term monitoring of pollinators and pollination.
10. Fund participatory research on improving yields in organic, diversified, and ecologically intensified farming.
Pressure to raise pesticide regulatory standards internationally should be a priority. The World Health Organisation and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have worked for many years to develop a global code of conduct on pesticide management, but there are still many countries that don’t follow it. This means pesticides that are unacceptably toxic to bees, birds and even humans are in widespread use.
More Diverse Farms
Modern, large-scale intensive farming causes a number of different issues. Large crop monocultures mean pollinators might be less able to access the variety of floral foods or habitat they need. Genetically modified crops that can cope with being sprayed repeatedly with herbicides mean weeds that provide food for pollinators are all but eradicated. By making farms more diverse to create refuges for these beneficial insects, we could help to make farming more sustainable in the long run.
In the countryside, paying farmers attractive subsidies to maintain hedgerows and strips of wildlife-friendly ground around arable fields and banning the use of pollinator-harming pesticides is the only way forward.
Source: The Natural Environment Research Council
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