Plight of the bumblebee

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Research in Global Change Biology has shown that cultivated land dependent on pollinators has increased by 137% over the last 50 years. Simultaneously, monoculture cropping has also increased, leaving pollinators challenged for diverse food sources at all times of the year.

Concerns over the decreasing population of many insect pollinators, particularly bees, are broadly heard. While many agricultural crops provide a food source for these insects, their seasonality means that they cannot be their sole food source. Expansion of monoculture agriculture leads to a decreasing diversity of available food sources for pollinators.

The article looks at global and regional trends, finding substantial differences in the degree of dependence on pollinators around the world. Generally, the greatest dependence on pollinators for successful cropping was in developing nations.

The article recommends the use of marginal land for pollinator-friendly plants and farmland heterogeneity, as conserving pollinator populations is essential to ongoing agricultural productivity.

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