EU is short 13 million honeybee colonies for crop pollination
"At the moment there is disconnection between agricultural and environment policies. Farmers are being encouraged to grow crops which are dependent on insect pollinators, yet they do not get enough credit for helping the insects they are increasingly reliant upon.
"We need a proper strategy across Europe to conserve wild bees and pollinators through habitat protection, agricultural policy and farming methods – or we risk big financial losses to the farming sector and reduced food security."
The team also highlighted the economic impacts of pollination services to the British apple industry in a third study. Insect pollinators add £37M a year to the value of just two varieties of British apples, Gala and Cox, by increasing fruit yield and quality, found University of Reading researchers, led by Dr Mike Garratt. The findings are published this month in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.
Research was conducted by the University of Reading's Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, and funded by the STEP Project (Status and Trends of European Pollinators project through the The European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7) and the Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI) Crops project, funded and partnered by the BBSRC, NERC, Defra, Scottish Government, Living with Environmental Change, and Wellcome Trust.
"Agricultural Policies Exacerbate Honeybee Pollination Service Supply-Demand mismatches across Europe" is published in the journal Public Library of Science One - the world's largest open access journal - and is available for free download by anyone from 5pm (EST) 8 January 2014.