Do you like coffee? How about sweet summer blueberries?
Chocolate. How much do you like chocolate? Hmmm…what about modern medicine?
If you love the above, you should be a HUGE cheerleader for pollinators, because without pollinators, we wouldn’t have the lovely plants that feed us, support our ecosystems, keep the Earth healthy, and heal us. Without pollinators, modern agriculture’s success would not be possible.
What is pollination: “When a pollen grain moves from the anther (male part) of a flower to the stigma (female part), pollination happens. This is the first step in a process that produces seeds, fruits, and the next generation of plants. This can happen through self-pollination, wind and water pollination, or through the work of vectors that move pollen within the flower and from bloom to bloom.”
1. Genetic Diversity
Genetic diversity throughout ecosystems is important for keeping the environment alive and well. As the climate changes and ecosystems alter, genetic variation increases a population’s resiliency. The more genetic variations of plants, the higher probability of survival.
Interesting fact, most plants can’t or wouldn’t exist without pollination. Many scientists evaluate the health of an ecosystem by determining the health of the pollinators.
Pollinators attribute to genetic diversity because they help keep 75% of the world’s plants AND 75% of the food crops humans consume producing and multiplying. Therefore, if pollinators cease to exist there will be two major issues:
- Food crops won’t be able to produce anything edible
- Plants, in general, that rely on pollinators will cease to multiply and eventually die out creating a large chasm in the Earth’s ecosystem
2. Clean air
Wait, pollinators clean the air?
Well, not exactly, BUT they are an important step in ensuring the plants that do filter CO2 produced by humans, animals, and other plants live.
Many flowers filter CO2, especially the commonly known gerbera daisy, which produces high levels of oxygen. The gerbera daisy requires pollinators so it can flower and produce seeds.
Pollinators are an essential part in the intricate system that is the Earth.
3. Water and Soil
The more plants that grow, the better the soil and water supply.
Erosion is a big problem for a multitude of reasons but the biggest two are loss of nutrients in soil and the pollution and sedimentation of waterways. With more plants comes more roots and a lower possibility of erosion. Moreover, the water cycle depends on plants to retain and return moisture to the soil.
For instance, a well-known flower called the “iris pseudacorus L.” or just iris, is a great flower for the water cycle. It grows in moist areas, near different waterway edges and produces strong rhizomes which discourage erosion. The iris also depends on pollinators to continue to grow and bloom.
Above is a photo of iris pseudacorus L.
4. Higher quality and quantity crops
In a study from October, 2019, published in Scientific Reports, scientists determined that pollinators increase the quality and quantity of crops in less time.
“Reproductive output and pollinator dependence were defined by strong trait trade-offs, which ranged from more pollinator-dependent plants favouring early reproductive effort, to less pollinator-dependent plants favouring a prolonged phenology with smaller plant size and lower seed quality.”https://rdcu.be/cjSLJ
The healthier the pollinators’ populations, the healthier our food and the more food we have available. As humans, we are technically a part of the ecosystem. Scientists use the health of the pollinators’ populations to determine the overall health of the ecosystem….
Find the article HERE.
Our pollinators are at risk. Honey bees, monarchs, bats, hummingbirds and more are struggling. If we want any hope of saving our futures, we must help the pollinators!
If you enjoy your morning cup of coffee, your evening blueberry wine, or your chocolate ice cream…if you value the future generations, you should support pollinators.
Check back soon for some tips on how to support your pollinators. If you have some advice of your own feel free to drop it in the comments below!
Enjoy this spring week,