Crops, where insect pollination impacts directly yield and quality include:
- Fodder crops
Biodiversity and agriculture are inextricably linked
A healthy and vibrant level of biodiversity is essential for many aspects of agriculture.
Most of our crops depend on various pollinators, beneficial insects to control pests and a fertile healthy soil structure containing a multitude of microorganisms.
The value of insect pollination alone is estimated at around €153 bn per year to the global ecosystem (€14.2 bn for Europe)
Agriculture provides humans with food, forage, bioenergy and medicines essential to human wellbeing. Enhancing farm and landscape biodiversity also supports the restoration of agricultural ecosystem services, to provide:
- Pest control
- Maintenance of soil structure and fertility
- Nutrient cycling and hydrology services
A well-managed agricultural landscape will play a significant role in helping the EU meet its commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity.
Numbers of pollinating insects have declined significantly in recent years. The decline has been linked to habitat loss, diseases and viruses, changes in agriculture practices and urban sprawl among other factors.
Whilst farm landscapes often lack the diversity and abundance of flowers that pollinators require, recent research has shown this trend can be reversed.
Requirements for supporting a pollinator community include a range of foraging habitats, with diverse, rich nectar and pollen nutrition, as well as adequate nesting areas. This is where Operation Pollinator provides a multifunctional landscape solution.
Now, with environmental management key to the EU support system and high on the agenda for politicians, retailers and consumers, there is the opportunity to create hugely beneficial
wildlife havens, with positive economic
returns for farmers.