Pollination crisis Down-Under: has Australasia dodged the bullet?

Graham H. Pyke, Kit S. Prendergast, Zong-Xin Ren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Since mid-1990s, concerns have increased about a human-induced “pollination crisis.” Threats have been identified to animals that act as plant pollinators, plants pollinated by these animals, and consequently human well-being. Threatening processes include loss of natural habitat, climate change, pesticide use, pathogen spread, and introduced species. However, concern has mostly been during last 10–15 years and from Europe and North America, with Australasia, known as Down-Under, receiving little attention. So perhaps Australasia has “dodged the bullet”? We systematically reviewed the published literature relating to the “pollination crisis” via Web of Science, focusing on issues amenable to this approach. Across these issues, we found a steep increase in publications over the last few decades and a major geographic bias towards Europe and North America, with relatively little attention in Australasia. While publications from Australasia are underrepresented, factors responsible elsewhere for causing the “pollination crisis” commonly occur in Australasia, so this lack of coverage probably reflects a lack of awareness rather than the absence of a problem. In other words, Australasia has not “dodged the bullet” and should take immediate action to address and mitigate its own “pollination crisis.” Sensible steps would include increased taxonomic work on suspected plant pollinators, protection for pollinator populations threatened with extinction, establishing long-term monitoring of plant–pollinator relationships, incorporating pollination into sustainable agriculture, restricting the use of various pesticides, adopting an Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management approach, and developing partnerships with First Nations peoples for research, conservation and management of plants and their pollinators. Appropriate Government policy, funding and regulation could help.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10639
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume13
Issue number11
Early online date30 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • agricultural intensification
  • crop pollination
  • food security
  • pesticide use
  • pollination services
  • pollinator decline
  • threatened species
  • urbanization

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