The Role of Pollinators
Most readers of this journal are well aware of the importance of pollinators to human life. Scientists estimate that between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants – more than 1200 crops and 180,000 species – need at least some help from these creatures. Another way to put it is that every third bite of food you take only exists because of pollinators. Their contribution to the global economy is worth some $217 billion dollars in agricultural productivity alone, not counting their services in cleaning the air, stabilizing soils, protecting us from more severe weather and supporting other wildlife.
But pollinators are endangered by assaults from toxic chemicals, disease and parasitism. Their defenses are down because so many have been taken from their natural habitat and shipped around the country to service industrial agriculture.
This issue of The Natural Farmer is an effort to help by first educating our members about their amazing work and lives, and then by suggesting ways to help – planting so that pollinators have food throughout the season, creating structures and materials which offer them attractive nesting sites, eliminating use of substances which harm these animals, and leaving them to enjoy at least some of the fruits of their labor.
We hope it inspires you to consider how pollinators function in your farm, garden or landscape and ways you might encourage them to thrive.