A new report suggests that removing just a single bee species from an ecosystem can decrease the ability of the remaining species to pollinate plants.
The world's bee population is declining, due to various factors including the over-use of pesticides, and the impact is serious in many countries (as the Digital Journal has recently reported). These matters are of concern because bees sustain life on the planet by pollinating crops. Some new research highlights the extent of these concerns.
According to a paper issued by the the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that removing a single bees species can lead to a 30 percent drop-off in seed production for at least one plant species. The study was carried out to challenge the theory that should a bee species decline in number then other insect species would pick up the slack and plant fertilization rates would be maintained. This has now been shown not to be the case.
To see what happens when a bee species 'disappears', environmental scientists Berry Brosi of Emory University and Heather Briggs of the University of California, Santa Cruz, used nets to capture bumblebees in 20-meter-square plots of land in the mountains of Colorado.
The bumblebees’ absence led to almost a 20 percent increase in the number of bees from other species found carrying at least two types of pollen. This conclusion has been published in the research paper, which is titled "Single pollinator species losses reduce floral fidelity and plant reproductive function".