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Trends Ecol Evol. 2005 Jul;20(7):367-73.

Buzziness as usual? Questioning the global pollination crisis.

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Imperial College London, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, UK, SL5 7PY.


Concerns have been raised that invertebrate pollinators of crops and wild plants are in decline as a result of modern agricultural practices, habitat degradation, and introduced pests and diseases. This has led to demands for a response by land managers, conservationists and political decision makers to the impending 'global pollinator crisis'. In questioning this crisis, it becomes apparent that perceptions of a pollinator crisis are driven mainly by reported declines of crop-pollinating honeybees in North America, and bumblebees and butterflies in Europe, whereas native pollinator communities elsewhere show mixed responses to environmental change. Additionally, few staple food crops depend on pollinator services, and most crops that do are grown at small scales in diversified agro-ecosystems that are likely to support healthy pollinator communities, or in highly managed systems that are largely independent of wild pollinators. Consequently, justifying conservation action on the basis of deteriorating pollinator services might be misplaced. Nevertheless, existing initiatives to monitor pollinators are well founded, given the uncertainty about the dynamics of pollinator populations.

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