A horizon scan of future threats and opportunities for pollinators and pollination

Mark J. F. Brown, Lynn V. Dicks, Robert J. Paxton, Katherine Baldock, Andrew B. Barron, Marie-Pierre Chauzat, Breno M Freitas, Dave Goulson, Sarina Jepsen, Clare Kremen, Jilian Li, Peter Neumann, David E Pattemore, Simon G Potts, Oliver Schweiger, Colleen L Seymour, Jane C. Stout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

49 Citations (Scopus)
334 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background. Pollinators, which provide the agriculturally and ecologically essential service of pollination, are under threat at a global scale. Habitat loss and homogenisation, pesticides, parasites and pathogens, invasive species, and climate change have been identified as past and current threats to pollinators. Actions to mitigate these threats, e.g., agri-environment schemes and pesticide-use moratoriums, exist, but have largely been applied post-hoc. However, future sustainability of pollinators and the service they provide requires anticipation of potential threats and opportunities before they occur, enabling timely implementation of policy and practice to prevent, rather than mitigate, further pollinator declines.

Methods.Using a horizon scanning approach we identified issues that are likely to impact pollinators, either positively or negatively, over the coming three decades.

Results.Our analysis highlights six high priority, and nine secondary issues. High priorities are: (1) corporate control of global agriculture, (2) novel systemic pesticides, (3) novel RNA viruses, (4) the development of new managed pollinators, (5) more frequent heatwaves and drought under climate change, and (6) the potential positive impact of reduced chemical use on pollinators in non-agricultural settings.

Discussion. While current pollinator management approaches are largely driven by mitigating past impacts, we present opportunities for pre-emptive practice, legislation, and policy to sustainably manage pollinators for future generations.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2249
Number of pages20
JournalPeerJ
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2016

Keywords

  • horizon scanning
  • pollinator
  • pollination
  • ecosystem services
  • conservation

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