General Topics

Restoring Pollinators

The agribusiness understands and has solutions to the pollination problem. It is in the restoration of natural ecosystems that there is a deficiency and a lack of acknowledgement to that deficiency (Kingsley).

44% of the world’s vascular plant species are in global biodiversity hot spots where specialist pollinator relationships are abundant. Because of the human landscape and land degradation, the success of these pollinators will rely on their ability to migrate and establish across highly fragmented habitat matrices (Kingsley).

Specific relationships that rely on terrestrial pollinators are the most at risk. Climate change is a huge player in determining the future of these mutualism relationships since it will affect the cycles, timing of the plants, and pollinators.  (Kingsley) As temperatures increase some plants begin flowering earlier. However, the pollinators’ cycles have not adapted in the same way, therefore shortening the pollination period and the ability to spread the plants’ seeds and expanding their population. (Hegland, 2009)

Restoring pollinator habitat is a part of restoring the pollination process. The pollinators need ecological linkages to migrate from area to area. This could include planting corridors with pollinator friendly plant species. These plants include framework species (species that provide a major nectar or pollen source), bridging species (plants that provide resources over resource-limited times), magnet species (plants with attractive flowers associated with species with unattractive or small flowers) (Kingsley).

Pollinator substitution has shown to be promising, at least in the case of the Hawaiian plant Freycinetia aborea, known as the ‘ie’ie vine. After many of the native Hawaiian honeycreepers or corvids, which wre the original native pollinators of the plant, went or almost went extinct, the introduced Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus) assumed the role of a major pollinator of these plants (Cox).

Key Info for restoring pollination capacity: understanding pollinator dispersability as a predictor of natural migration of pollinators into restored landscapes, restoring plant species that facilitate and assist pollinator migration across landscapes, and ensuring that foraging patterns of pollinators optimize plant reproductive output (Kingsley).

References

Kingsley, Dixon W. “Pollination & Restoration.” Science 325 (2009) : 571-572. Web.

Hegland, S. J., Nielsen, A., Lázaro, A., Bjerknes, A.-L. and Totland, Ø. (2009), How does climate warming affect plant-pollinator interactions?. Ecology Letters, 12: 184–195. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01269.x

Cox, Paul Alan. “Extinction of the Hawaiian Avifauna Resulted in a Change of Pollinators for the Ieie, Freycinetia Arborea.” Oikos, vol. 41, no. 2, 1983, pp. 195–199. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3544263

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