Plant Diversity ›› 2022, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (05): 429-435.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2022.01.005

• Review article •     Next Articles

Pollinator diversity benefits natural and agricultural ecosystems, environmental health, and human welfare

Daniel Mutavi Katumoa,b,c, Huan Lianga,c, Anne Christine Ocholaa,b,c, Min Lva,b,c, Qing-Feng Wanga,c, Chun-Feng Yanga,c   

  1. a. CAS Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China;
    b. College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    c. Center of Conservation Biology, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2021-08-19 Revised:2022-01-22 Online:2022-09-25 Published:2022-10-14
  • Supported by:
    We are grateful to Vincent Wanga and the two anonymous reviewers whose comments have improved this work.This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.31970253,31770255 and 32100188) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No.XDB31010000).

Abstract: Biodiversity loss during the Anthropocene is a serious ecological challenge. Pollinators are important vectors that provide multiple essential ecosystem services but are declining rapidly in this changing world. However, several studies have argued that a high abundance of managed bee pollinators, such as honeybees (Apis mellifera), may be sufficient to provide pollination services for crop productivity, and sociological studies indicate that the majority of farmers worldwide do not recognize the contribution of wild pollinator diversity to agricultural yield. Here, we review the importance of pollinator diversity in natural and agricultural ecosystems that may be thwarted by the increase in abundance of managed pollinators such as honeybees. We also emphasize the additional roles diverse pollinator communities play in environmental safety, culture, and aesthetics. Research indicates that in natural ecosystems, pollinator diversity enhances pollination during environmental and climatic perturbations, thus alleviating pollen limitation. In agricultural ecosystems, pollinator diversity increases the quality and quantity of crop yield. Furthermore, studies indicate that many pollinator groups are useful in monitoring environmental pollution, aid in pest and disease control, and provide cultural and aesthetic value. During the uncertainties that may accompany rapid environmental changes in the Anthropocene, the conservation of pollinator diversity must expand beyond bee conservation. Similarly, the value of pollinator diversity maintenance extends beyond the provision of pollination services. Accordingly, conservation of pollinator diversity requires an interdisciplinary approach with contributions from environmentalists, taxonomists, and social scientists, including artists, who can shape opinions and behavior.

Key words: Bee, Complementarity, Ecological indicator, Plant community, Pollen limitation