Populations of bees, butterflies and other species important for agricultural pollination are declining, posing potential risks to major world crops, a UN body on biodiversity said Friday.
“Many wild bees and butterflies have been declining in abundance, occurrence and diversity at local and regional scales in Northwest Europe and North America,” said an assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
It said declines had also been detected elsewhere in the world and that possible causes include habitat loss, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, pathogens and climate change.
The report by the IPBES, which was established under UN auspices in 2012 to assess the state of ecosystems and biodiversity, stopped short of declaring a full-scale threat to food supplies.
But it stressed the importance of protecting pollinators to ensure stable fruit and vegetable output, amid concern over the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population in coming decades.
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