The concept could not only help in providing forage, shelter and nesting places for local bees and birds, but also play a pivotal role in conserving local wildlife
Most bee species globally, including in North America are declining due to anthropogenic activities. Photo: Heidi Selzler
Pollinator insects play a huge role in achieving cross pollination in a wide diversity of crops and plants that are important to both, human ecology and economy.
Three distinct global industries namely agriculture, forestry and apiculture are directly and indirectly dependent upon pollination services provided by biological agents or vectors such as different species of insects, molluscs (such as snails and slugs), birds (like humming bird species) and mammals (such as bats).
Insects such as bees, moths and butterflies, certain species of flies, beetles, wasps and ants play a significant important role in cross pollination in various important crops and plant species.
Among insects, bees play the most important role in providing pollination services to a wide diversity of plants on which we are dependent for maintaining the stability of both our ecosystem as well as our global economy.
However, it is quite unfortunate that honey bees, particularly, the native bees, are demonstrating an alarming decline around the globe due to a number of anthropogenic factors.
According to researchers from around the planet, some of the causal factors cumulatively adding to the global bee decline include:
- Industrial agricultural practices like overuse of pesticides and fertilisers
- High level of pollution
- Rapid change in our traditional land use patterns
- Climate change
- Colony collapse disorder
- Rapid rise in bee parasitic diseases
- Lack of suitable bee habitats and nutrition due to loss of their host plant species for adequate supply of nectar and pollen throughout the season
A pollinator sanctuary
Like all other continents, North America too is being impacted by this alarming decline of bee populations causing panic in the agriculture, apiculture and forestry industries spread across the continent.
The loss of huge colonies of honey bees negatively impacting apiculture; and more importantly native and endemic bee species from the continent being almost pushed towards the verge of extinction.
Therefore, it is quite important that a comprehensive bee conservation platform be developed with new insights and technologies to help conserve farmer-friendly insect pollinators like the honey bees and native bees.
Recently, an applied research organisation named Farming Smarter from the Canadian province of Alberta has come up with a simple, innovative, low cost, long-term, sustainable and environment-friendly, field-level initiative and concept called a ‘pollinator sanctuary’.
A pollinator sanctuary can prove to be a powerful technology in the field of pollinator insect conservation, with special emphasis on honey bees and native bees. The Pollinator Sanctuary project is funded by the well-respected provincial funding programme titled ‘Canadian Agricultural Partnership’ to investigate a new sustainable and innovative technology platform for bee conservation. MORE