International Day for Biological Diversity
May 19, 2016
The United Nations designated May 22nd as the International Day for Biological Diversity in order to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Biodiversity is most simply defined as the variety of life on earth. Its preservation is an integral component in sustaining our ecosystems, which link the interactions of species not only with each other and their physical environments but also the well being of people.
This years theme, “Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods,” aims to demonstrate how halting biodiversity loss is an investment in the well-being of humanity. Another investment in the well being of humanity is an investment in bees. Bees are incredibly crucial in sustaining people and their livelihoods, as the bee is a key maintainer of our ecosystem.
Recent studies have shown significant declines in bee colonies in Europe and North America. In the U.S. for instance, bee colonies have decreased by 59% since 1947, and by 25% in Europe since 1985. Considering the fact that bee pollination is responsible for almost 10% of global agricultural production, determining the causes of why bees are disappearing is more crucial than ever.
Dr. Emerson Chambo, editor of our new book Beekeeping and Bee Conservation - Advances in Research, which explores topics ranging from genetics to pollination, provided us with some commentary on the issue:
|“Along the years, a global crisis with the loss of ecological diversity has intensified. A change both of mentality and attitude is necessary in order to reverse our planet's current sad scenario of environmental unsustainability. The harmonious state of inter-relationships among numerous species in nature seemingly excludes human beings. Or better, could it be that humans exclude themselves? In The Turning Point, originally published in 1982, Fritjof Capra remarks that we should not treat the world as if it were an unbreakable machine whose only purpose is to serve humans. Unfortunately, this idea is still not accepted in several countries. Until recently, the vital importance of bees to life on our planet was not widely known. Nowadays it is known that ecosystem services such as pollination by bees are important for agricultural production. Presently, researchers agree that the extinction of these insects could lead to a drastic decline in food production, affecting the world's population. A scenario without bees ―although unknown― is postulated to include catastrophes such as the collapse of the food chain due to insufficient pollination.”
Emerson Dechechi Chambo, PhD, Research Group INSECTA, Federal University of Bahia Recôncavo, Brazil.
The extinction of bees is not only a threat to the biodiversity of species on Earth, but a direct threat to humanity, as without biodiversity there can be no life on earth.