Experts outline top 10 policies needed now to protect pollinators

By Carol Clark | eScienceCommons | Nov. 29, 2016

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Bee thankful: “If you enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving Day dinner, you should give thanks to pollinators,” says Emory biologist Berry Brosi.

Scientific experts from eight different countries developed a list of the top 10 policies needed to reverse the decline of pollinators crucial to the world’s food supply.

The journal Science is publishing the recommendations for the global community in a forum article, “10 Policies for Pollinators.” The recommendations will be presented at the United Nations Convention of the Parties on Biological Diversity (CoP13), to take place in Mexico December 4 to 17.

“If you enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving Day dinner, you should give thanks to pollinators,” says Berry Brosi, a biologist and ecologist in Emory University’s Department of Environmental Sciences and a co-author of the article.

Brosi cites the first policy recommendation on the list as the most concrete and actionable: Better pesticide regulatory standards.

He adds that several of the recommendations related to sustainable agriculture more broadly include making chemical control for insects and other pests a last resort.

“Especially in light of the emergence of the Zika virus, and widespread public concern about mosquito-borne diseases, we are likely to see increased demands for pesticide use,” Brosi says.

“Mosquito control is, of course, important, but we also need to be thoughtful about what kinds of pesticides we use and how we use them. We should carefully consider the impact on pollinators and other biodiversity.”

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