When pollinator populations are in peril (Harvard Gazette)
- Impact Area
Based on crop yields in 2020, the world produces 3 percent to 5 percent less fruit, vegetables, and nuts than it could with robust wild pollinator populations writes Harvard Gazette. While that number may seem small, it translates into an estimated 427,000 lives lost each year from insufficient healthy food consumption and associated diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers, according to research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The analysis also showed that lower-income countries lost significant agricultural income due to insufficient pollination and lower yields, potentially 10 percent to 30 percent of total agricultural value.
“The results might seem surprising, but they reflect the complex dynamics of factors behind food systems and human populations around the world. Only with this type of interdisciplinary modeling can we get a better fix on the magnitude and impact of the problem,” says co-author Timothy Sulser, senior scientist at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Lead author, Matthew Smith concludes, “This study shows that doing too little to help pollinators does not just harm nature, but human health as well.”