Bee crisis could define 21st century

March 10, 2011 at 8:13 AM
| License Photo

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 10 (UPI) -- The way the global community chooses to manage natural assets like bees will define how the 21st century unfolds, a U.N. environment official said from Kenya.

An international panel of scientists found that more than a dozen factors, ranging from insecticides that damage a bee's memory to climate change, are causing dramatic declines in bee populations.

Achim Steiner, the executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, said 70 percent of the world's major food crops rely on bees for pollination.

"The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century," he said in a statement.

The bee report, Global Bee Colony Disorders and other Threats to Insect Pollinators, concludes that bees are early warning indicators of the health of animal and plant life.

Work to increase the number of bees will help address food security concerns, scientists said.

Scientists who wrote the report said farmers and landowners should get incentives to create pollinator-friendly habits by planting flowering plants next to their crops.

"Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature," said Steiner. "Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on nature's services in a world of close to 7 billion people."

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
North Dakota refinery completed
SCOTUS says no to Gulf of Mexico spill appeals
First U.S.-made Kalashnikov AK-47s now being sold
China starts work on Russian gas pipeline
Eni reaches LNG deal in Indonesia