The Future of Agricultural Pollination
This chapter summarizes how agricultural production and bees are inter-dependent. Honey bees are the most commonly used agricultural pollinators in the world, but are threatened by an increasing number of hive pests. In addition, not all crops are well pollinated by honey bees (e.g., tomatoes, alfalfa seed, and crops grown in greenhouses and under row covers). Fortunately, the world holds a huge diversity of bee species, although only a few of these are managed specifically as crop pollinators. Wild bees provide pollination services that often go unnoticed, yet are critical to the success of some forms of agriculture. The impact that bees have on our food production systems should serve as a reminder to our dependence, in general, on the ecosystems around us.
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