Monday, January 28, 2013

Beeware of food supply drop: How bee population decline impacts agricultural yield

Climate change has taken its toll for more than a century now. The past decades may have seen its effects less violently, but the recent natural tragedies suggest that its impact is escalating big time. In fact, it is harming even the tiniest members of the biosphere, fuelling a chain reaction that affects many other forms of human activities particularly agriculture.

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Bees, via pollination, contribute to a sizable crop yield in America. However, their present population has rapidly dwindled as compared to their number more than 50 years ago. The culprit is believed to be climate change and its associated factors, such as diseases spread by parasites and the spraying of crops with pesticides. This ecological catastrophe is plaguing the agriculture sector on a large scale.

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Unless immediate actions are taken, food supply in the US can be put in peril. The farmers’ inability to meet production quota can become a permanent dilemma and consequently, shelves in food stalls and grocery stores might become nearly empty. For example, in February 2004, there were inadequate honeybees for all the almond blossoms in California, resulting in farmers failing to meet expected yields.

“There are shortages that pop up from time to time,” says Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist at Princeton University. “Whether there are more [shortages] than there were 20 years ago, one would guess yes, as there are fewer bees to go around, but it's not well documented.”

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While honeybees are not yet totally extinct, it is better that everyone helps in fighting the many ill industrial activities of man that possibly cause the insects’ population decline. People should also help expand green horizons through reforestation and increase the production and use of renewable energy. Small contributions can make a huge difference.

Janique Goff is an active supporter of programs and causes that gear toward eco-preservation and sustainable development. This blog provides more information about her advocacy for nature.