Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, visit flowers to harvest their nectar and pollen. They play a crucial role in flower reproduction, transferring pollen and fertilising flowers as they go from plant to plant.

Recent data shows pollinator numbers to be in decline, causing global concern. This is especially worrying for agriculture as at least 1/3 of the total volume of agricultural produce relies on pollination. This includes such everyday foods as fruits, nuts, beans and coffee. 

Insect pollinators also play a crucial part in wild food chains. An estimated 94% of the flowering plants in tropical regions cannot be pollinated any other way. This makes insect pollinators incredibly valuable, worth an estimated global value of 265bn Euros.

The declines are due to a wide range of threats including diseases, invasive species, habitat loss and climate change. The loss of 97% of the UK's wildflowers since the 1930s has made two bees locally extinct.  Central Europe, Northern Europe, the United States and Asia are all reporting losses. To reverse these declines managers must use holistic approaches that address all of these threats. 

CEH work on pollinators


The impacts of neonicotinoids on honeybees

Bee Book Cover
This book, published in April 2016, is an informative and useful practical guide for conserving insect pollinators.
Lucy Hulmes, CEH
Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems - a long-term National Capability programme
Bee on lavender flower
Contribution to understanding bumblebee ecology
Pressures on pollinators are a global concern
IPBES releases global assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production
Foxglove - Simon Smart/CEH
A new paper in Nature reveals for the first time how the abundance of nectar-producing plants has changed since the 1930s across Britain
Detail from Land Cover plus Crops Map 2015 showing crop types
Digital mapping of arable cropping on an annual basis
Nick Isaac of CEH presenting at BES2015
British Ecological Society Annual Conference
National Plant Monitoring Scheme logo
Providing an annual indication of changes in plant abundance and diversity
Some species groups providing critical roles under particular threat