Saviez-vous qu'environ 75 %
de toutes les plantes à fleurs comptent sur plus de 200 000 espèces
d'animaux, dont plusieurs sont des insectes, pour les aider à se
reproduire grâce à la pollinisation? En dehors de toutes autres
conséquences écologiques, un tiers de l'alimentation des humains dépend
de la pollinisation. L'auteure Liz Smith avertit ses lecteurs que c'est à
nos risques et périls que nous ne prêtons pas attention au bien-être de
ces créatures qui remplissent cette tâche!
Les populations de
pollinisateurs sont menacées par les pertes de leur habitat et de leur
alimentation et par les insecticides. Toutefois, il nous est possible
d'agir pour promouvoir la " santé des pollinisateurs ". Pour
que les citoyens et les citoyennes puissent encourager les pollinisateurs
à continuer à polliniser, il leur suffit de planter plusieurs variétés
de plantes indigènes qui fleurissent et s'épanouissent à différents
moments, à différentes hauteurs et sous différentes formes durant le
printemps et l'été, de diversifier nos cultures et de réduire notre
utilisation d'insecticides et de pesticides.
New Brunswick Lung Association
you know that about 75% of all flowering plants on earth rely on over
200,000 species of animals to help them reproduce through pollination?
These pollinators include about 1000 species of hummingbirds, bats,
and small mammals, while the others are insects such as beetles, bees,
ants, wasps, butterflies, and moths. Pollination is the transportation
of genetic material via pollen from the anther (male flower part) of
one flower to the stigma (female flower part) of another. Disregarding
other ecological consequences, one-third of human food is dependant on
pollination. It is to our peril that we ignore the welfare of the
creatures that carry on this task!
In Canada, our key pollinators are
bees, butterflies, and moths. Because they need pollen and nectar
throughout their lives, and have hairy bodies and pollen baskets on
their legs or abdomens, bees are the most important of our
pollinators. However, bees' and other pollinators' populations are
under threat to the point that the UN Convention on Biological
Diversity has adopted the International Pollinators Initiative,
resulting in the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign that
began in 2000.
In Canada, our key pollinators
bees, butterflies, and moths.
(Photo: Richard Duplain)
The main cause of population decline in
wild pollinators such as butterflies, moths, and bees is loss of
habitat and forage through urbanization and industrial farming. The
very weeds that we industriously zap with herbicides provide
alternative food to the wild pollinators on which the production of
crops, such as our strawberries, apples, blueberries, and squash,
depends. The solution to this problem is to provide nectar-bearing
flowers and blossoming bushes as a continuous source of nectar and
pollen throughout the growing season. If we wish to have blueberries,
our bees must have a source of food to keep them going when the
blueberries are not blooming.
In our urban home gardens we can
provide a variety of native perennials, a mini wildflower meadow area,
and indigenous fruit bushes such as hawthorn, American mountain ash,
chokecherry, elderberry, honeysuckle, and high-bush cranberry that
bloom and blossom at different times, heights, and shapes over the
spring and summer. Click here
for a database of plants native to New Brunswick, many of which are
available at your local garden centre.
Blueberries are one of the crops that
depends on pollinators.
(Photo: Mary Ann Coleman)
Farmers can promote pollinators by
diversifying their farms and providing field borders of wild flowers
and hedgerows of diverse native bushes and trees. This will encourage
pollinators and, through beneficial insects and birds, help keep
crop-eating insects at bay. Golf courses can favour wildflowers and
indigenous bushes on their secondary roughs, among other techniques.
MTBW Golf Design in Ontario refers to a whole array of ecologically
positive measures, "As a result, the golfer can look forward to
playing more challenging golf courses that rely on finesse and
accuracy, rather than on distance." This would be more like the
original game played on the Scottish heaths!
According to Environment Canada's
on-line EnviroZine, the use of insecticides is a key factor in
undermining the population health of pollinators. Not only are "…many
insecticides used on lawns and gardens more effective at killing
beneficial insects than pests," but "…even at low levels,
pesticides affect longevity, memory, navigation, and foraging
abilities of the honeybee." These are more good reasons not to
use pesticides unless absolutely necessary. By taxing pollinators'
general health via insecticides and lack of food and habitat, we also
are causing them to be more vulnerable to diseases caused by mites and
Many garden vegetables reply on
(Photo: Mary Ann Coleman)
Many of the diseases affecting
pollinators were brought in by the trade in domestic bees. For
example, mites from South America and Asia are killing 30% to 50% of
domestic beehives in Eastern Canada. It is not clear how much of the
wild population has been affected. The virus that researchers at
Columbia University have found to be most likely implicated in the
colony collapse disorder (CCD) decimating domestic beehives in the US
is the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV). This has naturally
prompted severe restrictions on the transportation of the domestic
hives on which beekeepers depend for their livelihood.
Besides diversifying our home green
spaces with a pesticide-free habitat of native flowering plants and
bushes to attract wild pollinators, we can give additional practical
help to the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign by clicking here,
and becoming a Pollinator Observer. There are educational materials to
download and a Pollinator Observer kit to use. What a great project
for a school class, summer camp, or parents and grandparents to take
on with their children or grandchildren! Through learning by direct
observation about the interdependency of the living things that share
our planet, whether in a natural meadow or a naturalized home garden,
today's children just might live a little more lightly than recent