Bees, Bats, and Butterflies: The Importance of Pollinators for Global Food Security and Nutrition
The importance of pollinators - such as bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and many other species - to global food security and nutrition has received increased international attention in recent years due to reports of declines in pollinator populations (e.g. IPBES, 2016). Reported declines are concerning because over three-quarters of leading food crops and more than one-third of global production volume comes from crops that depend in some part on pollinators. The annual market value attributable to pollinators ranges from $235 to $577 million, with high-value pollinator-dependent commodity crops such as coffee, oilseed rape, and cocoa contributing significantly to developing country economies and providing employment and income for millions of people. Pollinator-dependent crops, including many fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and oils also supply major proportions of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals to the human diet. Research shows that diverse pollinator communities in agro-ecosystems provide more stable and effective crop pollination compared with a single species, with the combined actions of different pollinators improving yield, size, quality, and shelf life for many important crops.
This webinar will highlight emerging evidence on the importance of pollinators for global food security and nutrition and how land management practices and climate change may impact the provisioning of pollination services. We will explore how pollinators contribute to nutritional security in particular, identify knowledge gaps and priorities for future research, and provide recommendations for how to maintain pollination services for a food secure future.
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
USAID Office of Forestry and Biodiversity
Dr. Kate Gallagher is a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A pollination ecologist by training, Kate’s graduate and post-graduate research addressed questions about the mechanisms governing how global climate change affects plant-pollinator interactions and the extent to which changes in the levels of pollination influence the ecology and evolution of plant populations. At USAID, Kate is applying her scientific and technical skills to support the implementation of USAID’s Environmental and Natural Resource Management (ENRM) Framework, with the goal of building capacity and fostering networks of innovation and information exchanges to better integrate environment and natural resource management across development sectors.
Scientist, Agrobiodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT
Smitha joined the Alliance of Bioversity International CIAT in Bangalore, India, in 2019 as an expert in Agrobiodiversity and Ecosystem services. Smitha’s research interests broadly include ecosystem services, pollination biology, plant-animal interactions, restoration, soil-plant relationships and sustainable livelihoods.
As a PhD student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zurich) she undertook research on pollination services and coffee production in a forested landscape mosaic, based in the coffee agroforestry systems of Kodagu. She procured an additional grant to disseminate her results to the stakeholders. Following her PhD, she worked in the capacity of a project manager/ post-doctoral researcher with ETH Zurich, on Managing trade-offs in coffee agroforests.
Prior to joining Bioversity International Smitha worked for the Ashoka Trust for Ecology and Environment (ATREE), a non-governmental research institution based in Bangalore, India where her research focused on edible insect resources of the North Eastern States of India and their role in providing alternative ecosystem services. Additionally, she has an Honorary position at ATREE as a Program Advisor to their Community Environmental Resource Center (ATREE_CERC) in Alappuzha, India, which focuses on the sustainability of ecosystem services and rural livelihood in heavily utilized landscapes.
Since joining, Smitha conducted a review on current knowledge and gaps with regard to management practices that support pollination services within forests and surrounding landscapes with the Forest Genetic Resources and Restoration Team, for FAO Forestry. Currently, she is developing proposals focused on crop pollination services and restoration of agricultural landscapes. Meanwhile she is co-ordinating a study on Mapping Ecosystem Services for Human Well-being in India and will be leading the study pertaining to pollination services. She is also involved with the Asia Coffee Cacao Nexus of the Alliance.
Gund Professor and Director of the Gund Institute for Environment
University of Vermont
Taylor Ricketts is Gund Professor and Director of the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. Taylor’s research centers on the overarching question: How do we meet the needs of people and nature in an increasingly crowded, changing world? His recent work has focused on the economic and health benefits provided to people by forests, wetlands, reefs, and other natural areas.
He is co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, a partnership among universities and NGOs to map and value these natural benefits. Taylor has also served as an author and editor for two UN-sponsored efforts to assess global ecosystems and their contributions to human wellbeing. These and other collaborations are part of a continuing effort to link rigorous research with practical conservation and policy efforts worldwide.
Before arriving at UVM in 2011, Taylor led World Wildlife Fund’s Conservation Science Program for nine years. He was elected as a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America in 2020, and Thompson-Reuters has named him one of the world’s most cited and influential scientists.
President’s Excellence Chair in Biodiversity, Professor at Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability
Department of Zoology at University of British Columbia
Claire Kremen is President’s Excellence Chair In Biodiversity with a joint appointment in IRES and Zoology at University of British Columbia. She is an ecologist and applied conservation biologist working on how to reconcile agricultural land use with biodiversity conservation. Current research questions in her lab include: How do different forms of agricultural land management influence long-term persistence of wildlife populations by promoting or curtailing dispersal movements and population connectivity? Specifically, can diversified, agroecological farming systems promote species dispersal and survival? How do different types of farming systems affect ecosystem services, yields, profitability, sustainability and livelihoods? How do we design sustainable landscapes that promote biodiversity while providing for people? Before coming to UBC, she held faculty appointments first at Princeton University and then at University of California, Berkeley, where she was also founding Faculty Director for the Center for Diversified Farming Systems and the Berkeley Food Institute. Prior to those appointments, she worked for over a decade for the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Xerces Society, designing protected area networks and conducting biodiversity research in Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot. Her work both then and now strives to develop practical conservation solutions while adding fundamentally to biodiversity science. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Conservation International, Field Chief Editor for Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, and, since 2014, has been noted as a highly-cited researcher.