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Do we realize the full impact of pollinator loss on other ecosystem services and the challenges for any restoration in terrestrial areas?

Stefanie Christmann
Restoration ecology 2019 v.27 no.4 pp. 720-725
Angiospermae, biodiversity, climate change, developed countries, ecosystem services, ecosystems, pollinators, poverty, risk factors
Pollinators are key agents for ecosystems and humankind concerning biodiversity, agriculture, climate change adaptation, and all other ecosystem services. Particularly in industrialized countries pollinator diversity is in decline. The bulk of research is on entomological or plant‐pollinator network related topics, but the broad range of impacts of pollinator loss on coupled human and natural systems is not yet studied. As 87% of all flowering plants depend on pollinators, they are basic for all ecosystem services to some extent. Therefore, pollinator loss might cause simultaneous degradation of ecosystem services inducing counterproductive human responses and interlinked poverty spirals. The interaction of climate change, a main risk factor for pollinators, and unadvised human responses to pollinator decline are rarely studied. Tipping points of pollinator loss are not yet identified. Can counterproductive human responses to pollinator deficiency upscale pollinator decline toward a pollinator‐loss syndrome in the course of climate change? The article argues for research on the impacts of pollinator loss on other ecosystem services, useful and counterproductive human strategies on pollinator‐loss induced degradation, and the integration of pollinator protection into all terrestrial restoration efforts.