In summary, the study found that “Despite suggestions that animal pollinators are crucial for human nutritional health, no studies have actually tested this claim.” They, therefore, combined data on crop pollination requirements, food nutrient densities, and actual human diets to predict the effects of pollinator losses on the risk of nutrient deficiency.
The study went on to say that “In four developing countries and across five nutrients, they found that 0 to 56% of populations would become newly at risk if pollinators were removed. Increases in risk were most pronounced for vitamin A in populations with moderate levels of total nutrient intake. Overall, the effects of pollinator decline varied widely among populations and nutrients. We conclude that the importance of pollinators to human nutrition depends critically on the composition of local diets, and cannot be reliably predicted from global commodity analyses. We identify conditions under which severe health effects of pollinator loss are most likely to occur.”
The results from studies like this one highlights why projects such as the collaborative study involving Bayer and the University of Freiburg, Germany, to fill the gaps in our knowledge of which insects visit and pollinate which crops, is important. Once the gaps in pollination knowledge have been filled, it will be possible to work out how to even better safeguard specific pollinating insects.
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