At least 40% of the agricultural products imported here depend on pollination in the south. Hence, it is vulnerable to health problems of pollinators in these countries. “The difference is big between the countries of the North and the South: our crops (wheat, soybeans, and corn) require less pollinators while we import large quantities of avocados and coffee that would not grow without them,” explains Mark Lucott, holder of the UQAM Research Chair on the transition to sustainable field crops. Modern a study.
Researchers A. List The movement of agricultural products using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which correlated with the degree of pollination. This allowed them to update hypothetical pollination flows, between 2001 and 2015, around an inventory of 100 major crops – of which 55 are pollination dependent (avocados, sunflower oil, etc.) and 45 are not (wheat and corn). Rice, etc.).
The flows indicate that countries exporting high-value “pollinators” products are primarily from the south. “We see that Brazil, Peru and Mexico feed the planet with their agricultural products,” notes the researcher.
Hence, the fruits and vegetables we consume are mainly the result of the hustle and bustle of the countries of the South. Thus developing countries are more dependent on the health of their pollinators. The potential decline of these pollinators could burden these countries.
This is because export agriculture often leads to deforestation and fragmentation of landscape, in addition to the use of pesticides – all of which are harmful to pollinating insects.
“In Brazil or Colombia, they destroy the natural areas where insects live, such as the Amazon rainforest, to make it the” breadbasket of the planet “and produce” luxury “exported food – like coffee or avocados,” the researcher punishes.
While it will be important to preserve an area where pollinators can nest, many farmers prefer instead to plant the maximum amount of their land, even if that means pushing the pollinators back.
A harmful insect movement can be seen here as well, while approximately 75% of the cultivated species worldwide rely on pollination, which is an essential natural service that insects primarily do.
Pollinator services across borders
“This is the first study I know of that looks at the circulation of pollination on an international scale through the technique of” virtual production, “comments Assistant Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources of McGill University, Elena M. Bennett.
The researchers’ method compares what has been achieved in other studies on water circulation: working on the concept of virtual water (” Virtual water Show how water-poor countries provide food and other products with high water consumption, to feed regions of the world that are least vulnerable to water stress.
The researcher, mainly working to improve our understanding of the ecosystem services provided by agricultural landscapes, notes that pollination differs from water flows at one point: it doesn’t run out, but there are still the same potential impacts, those who pay the cost of production are those in the south. . What I find particularly interesting is that this study thus paints a picture of the complexity of the interactions between agriculture, land use change, pollination, and international trade. “
Elena Bennett is particularly interested in the role of commerce and other forms of product and process movement in sustainability and resilience. It says trade allows us to obtain products where it has the least impact on the environment or where it is cheaper to produce. But it will often be preferred, explains the researcher and network administrator ResNetCrops are water-intensive in wet rather than dry locations. Pollination crops are favored in areas where a pollinator is nearby, which is to shift the responsibility for ensuring the health of the pollinators to farmers in the south.
“This trade sometimes means that the region pays all the environmental costs of production when the demand for this agricultural product is intense, through a greater transformation of the natural ecosystems into an agricultural area.” Which could have a devastating effect on southern pollinators.
Photo: Nicolas Guérin / Wikipedia Commons