By Adam Rine, Sustainable Plant Systems major
It is relatively easy to get so caught up in focusing on how a single process may impact the environment that we simply overlook how a combination of agricultural production practices can alter biological processes. One specific example is the drastic decline in honeybee populations across the nation. An article, written by John Schwartz, featured in The New York Times – Program Looks to Give Bees a Leg (or Six) Up – puts the current honeybee situation into perspective, highlighting the impacts production agriculturalists may face as a result.
Schwartz reports, “The cause of declining bee populations, both native and commercially raised bees, may be a result of a combination of factors including parasites, infections and insecticide use.”
In many cases, agriculturalists use insecticides to protect their crops from excess pest damage. These insecticide applications are not targeted to impact the bee populations but ultimately might. Schwartz includes information regarding the current actions that are being examined to compensate for negative effects of insecticide applications.
Schwartz reports that implementing ethical management practices such as including hedgerows rich in pollen to provide food sources and protective cover for bee populations may have a mutual benefit to bee populations and agriculturalists.
Many crops depend on bee pollination and bees depend on crops for pollen sources. Finding an acceptable balance between crop production and the health of honeybee populations well-being will likely result in beneficial outcomes for both.
For more information refer to New York Times article (4/2/2012), which can be found at:
This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.