10 Mar 2011:
Decline of Honeybee Populations
Now a Global Phenomenon, Report Says
The mysterious decline of honeybee populations observed in the U.S. and Europe is now a global phenomenon
, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Scientists say significant die-offs are now occurring in managed bee colonies in China and Japan, and
there are indications of similar population collapses in Egypt. While honeybee numbers have been declining for decades, the rate has accelerated in recent years, with so-called “colony collapse disorder” destroying 35 percent of the U.S. honeybee population between 2006 and 2009. Several causes have been cited, including a decline in flowering plants, increased use of insecticides
, honeybee-killing mites
, and air pollution. The report warns that a honeybee decline poses a significant threat to humankind since bees play such an important role as crop pollinators worldwide. “Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people,” the authors write. The report suggests that incentives be offered to farmers and landowners to restore habitat conducive to honeybees, including adding critical flowering plants near crop fields and more careful management of insecticide use.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.