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GlobalWG 1.6 – Pollinators

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Chair: Laurence Packer
York University,
Toronto, Canada

Vice-chair: Fernando Silveira
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais,
Brazil

Plant pollination by animal vectors is essential to agriculture. Its global value exceeds $400 billion a year and at least 1 percent of this total is contributed by unmanaged, native pollinators. These numbers don’t account for the incalculable service that pollinators provide throughout terrestrial food chains by pollinating wild plants. The importance of pollination and concerns about pollinator decline have led to numerous activities, including the São Paulo Declaration on Pollinators, the International Pollination Initiative and the recent NAS/NRC study on the status of pollination in North America. Large-scale funding initiatives include the ALARM project in Europe and the NCEAS working group on pollinator recovery in North America.

All of these initiatives confront a shared problem. The difficulty of identifying pollinators makes it almost impossible to survey long-term trends in their populations. iBOL is resolving this problem by assembling comprehensive barcode libraries for all bees (20,000) and for important pollinators in two other insect groups - the Diptera (flies, 20,000 pollinator species) and Coleoptera (beetles, 15,000 pollinator species), for a total of 55,000 species.

In combination with campaigns on Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and birds, this work will provide the database needed to assess the status of pollinator communities worldwide.

Goal
50,000 species, including 20,000 bees

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