Pollination Services


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Concept Note
2009 (pdf)


Risk Governance of Pollination Services – Project Overview

Ecosystem services, including provisioning services (such as food, air and water), regulating services (such as air quality, climate and water regulation), cultural services (including cultural identity, spiritual values and recreation and tourism) and supporting services (for example, soil formation and photosynthesis), are benefits that people obtain from nature. Ecosystem services are being put at increasing risk from pressures exerted by both population growth and increasing per capita consumption.

One important ecosystem service is pollination, which is fundamental to the reproduction of flowering plants and essential for the production of about one-third of the human diet. It is one of the 15 ecosystem services identified by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as currently being under threat. Pollination needs resources for its proper functioning.

There is mounting evidence of a global decline in pollinators that threatens the reproductive cycle of many plants and may reduce the quality and quantity of fruit and seeds. Pollinators are at risk from numerous threats and. the quality and quantity of pollination has multiple implications for food security, species and ecosystem conservation as well as nature and society’s resilience to environmental changes such as climate change.

IRGC is concerned that, in comparison with other ecosystem services such as fresh water supplies, fishery provisioning services, and climate regulation services, insufficient attention is being given to the risks associated with the loss of pollination. Consequently, IRGC believes that the threats to pollination services and related risks are not adequately taken into account, directly or indirectly, in policies and regulations that may affect pollinators and their habitats.

In July 2009 IRGC published a Concept Note to provide background on pollination services, evaluate the risks related to the loss of these services, and identify the relevant governance deficits in this field. This concept note has been researched and written by Laura Alberte, Sam Keam and the IRGC Secretariat.