THE FLOWERING CRISIS

A PRECIPITOUS DECLINE IN HONEYBEE COLONIES HAS FOCUSED ATTENTION ON OTHER, FORGOTTEN POLLINATORS

Without honeybees and some 200,000 other species of insects, birds and small mammals, plants would be in a terrible predicament. So would humans. These creatures are the world's pollinators, quietly nuzzling and probing flowers for nectar and in the process, transferring DNA-bearing pollen from stamen to stigma. Without their work we wouldn't have healthy fruit and vegetables or viable seeds. We depend on this free service for 90% of our staple crops.

Many of these pollinators are in trouble, however, threatened by encroachment on open spaces, the felling and fragmentation of forests, industrial pollution and overzealous pesticide use. "The pollination crisis,"...

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