Planetary Risk Index Assesses Consequences of Pollinator Decline

The University of Cambridge led an international project that created the first planetary risk index of the causes and effects of dramatic pollinator declines in six global regions. The team identified the top three global causes of pollinator loss as habitat destruction, land management, and widespread pesticide use. Climate change was the number four cause, based on limited data. According to the study, the biggest direct risk to humans across all regions is “crop pollination deficit”: falls in quantity and quality of food and biofuel crops. Experts ranked the risk of crop yield “instability” as serious or high across two-thirds of the planet— from Africa to Latin America. Reduced species diversity was also a high-ranking global risk.