The vast numbers and diversity of living things that populate our planet are in catastrophic decline – referred to by many scientists as Earth’s sixth mass extinction. But as Matthew Greenwell and Tom Oliver explain, it’s not only declining biodiversity we need to worry about but also genetic diversity within species.
A dark green fritillary butterfly
Biodiversity loss (the decline of both the number of individuals and species from our landscapes) is happening at an alarming rate and it’s happening now.
This is a view expressed by countless environmentalists, green campaigners and scientists at ever increasing volumes. At a glance though it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. England still appears to be a green and pleasant land, with vast areas still covered in fields.
But therein lies the fundamental problem. Our current views and understanding of what the countryside should be are a far cry from what they once were and what our wildlife requires to survive into the future.
Bees and other insects are crucially important, helping pollinate crops and support our wild ecosystems. The University of Reading is at the forefront of research into the decline of insect pollinators and understanding how valuable they are for crop production.
The lecture will outline current evidence on the status of pollinating insects in the UK and across the globe. The crucial role pollinators play for crop production will be explored as well as ways we can help protect these iconic species for the important role they have providing vital ecosystem services.
Dr Mike Garratt, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture Policy and Development, will present the latest research on pollinators and what we can do to help protect them.