The Forgotten Pollinators / Edition 1

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<p>Consider this: Without interaction between animals and flowering plants, the seeds and fruits that make up nearly eighty percent of the human diet would not exist.<p>In The Forgotten Pollinators, Stephen L. Buchmann, one of the world's leading authorities on bees and pollination, and Gary Paul Nabhan, award-winning writer and renowned crop ecologist, explore the vital but little-appreciated relationship between plants and the animals they depend on for reproduction-bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats, and countless other animals, some widely recognized and other almost unknown.<p>Scenes from around the globe-examining island flora and fauna on the Galapagos, counting bees in the Panamanian rain forest, witnessing an ancient honey-hunting ritual in Malaysia-bring to life the hidden relationships between plants and animals, and demonstrate the ways in which human society affects and is affected by those relationships. Buchmann and Nabhan combine vignettes from the field with expository discussions of ecology, botany, and crop science to present a lively and fascinating account of the ecological and cultural context of plant-pollinator relationships.<p>More than any other natural process, plant-pollinator relationships offer vivid examples of the connections between endangered species and threatened habitats. The authors explain how human-induced changes in pollinator populations-caused by overuse of chemical pesticides, unbridled development, and conversion of natural areas into monocultural cropland-can have a ripple effect on disparate species, ultimately leading to a "cascade of linked extinctions."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Popular environmental literature has generally overlooked the role of pollinatorsanimals such as bees, beetles, butterflies, moths and bats. In fact, our information on pollinator-plant interaction may be the weakest link in understanding how ecosystems function, say the authors. This book is the centerpiece of a public-awareness campaign based at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Buchmann, a leading authority on pollination, and Nabhan (The Desert Smells Like Rain) explore this vital link between plants and their pollinators. It is a disturbing story of disappearing insects and diminishing plant reproduction, owing to overuse of pesticide and fragmented habitat. The authors combine anecdotes from the field with discussions of ecology, entomology, botany, crop science and the economics of pollination. Stories range from the Virgin River in Utah to the Galapagos and a honey-gathering ritual in Malaysia. Their studies show that wildland protection is fundamental to sustaining agricultural productivity. This important addition to the environmental bookshelf is enlivened by Mirocha's delightful drawings. (July)
Library Journal
Entomologist Buchmann and crop ecologist Nabhan (Enduring Seeds, LJ 3/1/89) investigate the relationships between plants and their pollinators in these stories of field research. Since most of us fail to notice the importance of pollinators, the authors remind us that one-third of the food we eat comes from animal-pollinated plants. The authors describe the ecological and economic effects of habitat destruction and present some ideas for improving the situation. While bees and beekeeping are discussed at some length, this book points out that birds, mammals, and lizards as well as insects are all documented pollinators. Written in a lively, conversational style, this book is intended for a wide audience and is recommended for both public and academic libraries. Readers interested in the "how" of pollination should also examine the close-up color photography of John Brackenbury's recent Insects and Flowers (LJ 11/1/95).William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
School Library Journal
YAOver 30 years ago Rachel Carson predicted a silent spring, when "no bees droned among the blossoms" and fruitless falls, autumns in which "there was no pollination and there would be no fruit." She gave two reasons: the poisoning of pollinating insects by herbicides and pesticides, and the destruction of habitat. This book explores the vital relationship between plants and their pollinators and how depletion of these pollinators threatens the plants that the planet depends upon for sustenance and diversity. The authors have traveled extensively throughout the world studying insects, birds, and animals in their role as pollinators. They present an entertaining account of the information gathered in their travels, studies pertaining to the present worldwide status of the pollinators and the plants they pollinate, their predictions for the future, and their recommendations to avert the loss of pollinators and their habitats. The chapters on the monarch butterfly and the honeybee are most outstanding. The book can be read for general knowledge, as well for science and ecology research.Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
By invoking Rachel Carson in the volume's first chapter, entitled, "Silent Springs and Fruitless Falls," Buchmann and Nabhan let readers know right away that they are pleading another endangered species case. The wonder of their writing is that they make bees, beetles, butterflies, moths, bats and other pollinators come vividly alive even as they emphasize that the destruction of their habitat will destroy them too. Readers are treated to some rare anecdotal descriptions from around the globe and careful scientific research into the delicate balance between fauna, flora, and the birds and bees. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Kirkus Reviews
Pollinators are the Rodney Dangerfields of the animal world: They just don't get no respect. So claim entomologist Buchmann (Hayden Bee Research Center) and Nabhan (Director of science/Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum) in this at once delightful and disturbing tour d'horizon of those for whom the flowers bloom.

"One in every three mouthfuls of food we eat, and of beverages we drink" is served up to us by pollinators, notes E.O. Wilson in his introduction. Butterflies are out there working for us, as are the hummingbirds and fig wasps, pygmy gliders and panurgine bees, carrying pollen to stigma, allowing seeds to set. Pollination is one of nature's vital processes, fine-tuned and mesmeric in its endless cycles, feedback loops, checks and balances. But as in so many other instances, humans are busy as the bees disrupting the process, bombing pollinators with pesticides, fragmenting their habitat, cutting off the nectar corridors, such that the "current rate of species loss constitutes a biodiversity crisis of unprecedented proportions." Buchmann provides the hard science of the pollinators' world: flower stalk architecture and nectar chemistry and flowering sequences; Nabhan contributes a felicitous dose of pleasing prose, framed as anecdotal remembrances: He's never happier than when poking about in a sere landscape, following the monarch butterflies on their winter migration, taking stock of the floral pantries. While this book can only be considered a preliminary investigation, trends indicate that pollinators may be getting ever more limited in supply as their world shrinks around them. Buchmann and Nabhan make the case for increased wildlands, intact forests, an ecological approach that prevents pollinator habitat from becoming islands, thus coffins, in a developed landscape.

A cautionary tale: Kill the pollinators and you might as well kill yourself. Another of nature's elegant loops.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559633536
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Remembering the Pollinators 3
1 Silent Springs and Fruitless Falls: The Impending Pollination Crisis 15
2 Flowers: Waiting for Their Ships to Come In 27
3 Pollinators: Waiting for the Bait to Pervade the Air 47
4 The Perils of Matchmaking: Pollination of Syndromes and Plant/Pollinator Landscapes 65
5 Bees in the Bestiary, Bats in the Belfry: A Menagerie of Pollinators 85
6 Fractured Fairy Tales: Disruptions in Fragmented Habitats 103
7 Need Nectar, Will Travel: Threats to Migratory Pollinators 119
8 Holding the Globe in Our Hands: The Relentless Pressures on Plants Pollinators 131
9 Keepers of the Flame: Honey Hunters and Beekeepers from Ancient to Present Times 145
10 New Bee on the Block: Competition Between Honeybees and Native Pollinators 169
11 The Little Lives Keeping Crops Fruitful: The Economics of Pollination 185
12 Cultivating Lasting Relationships: Pollinator Gardens and Ecological Restoration 203
Bibliography 225
Glossary 241
App. 1. A Call for a National Policy on Pollination 257
App. 2. Pollinators of the Major Crop Plants 260
App. 3. Conservation and Research Organizations 263
App. 4. Sources 268
App. 5. Pollination Classes for the World's Wild Flowering Plants 274
App. 6. Common Agricultural Pesticides 275
Index 281
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