Biodiversity: wild flowers threatened by pollinator decline


DECRYPTION – Pollinators, such as bees or hummingbirds, whose populations are decreasing, allow these plants to reproduce.

Of the approximately 350,000 species of flowering plants recorded around the world, about half depend on pollinators to reproduce, either mainly or entirely. This dependence makes them particularly vulnerable to the decline of bees, bumblebees, butterflies or hummingbirds. But how threatened are they?

In a study published on October 13 in the journal Science Advances , a team of international researchers finds that without pollinators, a third of species of wildflower plants would not produce any seeds. And half would experience an 80% or more reduction in their fertility. Self-fertilization, a process by which certain plants can also reproduce, would therefore be far from fully compensating for the decline of pollinators.

General decline

The latter is however very real, recalls Mickaël Henry, director of the bees and environment research unit at the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRAE): “In France, each year, approximately

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