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Quote love Replybullet Topic: Smog Disrupts Our Food Supply
    Posted: 11 September 2008 at 1:09am

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2516566
EXCERPT
Researchers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville report that three common constituents of smog destroy floral scents released by flowers to attract bees and other pollinators. In fact, flower scents traveled four times farther in the 1840s, when European scientists first began documenting ozone pollution, than they do under today’s air conditions, according to modeled simulations run by the researchers. Because pollinating insects rely partly on scents to find flowers, the loss of fragrant plumes could make it harder for insects to locate pollen sources, jeopardizing pollinators and crops alike.

The vitality of plants depends on pollination, according to principal investigator Jose Fuentes, a meteorologist. Additionally, if pollinators are forced to spend more time foraging for food yet collect less pollen to feed their young, insect colonies may suffer nutritionally. Both problems could impact our food supply. “We need to preserve pollinators because they provide useful services,” Fuentes says.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/31977/title/Fast-fading_fragrance
EXCERPT
Scientists recently reported that air pollution quickly destroys some of the sweet-smelling perfumes flowers produce. It's a problem that could have long-lasting effects on plant reproduction and diversity, and might help explain why populations of bees and other pollinators are declining.

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Quote love Replybullet Posted: 23 November 2008 at 2:15pm

Use flower power to save Europe's bees: EU lawmaker

http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4AI3CP20081119

Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:43am EST

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Honey bees, whose numbers are falling, must be given flowery "recovery zones" in Europe's farmlands to aid their survival, a leading EU lawmaker said Wednesday.

Bees pollinate numerous crops and scientists have expressed alarm over their mysterious and rapid decline. Experts have warned that a drop in the bee population could harm agriculture.

"If we continue to neglect the global bee population, then this will have a dramatic effect on our already strained world food supplies," said Neil Parish, who chairs the European Parliament's agriculture committee.

Parish, a British conservative, said vast swathes of single crops such as wheat often made it difficult for bees to find enough nectar.

But he said farmers could help bees by planting patches of bee-friendly flowers -- including daisies, borage and lavender.

"We're talking about less than one percent of the land for bee-friendly crops -- in corners where farmers can't get to with their machinery, round trees and under hedges."

Genetically modified crops, climate change, pesticides and modern farming techniques have all been blamed for making bees vulnerable to parasites, viruses and other diseases.

More research is needed to pin down the exact cause of the declining number of bees, the European Parliament is expected to recommend in its vote Wednesday evening.

"The experts themselves are mystified," said Parish. "A failure to act now could have catastrophic consequences."

The EU parliament's vote will carry no legal weight but is intended to nudge the European Commission and EU member states to take the matter seriously.

(Reporting by Pete Harrison; Editing by Catherine Bosley and Paul Casciato)

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