Neglected diversity of crop pollinators: Lessons from the world’s largest tropical country

Ariadna Valentina Lopes, Rafaella Guimaraes Porto, Oswaldo Cruz-Neto, Carlos A. Peres, Blandina Felipe Viana, Tereza Cristina Giannini, Marcelo Tabarelli

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Abstract

We draw attention to potential pollinator species that have not yet been reported as crop pollinators but could likely contribute to agricultural productivity. We refer to this as the neglected diversity of crop pollinators, which we argue should not be excluded from conservation strategies and land-use planning. We used Brazil as case study for at least five main reasons: (1) Brazil is one of the world’s largest food producers and exporters; (2) Tropical agricultural production is highly dependent on pollinators; (3) Brazil is almost certainly the most biologically megadiverse country; (4) Brazil has high diversity of pollinators; (5) Brazil has played a leading international role in environmental sustainability. We estimated that the neglected diversity of bees as potential crop pollinators in Brazil is 88.4%. For vertebrates, the neglected diversity is 95.2%. This means that many yet to be observed plant–pollinator interactions are entirely off the radar in terms of the conservation agenda for agricultural stability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Early online date21 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sep 2021

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