Adopt Wildlife-friendly Farming Strategies
There are also several pros and cons to this scenario as well. Often, the pros and cons are the inverse of the “Don’t Adopt Wildlife-friendly Farming Strategies” option! However, the pros far outweigh the cons if industrial farmer choose to adopt wildlife-friendly strategies.
Pro: Healthy pollinators will be boosting crop yields
Increased crop yields means increased profits, and more people being fed, so this is a very straightforward benefit. Proper management of the created habitats will ensure that pollinators have places to nest and forage around the field where farmers want them to be working.
Con: crops that are self- or wind-pollinating will not benefit
Since self- or wind-pollinated crops do not require the services of bees or other pollinators, these types of crops will not benefit from their increased activity. Farmers might consider the land given up to the creation of these habitats as a waste.
There’s an easy solution to this, however: create habitats where pollination dependent crops will be planted. Don’t create habitats where self- or wind-pollinated crops are planted.
Pro: Renting bees will not be necessary
Since farmers would already be providing pollinators, especially bees, a habitat to live and forage in, renting hives for the pollination season would not be necessary. When the crops are in bloom, the bees would switch from foraging the habitat to pollinating the field of crops. This would save industrial farmers money, since renting bees has become expensive due to their short supply and high demand.
Con: Some of the land will be lost due to habitat creation
As mentioned in the previous section, this option requires some amount of land to be dedicated to the creation of habitats, and that could potentially mean less room for crops to be grown.
If the land chosen for habitat creation is kept to the edges of the field and in areas that would be awkward to use for growing, then this loss can be kept to a minimum.
It is clear that the situation, the “Bee Crisis,” will not improve without some kind of human intervention. Currently beekeepers are only delaying the inevitable by “multiplying their hives faster than they can die off” (Dzieza 52).
Long-term solutions, such as strengthening the honeybee’s poor genetic diversity, are already being pursued. However, a more immediate solution must be sought and implemented before the “Bee Crisis” gets any worse. Industrial farmers should start implementing wildlife-friendly farming strategies by creating habitats on their land for pollinators and pest predators. At the very least, these habitats should be created around land dedicated to growing pollinator-dependent crops.
Dzieza, Josh. “Bees, Inc.” Pacific Standard 8.1 (2015): 44-53. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
Gardiner, Beth. “A Dangerous Cycle in Food Production.” The New York Times. 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 2 Sept. 2016.
Pywell, Richard F. et al. “Wildlife-Friendly Farming Increases Crop Yield: Evidence for Ecological Intensification.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282.1816 (2015): 20151740. PMC. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.