GARIBALDI Lucas Alejandro
Exploring connections between pollinator health and human health
GARIBALDI, LUCAS A.; CARELLA, DULCE S. GOMEZ; JODAR, DIEGO N. NABAES; SMITH, MATTHEW R.; TIMBERLAKE, THOMAS P.; MYERS, SAMUEL S.
PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Año: 2022 vol. 377
Despite recent advances in understanding the role of biodiversity in ecosystem-service provision, the links between the health of ecosystem-service providers and human health remain more uncertain. During the past decade, an increasing number of studies have argued for the positive impacts of healthy pollinator communities (defined as functionally and genetically diverse species assemblages that are sustained over time) on human health. Here, we begin with a systematic review of these impacts, finding only two studies that concomitantly quantified aspects of pollinator health and human health. Next, we identify relevant research relating to four pathways linking pollinator health and human health: Nutrition, medicine provisioning, mental health and environmental quality. These benefits are obtained through improved pollination of nutritious crops and an estimated approximately 28 000 animal-pollinated medicinal plants; the provisioning of pollinator-derived products such as honey; the maintenance of green spaces and biocultural landscapes that improve mental health; and cleaner air, water and food resulting from pollinator-centred initiatives to reduce agrochemical use. We suggest that pollinator diversity could be a proxy for the benefits that landscapes provide to human health. This article is part of the theme issue ´Natural processes influencing pollinator health: From chemistry to landscapes´.