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Consider this: Without interaction between animals and flowering plants, the seeds and fruits that make up nearly eighty percent of the human diet would not exist.In "The Forgotten Pollinators," Stephen L. Buchmann, one of the world's leading authorities on bees and pollination, and Gary Paul Nabhan, award-winning writer and renowned crop ecologist, explore the vital but little-appreciated relationship between plants and the animals they depend on for reproduction -- bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats, and countless other animals, some widely recognized and other almost unknown.Scenes from around the globe -- examining island flora and fauna on the Galapagos, counting bees in the Panamanian rain forest, witnessing an ancient honey-hunting ritual in Malaysia -- bring to life the hidden relationships between plants and animals, and demonstrate the ways in which human society affects and is affected by those relationships. Buchmann and Nabhan combine vignettes from the field with expository discussions of ecology, botany, and crop science to present a lively and fascinating account of the ecological and cultural context of plant-pollinator relationships.More than any other natural process, plant-pollinator relationships offer vivid examples of the connections between endangered species and threatened habitats. The authors explain how human-induced changes in pollinator populations -- caused by overuse of chemical pesticides, unbridled development, and conversion of natural areas into monocultural cropland-can have a ripple effect on disparate species, ultimately leading to a "cascade of linked extinctions."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781559633529
ISBN-10: 1559633522
Format: Hardback
(230mm x 155mm x 44mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Island Press
Publisher: Island Press
Publish Date: 1-May-1996
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Pollinators are the Rodney Dangerfields of the animal world: They just don't get no respect. So claim entomologist Buchmann (Hayden Bee Research Center) and Nabhan (Director of science/Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum) in this at once delightful and disturbing tour d'horizon of those for whom the flowers bloom. "One in every three mouthfuls of food we eat, and of beverages we drink" is served up to us by pollinators, notes E.O. Wilson in his introduction. Butterflies are out there working for us, as are the hummingbirds and fig wasps, pygmy gliders and panurgine bees, carrying pollen to stigma, allowing seeds to set. Pollination is one of nature's vital processes, fine-tuned and mesmeric in its endless cycles, feedback loops, checks and balances. But as in so many other instances, humans are busy as the bees disrupting the process, bombing pollinators with pesticides, fragmenting their habitat, cutting off the nectar corridors, such that the "current rate of species loss constitutes a biodiversity crisis of unprecedented proportions." Buchmann provides the hard science of the pollinators' world: flower stalk architecture and nectar chemistry and flowering sequences; Nabhan contributes a felicitous dose of pleasing prose, framed as anecdotal remembrances: He's never happier than when poking about in a sere landscape, following the monarch butterflies on their winter migration, taking stock of the floral pantries. While this book can only be considered a preliminary investigation, trends indicate that pollinators may be getting ever more limited in supply as their world shrinks around them. Buchmann and Nabhan make the case for increased wildlands, intact forests, an ecological approach that prevents pollinator habitat from becoming islands, thus coffins, in a developed landscape. A cautionary tale: Kill the pollinators and you might as well kill yourself. Another of nature's elegant loops. (Kirkus Reviews)


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