A major global assessment of pollinators is raising concerns about the future of the planet's food supply.
A U.N.-sponsored report drawing on about 3,000 scientific papers concludes that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (such as bees and butterflies) are facing extinction. Vertebrate pollinators (such as bats and birds) are somewhat better off by comparison — 16 percent are threatened with extinction, "with a trend towards more extinctions," the researchers say.
About 75 percent of the world's food crops, the report notes, depend at least partly on pollination.
"Pollinators are important contributors to world food production and nutritional security," assessment co-Chair Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca says in a statement. "Their health is directly linked to our own well-being."
Crops that need help from pollinators include coffee, apples, cacao, cotton, mangoes and almonds, to name just a few.