Human dimensions of insect pollinator conservation

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Insect Science, Volume 38, April 2020
Hall D.M., Martins D.J.

Insect pollinators are becoming visible to societies. Many peer-reviewed papers evidence biophysical and ecological aspects of managed and non-managed insect pollinators. Evidence on stressors of declines yield peer-reviewed calls for action. Yet, insect pollinator declines are inherently a human issue, driven by a history of land-use trends, changes in technologies, and socio-cultural perceptions that unwittingly cause and perpetuate declines. Conservation requires integrating social and ecological understandings to reconfigure human behaviors across societies’ sectors. We review recent literature on the social and cultural dimensions of insect pollinators. People now like bees. We discuss the social challenges and opportunities that accompany this newfound public enthusiasm. These include the generalization of honey bees as representative of bee diversity and pollinator conservation issues, the changing perceptions of pollinators, the paucity of policy research, and how any call to ‘save the bees’ must be a call to stabilize agriculture. We call for greater coordination among biological and socio-cultural researchers to advance insect pollinator conservation practices and policies fit for the Anthropocene.