Consider this: Without interaction between animals and flowering plants, the seeds and fruits that make up nearly 80 percent of the human diet would not exist. The Forgotten Pollinators explores 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.
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, share scenes from around the globe, bringing to life the hidden relationships between plants and animals. They combine vignettes from the field -- examining island flora and fauna on the Galapagos, counting bees in the Panamanian rain forest, witnessing an ancient honey-hunting ritual in Malaysia - with expository discussions of ecology, botany and crop science. The result is a lively and fascinating account of the ecological and cultural context of plant-pollinator relationships.
More than any other natural process, these relationships offer vivid examples of the connections between endangered species and threatened habitats. And the text demonstrates the ways human society affects and is affected by those relationships. 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.