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You may have heard the concept of pollination more than once, but have you ever wondered what the relationship is between pollination and the food we eat every day? And the relationship between pollination and the maintenance of ecosystems?

If you want to find the answers to these questions and learn more about the importance of pollination, from Ecologist Verde we invite you to continue reading this article in which we clarify its importance for the plants themselves, for the entire environment and for us, among other aspects.

What is pollination

Let's first start by explaining what is pollination. It is a biological process in which pollen is transported from the male structures of the flower to the female structures. The pollen transfer can take place:

  • In the same flower: a process known as autogamy or self-pollination.
  • Between flowers of the same plant: process called geitonogamy.
  • Between flowers of different plants: a process called allogamy or cross pollination.

Pollination types

Next, we present a classification based on the different pollinating agentsThese are both biotic and abiotic factors that facilitate pollination. Among them we find:

  • Pollination by the wind, known as anemophilia.
  • Pollination by insects, called entomophilia.
  • Pollination by birds, called ornithophilia.
  • Pollination by bats or chiropterophilia.
  • Pollination by water, named as hydrorogamy.

In this other article you can learn much more about what is pollination and its types. Also, below you can see a video on this topic.

Importance of pollination for plants

Now that we know what pollination is, let's know what its purpose is in plant biology. Through the pollination process, the plant starts with its reproductive cycle that, after a while, culminates in the development of fruits with their respective seeds, which will germinate and originate new seedlings.

Thus, pollination allows plant reproduction; however, it is not the only type of reproduction that exists, since the formation of seeds is possible without pollination having taken place. This phenomenon is known as apomixis.

We recommend you read these other Green Ecologist articles on the Reproduction of plants and Plants that reproduce sexually.

Importance of pollination for the environment

Another of the frequent doubts when it comes to this topic is why pollination is important to the environment. Faced with this questioning, we must bear in mind that organisms are not isolated entities, but are related to each other through multiple interactions that together form complex interaction networks.

In particular, pollination is a mutualistic interaction, in which both parties benefit: the plant reproduces and manages to perpetuate itself and the pollinating agent, if it is a living being, be they insects or other pollinating animals, get food. For this reason, pollination is a fundamental process that contributes to maintain biodiversity and ensures the functioning and stability of ecosystems.

We encourage you to learn more by reading these other posts about Mutualism: definition and examples and Ecosystem in balance: what it is and how it is maintained.

Importance of bee pollination

Pollination carried out by bees is undoubtedly the best known example of pollinating insects. So much so, that the process has its own name: melitophilia.

The importance of bee pollination is that, due to their behavior, they frequently visit a large number of flowers, which positions them as efficient pollinating agents, compared to others. In addition, they are considered the group best adapted to floral visits and due to the large number of species and their abundance, they are essential for pollination. Even Albert Einstein once said "If the bees disappear, man would have 4 years left on Earth"Although the phrase sounds a bit drastic, the preservation of bee species is essential for the conservation of ecosystems and our life on Earth.

To learn more about this topic, we recommend you read these other articles about the Importance of bees, How bees make honey, Plants and flowers that attract bees and Why some species of bees are in danger of extinction.

Importance of artificial pollination

After reading the previous sections you should already understand the importance of pollinators. In recent decades, pollinator populations have decreased mainly due to the misuse of pesticides and monoculture. There are also other factors that contribute to the decline of their populations, such as the loss and fragmentation of habitats and climate change.

Today, there are alternatives to lack of pollinators. One of them is the artificial pollination, produced only by the hand of man. In this type of pollination, the pollen from the male reproductive structures of the flower is collected using brushes, it is transferred to the female reproductive structures and then the flower is covered so that it continues with its reproductive cycle. It is worth clarifying that although the technique is useful, the conservation of pollinating species is essential in pursuit of the proper functioning and balance of ecosystems.

Importance of pollination for human well-being

It is curious to think that human well-being is linked to the pollination process. This statement is not only accurate, but is caused by several reasons. In the first place, our quality of life is directly related to the health of the environment we inhabit. In this sense, the pollination process is fundamental since, as we mentioned earlier, it contributes to the stability of ecosystems.

On the other hand, and no less important, agricultural production is closely linked to the pollination process, particularly the production of horticultural and forage crops, since these crops need to be pollinated. In fact, it is estimated that 35% of the world's agricultural crops require pollination to achieve profitable production and that 70% of the crops have seen an improvement in their production due to pollinating agents. This reveals the importance of pollination in agriculture, also the economic importance of pollination, as well as pollinating agents, since the diversity of foods, their prices and human nutrition depend, to a certain extent, on them.

Now that you have learned the importance of flower pollination, we encourage you to continue discovering more about the plant world by reading these other articles about What are the parts of a flower and its functions and What is nectar and its function, because thanks to this pollinators go to the flowers, since nectar is their food, and they take the pollen from flower to flower.

If you want to read more articles similar to Importance of pollination, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

  • Sandoz, M. A. M. (2016). Effects of climate change on pollination and agricultural production in Tropical America. Engineering Magazine, 26 (1), 11-20.
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