About 30 per cent of plant-pollinator networks were completely lost, which translates to a disappearance of either the bees, the plants or both. In another 64 per cent of the network loss, the wild bees, such as sweat or miner bees, or native plants, such as sumac and willow, are still present in the eco-system, but the bees no longer visit those plants. The association is gone.
The remaining six per cent of the plant-pollinator networks are stable or even thriving with pollinators such as small carpenter bees, which like broken stems for nest making.
The researchers say an increase in habitat restoration and native flowering plants in agricultural landscapes are critical for improving wild bee biodiversity, but also food security for humans.
Climate change and an increase in disturbed bee habitats from expanding agriculture for 30 years are likely responsible for a 94 per cent loss of plant-pollinator networks, York University researchers found.