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Robotic bees for crop pollination: why drones cannot replace biodiversity

Potts, S. G., Neumann, P., Vaissière, B. and Vereecken, N. J. (2018) Robotic bees for crop pollination: why drones cannot replace biodiversity. Science of the Total Environment, 642. pp. 665-667. ISSN 0048-9697

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.114

Abstract/Summary

The notion that robotic crop pollination will solve the decline in pollinators has gained wide popularity recently (Fig. 1), and in March 2018 Walmart filed a patent for autonomous robot bees. However, w present six arguments showing that this is a technically and economically inviable 'solution' at present and poses substantial ecological and moral risks: (1) despite recent advances, robotic pollination is far from being able to replace bees to pollinate crops efficiently; (2) using robots is very unlikely to be economically viable; (3) there would be unacceptably high environmental costs; (4) wider ecosystems would be damaged; (5) it would erode the values of biodiversity; and, (6) relying on robotic pollination could actually lead to major food insecurity. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.]

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:77936
Publisher:Elsevier

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