More pollen versus more plants. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD)
SEHIC established a workgroup to determine indicators of climate change recognizing Pollen as one Environmental Health Indicator for Climate Change (http://www.cste.org/?page=EHIndicatorsClimate)
2013. Hot topics in Environmental Sciences.. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301779238_2013_Hot_topics_in_Environmental_Sciences.
Some people consider that more pollen means more plants.
Pollen is the male sexual cell needed to fertilize the female gametophyte.
Pollens of anemophilous plants are dispersed by air currents and, in order to produce more plants need, first, to find and match with a receptive ovule of the same specie (if land use policies restrict plants cover and their biodiversity we have many loose ends just in here). But also, once the fertilization generates seeds we need space, good soil and time to grow (more loose ends). As an example, reforestation doesn´t come from liberating vast amounts of pollen into the wild.
The amount of pollen generated by plants not only affects plant reproduction but also interacts with other biological organisms such as human beings triggering health issues like allergy and asthma.
Even though all plants are needed in order to keep biodiversity as a major resource for ecosystem resilience (playing in our favour), not all plants in close contact are beneficial to our health. Same situation come with some bacteria which are needed in our inner digestive system for our benefit but quite of a problem if we put them in other parts of our organism. Why having a garden in our city center (or avenues) full of trees generating allergenic pollen (causing time consuming and expensive treatments) when we can have same benefits (air renovation and shelter from sun) from other trees?
I am glad of seeing pollen load defined as an environmental indicator. I miss to see more inside research applied in using the atmospheric load of biological particular matter not only as a hazardous matter we are exposed to but also as the symptom indicating the health state of our environment.
After all, we can look into how we are going to react towards changes in our environment, but I wonder if we are missing valuable information about how our biological environment is reacting already by simply overlooking the symptoms.
I think it would be of great help to reach the point where we could be able of identifying the health state of an ecosystem by looking into the nature, quantity an quality of its atmospheric load.