Briefly pollination can be defined as the transfer of pollen from anther of a male plant to the stigma, ovule or flower of a female plant of the same species. This pollen then fertilizes the plant. Only fertilized plants can make fruit and/or seeds, and without them, the plants cannot reproduce.
Flowering plants are either monoecious or dioecious. Monoecious plants are plants which either carry both male and female flowers on a single plant or have flowers that carry both male and female reproductive parts (bisexual / hermaphrodite) while dioecious plants are plants in which the male and female flowers occur on separate specimens. Some species of monoecious plants are able to self-pollinate e.g. tomatoes and beans however in most instances pollination is due to zoophily whereby pollen is transferred by animals e.g. insects, rodents and birds.
The distribution of pollen by the wind is known as Anemophily and the flowers of plants pollinated by wind are often less showy. Hydrophily is a rather rare type of pollination during which pollen is transferred between plants by means of water. It occurs mainly in aquatic plants. Zoophily is possibly the most well known type of pollination which takes place by means of animals. Many flowering plants are pollinated by birds (ornithophily) as well as bees and butterflies (entomophily) however there are many other animal species responsible for pollination. Bats, mice, lizards, mongooses, and baboons are only a few zoophilic pollinators.
There are numerous reasons why pollination is important for all life on earth. Approx. 78% of flowering and fruit bearing plant species depend on pollination to reproduce and develop fruits and seeds. Pollination ensure a healthy ecosystem that comprises of a variety of plant species which in turn serve as food and shelter for numerous animal species.