Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wild bees: Champions for food security and protecting our biodiversity

Date:
September 6, 2012
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Pollinators provide many benefits, including pollinating food crops and wild flowers in the countryside which in turn provide food for a wide range of animals. The threats to them are numerous and have already caused severe declines. The status of European pollinators, the causes of declines, and their value to society were presented by scientists at a special symposium.

Pollinating insects contribute to agricultural production in 150 (84%) European crops. These crops depend partly or entirely upon insects for their pollination and yield. The value of insect pollinators is estimated to be €22 billion a year in Europe. Declines in managed pollinators, such as honeybees, and wild pollinator such bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies, are therefore of growing concern as we need to protect food production and the maintain wildflower diversity.

Scientists involved in STEP, a large-scale project funded by the 7th Framework Program (FP7) of the European Union, have therefore taken an inclusive approach looking at the status and trends of all Europe's pollinators.

New findings have been presented at a dedicated STEP symposium at the 5th EurBee meeting held in Halle, Germany on 3-6 September 2012. Prof Simon Potts from the University of Reading, UK and coordinator of STEP opened the discussion: "To help Europe secure sustainable food production and conserve its biodiversity we need to provide policy makers with clear evidence of who pollinates our crops and flowers and what are the best options to safeguard pollination services in a changing world"

More than 32 million European records of pollinators and plants have been analysed. "We have shown that not only has bee diversity been declining but communities are becoming more uniform in their composition," commented the lead scientist Dr Koos Beismeijer from Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis, The Netherlands

One key threat to bees is agrochemicals; "we are now finding strong negative effects of pesticides, not only in honeybees and bumblebees, but also solitary bees- as Europe has more than 2,500 solitary bee species we expect the implications of our research to be very wide ranging" said Dr Christoph Sandrock of Swiss Bee Research Centre.

Many European countries have an array of agri-environment options aiming to support biodiversity, including bees, but it is unclear how effective these really are. "Our analysis is the first to systematically test whether agri-environment options are actually benefiting bees" said Dr David Kleijn from Alterra, Netherlands.

Several European countries have programmes aiming to improve honeybee health, but there is very little support for wild pollinators despite their critical roles in ecosystems. "One of the big achievements of the STEP project will be the first ever European Red List for bees which will provide an essential tool for politicians and land managers to direct conservation efforts targeted at wild bees" said Mr Stuart Roberts from University of Reading, UK.

"There is increasing evidence that honeybee numbers are insufficient in many parts of Europe to provide adequate pollination services, and so wild pollinators are needed to cover the shortfall" stated Dr Tom Breeze from University of Reading, UK.

The STEP project will continue to use high quality research to deliver the evidence politicians need to develop better policies to protect all of Europe's pollinators. The project also uses its findings to develop specialist factsheets targeted at groups such as farmers and translated in 15 languages: see http://step-project.net/page.php?P=4&SP=14

Simultaneously, STEP is undertaking a broad-scale survey of the public opinion through online questionnaires available in seven European languages. The survey aims to reveal if, and to what extent, people are aware of the role of pollinators in agricultural ecosystems and the consequences for the environment from the decline of bees and other insect pollinators. Please spend 5 minutes of your time and fill it in at: http://www.step-project.net/page.php?P=26


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Wild bees: Champions for food security and protecting our biodiversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906074251.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2012, September 6). Wild bees: Champions for food security and protecting our biodiversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906074251.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Wild bees: Champions for food security and protecting our biodiversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906074251.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins