Archive for May, 2011

The project Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) will document the nature and extent of these declines, examine functional traits associated with particular risk, develop a Red List of important European pollinator groups, in particular bees and lay the groundwork for future pollinator monitoring programmes.  STEP will also assess the relative importance of potential drivers of such change, including climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, agrichemicals, pathogens, alien species, light pollution, and their interactions. STEP will measure the ecological and economic impacts on declining pollinator services and floral resources including effects on wild plant populations, crop production and human nutrition. It will review existing and potential mitigation options, providing novel tests of their effectiveness across Europe. The work will build upon existing datasets and models, complemented by spatially-replicated campaigns of field research to fill gaps in current knowledge. STEP will integrate the findings into a policy-relevant framework, creating Evidence-based Decision Support tools. It will also establish communication links to a wide range of stakeholders across Europe and beyond, including policy makers, beekeepers, farmers, academics and the general public. Taken together, the research programme will improve our understanding of the nature, causes, consequences and potential mitigation of declines in pollinator services at local, continental and global scales.


STEP is funded by the European Commission as a Collaborative Project within Framework 7 under grant 244090 – STEP– CP – FP. More information on the STEP website: www.STEP-project.net

Further reading:

Developing European conservation and mitigation tools for pollination services: approaches of the STEP (Status and Trends of European Pollinators) project. Potts S.G. et. al. Journal of Apicultural Research 50: 152-164. 2011 [Link to PDF]


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Buglife President Germaine Greer, Wildlife Presenter Bill Oddie and former Prime Minister Tony Blair today become ambassadors for a new campaign at The Royal Society in London to help ‘Get Britain Buzzing’. The campaign led by Buglife hopes to highlight the crisis facing pollinating insects such as bees, hoverflies and moths.

The launch event is taking place this afternoon with a recorded message from Tony Blair followed by a series of talks on pollinators and a performance from Insect Circus a spectacular combination of physical theatre, circus skills and extraordinary insect costumes.

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Bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies and other pollinating insects are in decline worldwide. So what better way to help stem their decline than by installing a bumblebee nest box in your garden? The only trouble is they don’t work.

That’s the conclusion of a study to find out if bumblebee nest boxes do the job they’re supposed to.

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Planet Earth Online

Research Paper: Gillian C. Lye, Kirsty J. Park, John M. Holland and Dave Goulson, Assessing the efficacy of artificial domiciles for bumblebees, Journal for Nature Conservation, Available online 21 April 2011, doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2010.11.001

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