AGP - Pollinators: Case Studies

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Chapter One: Monitoring of Status and Trends of Pollinators

Simon Potts and Stuart Roberts

ALARM Pollinator Module: Data Mining Report

The ALARM pollinator module has an overall aim to quantify the distribution shifts in key pollinator taxa across Europe. There are three complementary approaches to this: mining and analysing existing data; repeating historical observations to look for point changes; and setting up a long-term pollinator monitoring scheme. This report focuses on the progress relating to the first activity.

James Cane

Importance of squash bees (Peponapis & Xenoglossa) as pollinators of domestic Cucurbita in the Americas: SPAS (Squash Pollinators of the Americas Survey)

Squash bee template

Explanation of Spreadsheets for Squash Bee Data

A persuasive case study of wild pollinator dynamics is needed, that spans geographic regions and cannot be dismissed as due to local anomalies. Given the methodological problems of sampling whole pollinator communities, an alternative methodology has been developed and is being tested for a distinctive, but widespread pollination system in the Americas, involving squashes and squash bees.

D. W. Roubik

Orchid bees as model systems for pollinator dynamics studies

Orchid bee studies highlight the need for multi-year abundance and population studies, in order to clarify the population trends of pollinators.

Antonio Felicioli

Census of pollinators in the agricultural landscape of Italy

Wild bees in agroecosystems and semi-natural landscapes. 1997-2000 collection period in Italy

To know the wealth of pollinators in Italy, including the relative abundance of species, the Italian Ministry for Agricultural and Forestry Policies, supported a project aiming to provide, among other topics, a census of the pollinators present on the national territory.

D. W. Roubik

Differing trends in bee populations recorded in protected habitats

The natural dynamics of pollinators are illustrated by two 17-year studies, and a 25-year study in Central and South America of native bees on flowers, coming to specific attractants or at light traps, in lowland forests and a cloud forest.

A. Zayed, D. W. Roubik, L. A. Packer

Diploid male frequency is a critical indicator of decline in bee populations

Orchid bees in neotropical forests have been model organisms for population studies, because their males can be reliably monitored with replicable chemical baiting techniques. Nonetheless, like any quantitative study of Hymenoptera abundance, there is the possibility that a population study fails to document important declines in viable adult males.

Gretchen LeBuhn, Sam Droege, Marta Carboni

Monitoring methods for solitary bee species using bee bowls in North America

This paper provides a summary of the sampling issues addressed over the past few years while investigating the best ways to track changes in bee populations on this continent. In this paper, we compare the few data sets available to calculate inter-year variability of counts generated by different bee survey techniques (malaise traps, nest blocks, bee bowls (also called bowl traps), scent traps, and netting), discuss the impacts of different modifications of bee bowls (size, color, pattern, timing, and distance) on capture rates of bees, and outline a standardized protocol for sampling bees.

Stuart Roberts

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS)

The UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) is a subscription-based amateur recording society operating under the aegis of the UK Biological Records Centre (BRC). The Society is affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society.

Simon Potts

ALARM project: Assessing Large-scale risks to biodiversity with tested methods

The ALARM project (Assessing LArge-scale Environmental Risks to Biodiversity with Tested Methods; is a European Framework 6 Integrated Project which will run 2004 – 2009. The consortium comprises 54 partner institutions from 26 countries and will undertake an integrated risk pdf across Europe with particular emphasis on: pollinator loss, climate change, invasive species and environmental chemicals.

Pierre Rasmont, Alain Pauly, Michael Terzo, Sebastien Patiny, Denis Michez, Stephanie Iserbyt, Yvan Barbier, Eric Haubruge

The survey of wild bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) in Belgium and France

The Mons and Gembloux laboratories study the wild bees of Belgium and France more than 30 years, beside special contributions for other countries. Of 360 species, 91 are decreasing (25.2%), 145 are stable (40.2%), 39 are expanding (10.8%), and 85 have an indeterminable status (rare species: 23.5%). The authors compared different hypotheses that could explain this global regression.

(submitted and edited by Simon Potts) S.G. Potts, P.G. Kevan & J.W. Boone

A Toolkit of Standardised Methods to Assess Pollinator Biodiversity

The pollination module within the ALARM project ((Assessing LArge-scale Environmental Risks to Biodiversity with Tested Methods; is responsible for developing a pollinator biodiversity pdf ‘toolkit’. The overall approach is to assess existing methods to select the potentially most useful sub-set to be used in extensive field trials. Running different methods in parallel across a range of geographic locations and habitat types allows a direct comparisons to be made.

Chapter Two: Economics of Pollination Services

T.H. Ricketts

Economic value of wild pollinators to coffee crops

Tropical Forest Fragments Enhance Pollinator Activity in Nearby Coffee Crops

Economic value of tropical forest to coffee production

Detailed studies of crop pollination, conducted at scales that match the scales at which land use decisions are made, remain quite rare. Dr. Taylor Ricketts and a group of scientists from Stanford University and World Wildlife Fund have conducted one such study, focusing on the value of pollination services from forest-dwelling bees to surrounding coffee farms. They found that coffee fields near tropical forest fragments received more pollinator visits by a more diverse community of bees, higher rates of pollen deposition on flowers, and higher productivity than coffee fields more distant from forest.

Chapter Three: The Taxonomic Impediment to Pollinator Conservation

Mark A. O'Neill

DAISY: A Practical Tool for Semi-Automated Species Identification

DAISY is a generic pattern matching system [Weeks et al, 1999] which was initially developed at the Natural History Museum in London (BM(NH) under the aegis of BBSRC and UK Government Darwin Initiative funding. The primary rationale for developing this system was to overcome a taxonomic impediment, and to provide a system which would allow non specialists to identify organisms within speciose arthropod genera using a combination of both morphology and molecular data.

Chris O´Toole

A MANIFESTO FOR BEE TAXONOMY - Bee faunas and the Taxonomic Deficit: consequences and solutions

A new concept, the Low Resolution Taxonomy Initiative, is proposed as a short to medium term solution to the needs of pollination biologists and conservationists.

A. Polaszek

User-friendly tools for identification of pollinators

The development of a user-friendly identification key to the 72 genera of European bees is being undertaken as part of the EU Framework 6 funded ALARM project (Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks for biodiversity with tested Methods)

Barbara Gemmill, Charles Michener and Rachel Kagoiya

Assessment of Taxonomic Gaps in the Apoidea

Using Michener's Bees of the World as a starting point, the availability of taxonomic services and taxonomic revisions in relation to biodiversity of Apoidea is assessed.

Sam Droege, John Pickering

Development of a Key to Bee Genera of Eastern North America

In North America, as well as nearly everywhere else, there is a lack of taxonomically current, accurate, and user friendly identification keys. To fill that vacuum this initiative has begun to create guides using the free software, starting with Eastern North American bee genera.

Chapter Four: The State of Ecological Knowledge of Pollination

Diego P. Vásquez

Introduced ungulates and their effects on plant-animal interactions in the temperate forest of the southern Andes

Recent studies aimed at understanding the effect of introduced ungulates in the temperate forest of the southern Andes are discussed. Two questions are addressed: (1) can introduced species affect the network of interactions of plants and pollinators in the resident community? and (2) can introduced ungulates affect plants not only directly (through browsing and trampling) but also indirectly by affecting their interactions with pollinators?

Natacha P. Chacoff, Marcelo Aizen

Efectos de la distancia al borde del pedemonte sobre la polinización del Pomelo del noroeste de Argentina

Effects of distance to the forest edge on northwestern Argentinian grapefruit pollination

Enfoque ecosistemico

Fruit production of many crops depends on animal pollination and in this sense the distance to the source of pollinators can be critical to the agricultural systems production. We assess foothill effects as a pollination source on Northwestern Argentinian grapefruit pollination and on pollination as well as on fruit production levels. We consider pollinator abundance and diversity, pollination levels as well as fruit production according to the distance to the forest.

Principle Investigator: Carol Ann Kearns Ph.D. in collaboration with Drs. Diana Oliveras and Betsy Forrest

The Effects of Urbanization on Pollinator Diversity and Abundance in Boulder Grassland Open Space

This ongoing study, begun in the summer of 2001, attempts to evaluate the effects of urbanization on the pollinator community in the Boulder area of the Colorado Front Range.

Simon Potts

Understanding pollinator community organisation can help us manage pollinator biodiversity

Using a replicated series of post-fire habitats in different stages of regeneration In the National Reserve on Mt Carmel, Israel, the compositions of the bee communities were assessed and related to a wide range of potential floral and nesting characteristics of the 21 focal habitats.

J. Memmott

Plant-pollinator webs

The vast majority of plant-pollinator interactions are embedded in a complex web of plant-pollinator interactions. This case study describes a research program focused at this complex web level, using food web techniques to study plants and their pollinators.

Isabel Alves-dos-Santos

Specialised pollinators of Eichhornia azurea (Pontederiaceae)

Populations of Eichhornia azurea (Pontederiaceae), the waterhyacinth, are composed of three floral morphs that differ in the length and position of their reproductive organs: stamens and styles. For sexual reproduction the plant needs specialized pollinators able to transfer the pollen from the long, mid or short anthers to the long, mid or short styles of the other flowers respectively. The absence of the specialized pollinator may cause the breakdown of the trystilyous system.

Chapter Five: Indigenous Knowledge of Pollination

Rogel Villanueva-G., David W. Roubik, Wilberto Colli-Ucan

Bee decline in a largely intact habitat has been documented for the culturally and economically famous Maya stingless bee, Melipona beecheii, in Mexico

Beekeepers of the stingless bee Melipona beecheii, traditionally kept in log hives in the Maya zone in Quintana Roo state, southeastern Mexico, testify to a sharp drop during the last twelve years in the already declining managed bee populations. Important reasons for that decline include deforestation, competition from introduced feral African Apis mellifera, hurricane damage, a lack of economic incentives for traditional stingless beekeeping, and the failure to properly instruct new stingless beekeepers. Since 1980, the numbers of bee hives have decreased by over 90%. For the tropics, this scenario, sampled from 20% of the largest traditional beekeeping group in the Americas, shows how pollinators are threatened both by environmental events and inappropriate conservation efforts.

Margaret Mayfield

Ayamaran Farmers: Summary of interviews about crop pollination in August 1998

A summary of a trip to Santa Barbara, Bolivia to learn about indigenous knowledge of bees and local crop pollination.

Chapter Six: Promotion of Pollinator-friendly Practices

D.W. Roubik

Feral African Bees Augment Neotropical Coffee Yield

Native and African bees are principal components of coffee production

The first study, in 1997, showed that wild Africanized honeybees were responsible for over 95% of the pollinating visits to flowers. The second study, in 2001, did not show such high abundance of honeybees, but each demonstrated that yield increased over 50% in flowers visited by bees, compared to flowers that had been bagged, where no pollinators could approach them.

Margaret Mayfield

Natural Pollination Strategies for Agricultural Systems

Similarities between wild and crop pollination systems are explored, with a focus on agricultural settings in Bolivia, New Zealand, South Africa and India

TangYa, Xie Jia-sui, Chen Keming

Hand pollination of pears and its implications for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection -- A case study from Hanyuan County, Sichuan Province, China

Hanyuan County is the biggest pear producer in Sichuan and an important one in China. Interactions with people in the main pear cultivation areas in Sichuan in 2000 revealed that pear trees in Hanyuan and Cangxi were hand pollinated. Hand pollination is very common and every pear grower can do it very perfectly. In order to understand the issues of hand pollination, natural pollinators, and impacts of agricultural transformation on biodiversity conservation and environment, effect of insecticides on natural pollinators, a case study was designed and carried out at Hanyuan County and the results are presented in this paper


The Importance of Pollinators Diversity and Managed Pollination in Citrus in Nepal

But role of pollinators in citrus pollination and productivity enhancement has completely been forgotten. Majority of farmers and technicians are not aware of natural pollinators or managed pollination of citrus. More than 90% of the citrus farmers have no idea of pollinators and pollination of citrus and very few farmers (15%) have local bees in hives which is just for honey production not for managed pollination.

Abdul Wahid Jasr, Muhammad Athar Rafi (submitted to ICIMOD)

The importance of pollinator diversity and managed pollination in Apricots in Pakistan

There has been negligible awareness even at policy and planning level regarding the use of pollinators in fruit and crop production for enhanced and quality yields in Pakistan. Although it is very well documented that bee pollination improves the size, shape, color, storage capacity and taste of fruit. Recommendations are made for further research.

Harish K. Sharma (submitted to ICIMOD)

The Importance Of Pollinators And Pollination In Vegetable Seed Production In Kullu Valley Of Himachal Pradesh, India

Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh is well known for commercial seed production of temperate vegetable crops. At present, seed of cabbage, late cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, radish, turnip, beet, capsicum, french bean, cucumber, onion is being produced in the valley. The various parameters of the survey were information on climatic conditions including changes that farmers might have felt in recent years and its impact on agriculture, particularly the vegetable seed production. Specific information was gathered about the pollination awareness of farmers including women farmers.

Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca

How to get stingless bees nests in Nature?
Annex 1 - Tables 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Annex 3 - Tables 1, 2, 3, 4

Considerations on nesting behaviour and concerns on resources availability for stingless bees are addressed.

Dino J. Martins

Pollination Ecology of Papaya (Carica papaya) on small-holder farms in Kenya

Papaya (Carica papaya), also known as pawpaw, is a widespread fruit crop throughout Kenya where enough water is available for it to be cultivated. It is a perennial tree crop, dioecious i.e. Separate male and female plants are the norm, and therefore requires adequate pollination in order to set fruit. In tropical and sub-tropical climates, fruit set occurs throughout the year. Pollen limitation is a key factor for adequate fruit set on this dioecious species. As papaya is grown widely in Kenya on small-holdings as a domestic fruit and small-scale cash crop, pollination is key component of productivity and may also play a role in determining of not just fruit set, but fruit quality

Peter Kwapong

Rapid assessment of pollination needs of five crops in Ghana

Five crops in Ghana were assessed for pollination needs. These include groundnut, mango, oil palm, coconut and cashew. There are a variety of potential pollinators. Honey bees, leaf cutter bees and the large carpenter bees offer the best potential for pollinator management. However, their efficiency as pollinators needs to be studied and compared.

G. D. Tribe

Rapid assessment of stone fruit pollination needs in South Africa

Report of rapid assessment to determine: What are the major pollinators of the orchard crops, the exotic weeds, and the indigenous vegetation in South Africa? Are these pollinators specific to one or more plant species, or is there considerable overlap between pollinators and plants? In the event of the major pollinator species of the orchard crops been absent, are there alternative pollinator species available? Do exotic weeds hinder or benefit indigenous pollinators?

Wanja Kinuthia and Laban Njoroge

Rapid assessment of Floral Visitors on Avocado Persea americana mill. in Kiambu, Central Kenya

Though avocado is an exotic tropical fruit, its reproduction has adapted well to the local pollinators as shown in this study. The exposed flowers with large amount of nectar and pollen attract a large number of visitors. The area of study is densely populated, where most farms are less than four acres. The farmers keep cattle in near to zero-grazing level, and are averse to bee keeping according to a survey reported elsewhere in this study. The only other flowering plants were the Lantana sp. hedge surrounding the farm. In spite of this, the honeybees A. Mellifera visited the flowers abundantly followed by several genera of Diptera. Ants, flower beetles and wasps were also observed.

Dino J. Martins

Pollination Ecology of an important dryland browse Acacia (Acacia tortilis) in pastoralist landscapes in Kenya

While it is difficult to document pollinator success in a pilot study, as visitation rates were found to be very diverse and varied greatly with the species involved, Acacia tortilis is pollinated in Kenya primarily by native bee species (Apoidea) and to a lesser extent by butterflies (Lepidoptera) and Flies (Diptera).

M.T. Almanza, J.R. Cure, M. Aguilar, C. Alvarez, D. Rubio, D. Rojas, D. Vecil and J. Aldana

Native Bumblebees Rearing for Pollination of Crops in the Highlands of Columbia

Bumblebees from highlands of central Colombia have an important function as pollinators of ecosystems such as Páramos where native vegetation represent a critical component for water production and regulation at a national level. Unfortunately, highland ecosystems have been diminished or fragmented by agriculture and pastures pressure and the associated fauna is therefore also affected including bumblebees. A project on native bumblebee rearing in central zone of Colombia, the Sabana de Bogotáis described. Research has been done at three levels: Natural populations, colonies reared in captivity and introduced colonies of native species to experimental crops.

Claire Carvell, Richard Pywell, Bill Meek, Matthew Heard and Marek Nowakowski

Enhancing Habitats for Bumblebees and Other Pollinators in Intensive Agricultural Landscapes

This case study gives examples of research being undertaken by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), with the following main objectives: 1. Evaluate the effects on bumblebees of different agri-environment scheme options for habitat creation on arable field margins in the UK (the ‘Buzz’ project); 2. Identify best management practices and transfer these to the farming community (the ‘Buzz’ and SAFFIE Projects).

Dr. D. Goulson

Conservation of bumblebees (Bombus spp.) in the UK

Bumblebees are major pollinators of crops (e.g. field beans, oilseed rape, raspberries, currants etc..) and of many wildflowers. Bumblebees have declined greatly in abundance throughout Europe and North America, and several countrywide extinctions have occurred. Causes of these declines are summarized, and are probably primarily the result of farming intensification in the latter half of the 20th century, particularly the widespread loss of unimproved, species-rich grasslands such as hay meadows. Farming subsidies aimed at enhancing farmland biodiversity provide an opportunity to conserve dwindling bumblebee populations. More research is still needed into the ecology of bumblebees so that appropriate farmland management schemes can be devised.

Prof. Dr. Soliman Mohamed Kamel

Breeding and Propagation of some leaf cutting bees to increase alfalfa seeds production in Egypt

Work aimed at utilizing and development of a system to manage and increase leaf cutting bees to increase seed production of alfalfa in Egypt is described.

Simon Potts

Enhancing the biodiversity value of intensive livestock farms: the PEBIL project

The PEBIL project (Potential to Enhance Biodiversity in Intensive Livestock farms) is a long-term multi-site ecological experiment using existing farms to test the benefits of using novel field margin management. The findings will form the basis for developing agri-environment management agreements for intensive livestock farms to improve their value for pollinators and other wildlife.

Rodrigo Medellin

Lesser long-nosed bat

The lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae) is a migratory species that is considered endangered in the United Sates and threatened in Mexico. A decline in pollination services provided by these bats could seriously impact more than 1 million square kilometers of habitat in Mexico whose ecological function depend on the bats services, and the many economic livelihoods. Specific conservation measures are proposed for both the plants, and the bats.

Constance S. Stubbs and Francis A. Drummond

Case study overview

Conserving Native Pollinators of Blueberry

Habitat manipulation was used as a management strategy in order to conserve and increase declining local populations of Osmia spp., important native bee pollinators of lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium spp in Maine, USA.

Claire Kremen and Mace Vaughan

Pollination Services to Crops in Yolo Co., California: working towards restoration

The contributions of wild bee pollinators to pollination of watermelon, sunflower, almond and tomato in the Central Valley of California was studied, along a gradient of agricultural intensification. Main objectives were to: 1. define the role of wild bee populations in crop pollination and identify the most important contributing species; 2. investigate the influence of agricultural intensification on the crop pollinating species and on the pollination services they provide; 3. identify floral and nesting resources across the landscape to develop protocols for restoring/promoting the wild bee populations and their services; and 4. establish an outreach program to inform growers of techniques to improve pollinator habitat in this heavily agricultural landscape.

Chapter Seven: Capacity Building in Conservation and Management of Pollination Services

Diego P. Vásquez

Curso de Postgrado : Ecologia de la polinizacion


Ficha de pre-inscripcion

The explosion of experimental works (determined largely by the easy manipulation of flowers, plants and pollinators) occurred during the last 20 years, along with excellent comparative works, and the productive use of genetic techniques have meant a revolution in the way pollination and plant reproduction are now understood in general. The objectives of this course are (1) to create by means of theory courses and readings a space for discussion on where are we and where are we headed to in this fascinating field of scientific research, and (2) to apply theoretical knowledge to the development of a pertinent research project.

Chapter Eight: Mainstreaming Conservation and Management of Pollination Services

Simon Potts

European Union (EU) Agri-Environmental Schemes

Agri-environmental schemes provide programmes to encourage farmers to carry out environmentally beneficial activities on their land. The aim is to enhance biological diversity across a range of plant and animal groups, including pollinators. The cost to the farmer in supplying these environmental services is compensated through payments.

Simon Potts

European Pollinator Initiative (EPI)

The EPI aims to integrate and co-ordinate local, national and international activities relating to pollination into a cohesive network in order to safeguard the services provided by pollinators across the continent.

Davies Adams Laurie

North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC)

The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is a collaboration of diverse partners working to protect pollinators and raise the profile of pollinator issues.

Richard Jones

What is IBRA?

The International Bee Research Association (IBRA) is a not-for-profit organization with a worldwide membership that was established in 1949. It aims to increase awareness of the vital role of bees in the environment and encourages the use of bees as wealth creators. It is a truly global network with a wealth of unique expertise and an extensive knowledgebase that promotes the study and conservation of all bees and their value as bio-indicators.

Guimar Nates Parra

El laboratorio de Abejas del Departamento de Biología de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia

El laboratorio de Abejas del Departamento de Biología de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia ha realizado y esta realizando los siguientes proyectos dentro del marco del programa Diversidad geonómica y manejo sostenible de fauna silvestre. Los proyectos se han realizado con la colaboración de estudiantes de pregrado (Trabajos de Grado).

Guimar Nates Parra

ll Encuentro Colombiano de Abejas Silvestres

Colombian national wild bees specialists get together periodically . In its second meeting the main subjects discussed were : species systematics and geographic and height distribution; wild bees population and community ecology ; nesting habits; plant-bees interactions, among others. The definition of a Colombian Pollinator Initiative was part of the agenda and a proposal was drafted.

Jérôme Vandame Pollination: An in-depth review of existing information in Lao PDR and neighbouring countries. As a contribution to the implementation of the Lao PDR National Agricultural Biodiversity Strategy, this report reviews the literature in the field of pollination in Lao PDR, and presents a synthesis of information available from a variety of sources. Taking into account that the pollination was seldom studied in this country, the field of the literature review has been widened in the nearby countries of Lao PDR, or even in remote geographic zones, as far as the information is relevant.

Core Themes