Modelling pollination in agro-environment in Flanders to create synergy between domesticated honeybees and wild bees.

01 January 2018 → 31 December 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
pollination honeybees
Project description

Pollination provides direct benefits to human welfare. More than 70% of the major agricultural crops and more than 85% of all flowering plants depend on insect pollination for the development of seeds and/or fruits. This ecosystem service is threatened, due to pollinator diversity losses and species restriction around the world. Losses are counteracted by addition of domesticated honeybees, while it are diverse pollinator communities, especially of wild bees, providing the most stable and effective pollination services for agriculture. Within this project we aim to improve the existing models, mapping available nest and floral resources to predict pollination services in orchards. Such models provide the needed insight to mitigate losses of pollination with a direct focus on the crop of interest. We will focus on two important crops for Flanders, namely apple and sweet cherry. We will integrate the competition factor between domesticated honeybees and wild bees into the pollination model. This will allow to calculate the impact of relocating honeybees to orchards on the services provided by wild bees. We focus on creating synergy effects between bees, to allow higher and better fruit quality for farmers. The predictive framework will also serve the beekeeper who seeks high quality environments, but also meets European biodiversity conservation goals, as the model can be applied to predict competition with habitat restricted and rare bee species.