Project

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

Duration
01 January 2018 → Ongoing
Funding
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Promotor
Research disciplines
No data available
Keywords
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.