Involving people to protect wild bees and other pollinators in the Mediterranean



Wild pollinators are the core of our ecosystems and are reducing dramatically in the last decades: among the main causes are land-use change, intensive agricultural management and pesticide use, environmental pollution, invasive alien species, pathogens and climate change (IPBES, 2016). This decline is amongst the most severe instance of modern biodiversity loss so far documented, representing a crisis for environmental health and agriculture. It is estimated that 84% of EU crop species and 78% of wildflower species rely on insect pollination. The ecosystem service provided to the EU by pollinators is valued at €15 billion/year. The main pollinators in the EU Mediterranean areas are bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) and syrphids (Diptera, Syrphidae). The European Red List of Bees (IUCN 2014 and following updates) reports 1,965 species, the majority of which is found in the Med. It has been assessed that 9% of EU wild bees is threatened with extinction, while for 55.6% data are deficient. This lack of data regards in particular the Mediterranean basin, which harbour the majority of endemic wild bees and is considered as a “biodiversity hotspot” for conservation priorities. Many Mediterranean Syrphids are locally endemic, but only scattered evidence of their status higlights conservation needs (e.g. Vujic et al. 200: Balkan , ISPRA 2015: IT). Reversing the decline of pollinators is an essential step towards ensuring a sustainable ecosystem and addressing many of the factors causing biodiversity decline. Despite several initiatives (i.e. SUPER-B, BienABest, Bumblebee Conservation Trust) already addressed, they are generally lacking in the Med or not developed to an adequate scale. Moreover the environmental information regarding the interactions with native plants (food resources), essential to ensure the safeguard of wild pollinators, is generally limited or not available to practitioners and concerned authorities.

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Marta Galloni

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro-Alimentari

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna(Italy)

Other Participants:
University of Aegean (Greece)
E-zavod, zavod za projektno svetovanje, raziskovanje in razvoj celovitih rešitev (Slovenia)
Universidade De Vigo (Spain)
Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (IMEDEA) (Spain)
CREA - Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria (Italy)
Confagricoltura Emilia-Romagna (Italy)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 1.365.747,00
Project Duration in months: 60
Start Date: 01/10/2019
End Date: 30/09/2024

Cordis webpage
Project website

Life on land This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

This project has received funding from the European Union's LIFE Programme under grant agreement No LIFE18 GIE/IT/000755 This project has received funding from the European Union's LIFE Programme under grant agreement No LIFE18 GIE/IT/000755