It is our pleasure to inform you that the Bees Biodiversity Network, the United Nations Environment Programme and Gaston Franco, MEP will be holding the
International Conference on
“Biodiversity, a culture to share”
5 – 6 June 2012
Brussels – European Parliament
Day 1 – What is happening to bees ?
Tuesday 5 June 2012 (14h00 – 18h00)
- Building biodiversity indicators on farmland
- Bees decline in the world : origins and consequences
- Scientific research to raise the beekeeping sector
Day 2 – How to combine agriculture, territorial management and biodiversity ?
Wednesday 6 June 2012 (14h00 – 18h00)
- Combine efficiently agriculture and biodiversity
- Integrating biodiversity on the CAP 2014
- Biodiversity, it’s everyone’s business !
If you are not yet registred, please confirm as soon as possible your attendance to the « Biodiversity, a culture to share » International Symposium by e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org.
The number of places is limited and the access conditions are very strict. It will be impossible to attend the symposium unless you are registered.
Although the high rates of bee mortality in recent years are due to a number of causes, the quality of their basket of food resources is clearly a key factor. Bees also need high quality nourishment to resist encroachment by the parasites Varroa and Nosema Ceranae. The results of experiments undertaken by the Bee Biodiversity Network have clearly shown the benefits of setting up bee havens for domestic species. Modifications of just 0.5% of the areas where bees gather nectar contributes on average up to 66% of their pollen nourishment needs. The measurable effects reorganising the layout of agricultural spaces has on promoting bee immunity is therefore a further encouragement to maintaining and expanding this initiative. What crucially needs to be expanded therefore are:
- bee food havens
- hedges intelligently managed to promote proper flowering
- nectar plant cross-plantings
- nectar and pollen plan plantings (rapeseed, sunflowers, etc.)
- grass-covered strips managed to promote pollen-producing plans (list of authorised species to be expanded, in particular for legumes)
This strategy would be based on the indicators adopted by the SEBI 2010 “Agricultural Areas and Management Practices Favoring Biodiversity” Project. It should in fact enable the emergence of a new “public service,” biodiversity resources, impelled by agriculture.
Bee mortality rates have become an omnipresent topic. According to scientists, the kinds of year-over-year increases in bee mortality being observed cannot be explained solely by accidental poisoning from improperly applied crop protective chemicals.
The very high mortality rates observed in certain mountainous regions compared to numerous examples of lower rates in farming regions that are in good health would seem to favor an multi-factor approach to the European and global crisis in bee mortality. The Varroa, an invasive and parasitic species of bee first introduced to Europe in the 1980s is ravaging and significantly weakening colonies, leading specialists to label it Bee Enemy #1. Other parasites (including Nosema Ceranae, viruses, etc.), most likely taking advantage of this hive weakening, are expanding and thereby complicating the situation even further.
Weakness in the health of hives is also being aggravated by scarcity of pollen- (protein) and nectar (glucose)-based food sources. The simplification of agricultural ecosystems is provoking significant periods of shortages in these food sources which are in turn followed by famines for the bees. The basket of foods available to them has however been improved by changes in farm layout, such as the creation of so-called “bee food havens.” The establishment of such ecologically-protected zones, veritable oases of biodiversity, on very small portions (0.5%) of areas where bees gather nectar and pollen have nevertheless added on average 66% to their daily productive capacities.
Promoting food sources in both farm and non-farm areas by means of specific changes in layout and/or other simple adaptations to land management practices can also help strengthen the defense of bee immunity. In this sense it constitutes an effective response, absent a definitive solution, to the crisis the beekeeping sectors in Europe and across the globe have been suffering for twenty-some years. Actions promoting biodiversity constitute therefore one response to the bee crisis while at the same time generating a virtuous circle, insofar as healthy hives ensure pollination services for the agricultural industry as well as for species of plants living in the wild.