The design of the methodology for the monitoring of wild pollinators in Sloveniatarget research program
Project Executive on ZRCMatjaž Gregorič, PhD
Durationsince November 1, 2019 to November 30, 2022
Al Vrezec, PhD; National institute of biology
Insect pollination is one of the most important ecosystem services, vital both for the ecosystem functioning as well as for agricultural production. 4/5 of agriculture and wild plants are insect pollinating dependent. Service of insect pollination for agricultural production is estimated to 153 billions EUR yearly. Growth of population demand bigger food production for which pollination is crucial. Pollinators are an important indicators of biodiversity too.
Beside honeybee wild pollinators are more effective at pollinating and their role in ecosystem can be bigger than estimated just from their density and population size. Conservation of wild pollinators is crucial for reliable service of pollinating and keeping biodiversity high.
Most important among wild pollinators are wild bees i.e. bumblebees and solitary bees (in Slovenia in total 565 species were found). Frequent pollinators are also flies and butterflies as well as other insects but less common, for instance some beetles and wasps.
Populations of wild pollinators are rapidly declining. Main reasons for this are food shortage, due to intensive farming and climate changes, diseases, pesticides, lack of suitable nesting sites and alien species. Natural resources in Slovenia give wild pollinators population still big potential, but without a sustainable management strategy we are already losing it.
Population decline and drop of diversity is not well documented. In Europe more than half species of wild bees is not sufficient documented to estimate their status of jeopardy. First priority task of EU Pollinators Initiative is improving knowledge of pollinator decline, its causes and consequences and includes also development of cost-effective and standardised monitoring methodology.
Main goals of proposed project are (1) to develop monitoring methodology of wild pollinators and design model of wild pollinators monitoring, (2) to conduct trial monitoring of wild pollinators on chosen locations, (3) evaluate wild pollinators community structure based on results, (4) explain it and (5) form recommendations for long lasting monitoring of wild pollinators in Slovenia.
Research project will focus on monitoring of wild bees, as the most important wild pollinators. In development of monitoring we focus on trap sampling. Our own research and research abroad shows that monitoring with traps is the only way to collect data objectively with reasonable work investment. Beside this we will run a pilot study to found out potential use of environmental DNA on spider webs as a way to monitor wild pollinators. At the end we will make recommendations to establish continual monitoring of wild pollinators in Slovenia.