More than 75% of European bumblebee species could be threatened in the next 40 to 60 years, according to the worst projections of the latest study published in Nature. Change in land use, management of intensive agriculture, the rise of genetically modified crops, the planting of invasive exotic species, environmental pollution, climate change and the use of pesticides have been identified as key factors. of what seems like the road map of an extinction.
About 90% of all wild plants and most cultivated plants benefit from animal pollination. The international community is concerned about the decline in natural pollination. A reasonable fear because global agriculture increasingly needs pollinators to supply food: crops that depend on these animals produce 300% more crops today than five decades ago.
The Bombus bumblebee is a genus of bees considered especially important for the pollination of crops in the cold and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Human-generated transformations of natural habitats and increases in temperature are implicated as key factors in the collapse of its wildlife.
In their study, University of Brussels biologist Guillaume Ghisbain and his colleagues have been able to quantify Europe’s past, present and future ecological suitability for bumblebees. The observation data cover the periods 1901-1970 (past) and 2000-2014 (‘current’), and projections are made until 2080. Thus, it is expected that between the years 2061 and 2080, if conservation measures and policies are not produced that mitigate human impact on important ecosystems, from 38% to 76% of European bumblebee species They will no longer be able to continue living in the 30% of the territory they currently occupy. The most affected are species from arctic and alpine environments, which may be on the verge of extinction in Europe, as soon as they lose at least 90% of their current territory in the same period.
Over the years, the bumblebee has become the most effective of agricultural pollinators: it works seven days a week, 18-hour days, it can do so in low light, It withstands relatively low temperatures and visits a wide variety of plants. As they are large and hairy, more pollen gets trapped on their bodies, and they do not usually leave the greenhouses in search of more attractive ones.