Since 2010, ARTHROPOLOGIA and INRA – Avignon coordinate a European Life, Biodiversity program named URBANBEES. It aims to study biodiversity of wild bees in several habitats (urban, suburban, semi-natural and agricultural). At the end of the program, in 2014, an action plan to conserve and enhance wild bees diversity in urban habitats will be disseminated throughout Europe.
URBANBEES program is placed on important initiatives designed for communication, education, and training for all potential stakeholders in society (children, the general public, politicians and professionals). That is why, a public exhibition focused on wild bees and the interest in preserving them for pollination and our food diversity will be disseminated in 2014. The exhibition will explain simple actions for citizens as well as for the staff of parks and green areas in urban and periurban areas. From January 2014, the exhibition will be lent to 12 European cities. At this moment exhibition is held in Ljubljana (University botanic gardens Ljubljana).
The exhibition will be lent for free for a period of 3 to 4 weeks in exchange of its transportation and insurance. It’s a trilingual exhibit in French, English and German language.
Finally, it may be accompanied by a conference on the results of the study, recommendations for management of green areas and individuals. Ideally conferences have to be related to municipal garden services (in order to discuss about action plan). The conference could be held in French, English, German, Spanish or Portuguese.
The decline of European bee populations (Apiformes ; 2500 species in Europe) was recently confirmed in abundance as well as diversity 1. Yet the pollination service provided by these insects is essential for nearly 80% of the wild flora and 70% of the crops grown in Europe, with an economic impact estimated at €14.2 billion for the 25-member European Union alone in 2005.
Recent work has shown that urban habitats can harbor some wild bee species 3 and they might therefore play a role as temporary or permanent refuge for some animal and plant species. In the framework of the LIFE+ Biodiversity program, the 5-year project URBANBEES aims to conserve and enhance the biodiversity of wild bees in Urban habitats in Europe.
Since a few years, French cities (Lyon, Villeurbanne and several suburban cities), changed their green space action plan and their relationship with residual spaces of nature. Cities council already been making efforts to protect wild species and biodiversity in general. URBANBEES program, URBANBEE biodiversity action planS, could give new opportunities as for possibility to preserve useful biodiversity in urban and periurban areas.