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Copyright © 2001 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.

The following is the established format for referencing this article:
Keasar, T. 2001. Conservation of native pollinators via honeybee conservation. Conservation Ecology 5(2): r5. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol5/iss2/resp5/

Response to Cane and Tepedino 2000. "Causes and extent of declines among native North American invertebrate pollinators: detection, evidence, and consequences"

Conservation of Native Pollinators via Honeybee Conservation

Tamar Keasar

Ben Gurion University

Published: December 6, 2001

Declines in populations of native pollinators are hard to detect. Cane and Tepedino (2001) nevertheless recommend taking action to conserve local pollinators before major declines occur. It is much easier, on the other hand, to demonstrate population declines in domesticated pollinators (primarily honeybees), because fewer taxonomic and sampling difficulties are involved. It is accordingly easier to recruit public awareness and funding to conservation programs for honeybees than for other pollinator species.

A practical way to protect local pollinators is to devise conservation programs for honeybees that would also indirectly benefit other pollinator species. Two approaches come to mind. First, public planting of nectariferous plants as food supplements for honeybees should be planned to profit other bee species as well. Potential plant species should be tested for their attraction and suitability (in terms of blooming season and floral morphology) for both honeybees and native bees. Such an effort is now underway in Israel.

A second approach involves the designation of preserves for honeybee foraging, primarily during seasons with little blooming of insect-pollinated crops. The protected habitats should be selected to answer the feeding and nesting (Cane 2001) needs of local bees as well. In order to choose such habitats wisely, we need good estimates of the potential for nectar and pollen production of whole natural plant communities, and of their carrying capacity for honeybees and other pollinators. The generation of such estimates is an important conservation challenge.


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Cane, J. H.2001. Habitat fragmentation and native bees: a premature verdict? Conservation Ecology 5(1): 3. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol5/iss1/art3

Cane, J. H., and V. J. Tepedino. 2001. Causes and extent of declines among native North American invertebrate pollinators: detection, evidence, and consequences. Conservation Ecology 5(1):1. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/Journal/vol5/iss1/art1

Address of Correspondent:
Tamar Keasar
Department of Life Sciences
Ben Gurion University
POB 653 Beer Sheva 84105
Phone: 972-8-647-9224

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