Chennai, May 4, 2011: Decline in populations of honey bees and other pollinators is causing serious concern among agriculturists and environmentalists as well as beekeepers in Europe. Simon G. Potts and seven researchers from the University of Reading, UK and from around Europe, collected data on the decline in honey bee colonies across Europe and published* their findings in the Journal of Apicultural Research in the beginning of 2010. This paper has been selected for the Eva Crane Award by the International Bee Research Association (IBRA) as the best paper published in its journal during 2010.
Dr. Potts says about the research and its significance in an interview to the Science Watch, October 2010, which found the paper as 'Fast Breaking Paper' -- paper that had the highest percentage increase in citations in Essential Science Indicators of Thomson Reuters during a previous period of six months -- in the field of Plant & Animal Science: "I have been studying pollinators such as honeybees for 20 years with the aim of providing policy makers with reliable scientific evidence to inform their decisions. Over the last few years there has been a great deal of speculation about the fate of honeybees but with an absence of any solid evidence, so I felt it was essential to add some clarity to the situation.
"My team undertook an intensive search for good quality data which was dispersed across Europe and often hidden in obscure journals and reports and in several different languages. When we finally collated and analyzed the data we were amazed at how consistent the declines in honeybees were across Europe and quite shocked at the severity of losses."
Following is the press release dated April 20, 2011 of the IBRA about the Award winning paper.
*Reference cited: Potts, S.G., Roberts, S.P.M., Dean, R., Marris, G., Brown, M.A., Jones, R., Neumann, P. and Settele, J. 2010. Declines of managed honey bees and beekeepers in Europe. Journal of Apicultural Research 49 (1) Special Issue SI 2010: 15 - 22.
INTERNATIONAL BEE RESEARCH ASSOCIATION
Award winning paper highlights bee declines
Press Release - publication date: April 20, 2011
A paper written by a team of researchers from the University of Reading, UK and from around Europe, has been awarded the Eva Crane Award by the International Bee Research Association as the best paper published in its Journal of Apicultural Research during 2010.
Honey bees are the most important managed pollinators in Europe and make a significant contribution to the pollination of our food crops and also some wildflower species. Recently there have been many reports that bees have been declining, but it was unclear how big the losses were or how widespread across Europe they were. The researchers took up this challenge and brought together information from 18 European countries to track the changes in the number of honey bee colonies and beekeepers over several decades.
In the Mediterranean they found a small increase in colony numbers, but the main finding was that in central Europe about a quarter of all bee colonies have been lost since 1985. In some countries the losses have been particularly severe, with more than half of colonies lost in England in the same period. The study shows that the trend of losses is expected to continue. it sounds alarm bells for the future reliability of crop pollination and food security.
Lead author Dr Simon Potts says: "This is the first study to quantify the real extent of declines in honey bees across the whole of Europe. Period to this study, there were a handful of local estimates of honey bee losses and a lot of speculation, but this paper now clearly presents the actual degree of honey bee declines across the whole continent. The health of our pollinators, as documented in our paper, has wide reaching implications for our health and our economy."
A new paper by Dr Potts and his colleagues is published today in the latest issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research. The paper describes the major new STEP (Status and Trends of European Pollinators) Project funded by the European Commission. Dr Potts coordinates STEP which will run for five years and bring together leading researchers in 24 organisations from 21 countries with a budget of £4.3 million. The project addresses the drivers of pollinator loss across Europe and will identify mitigation and adaptation options to reverse declines and improve the management of pollination services across the continent.
IBRA Scientific Director Normal Carreck says: "these two papers are important because they help to both quantiy the loss of bee colonies in Europe, and to outline methods of addressing this problem."
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