Urban agriculture can promote bee communities in tropical megacities

by the University of Göttingen
July 15, 2022

Urbanization is a primary threat to biodiversity. However, scientists know little about how urbanization affects biodiversity and ecosystem services in tropical regions of the Global South. An international research team led by the Universities of Göttingen and Hohenheim in Germany, in collaboration with the University of Agricultural Sciences of Bangalore in India, investigated the effects of urbanization on bee communities in smallholder farms in and around Bangalore – a South Indian city with more than 13 million inhabitants. They found that social bees, such as wild honey bees, suffered more than large solitary bees or those that nest in cavities, which contrasts with results from temperate regions. Native flowering plants adjacent to farmland and crop diversification can help to maintain bee communities. The findings were published in the journal Ecological Applications.

In an extensive field survey of bees on vegetable farms spread from rural to urban environments, the researchers recorded more than 26,000 individual bees belonging to 40 species. Combining the data with remote sensing by satellite allowed the scientists to identify how the proportion of sealed surfaces and buildings in metropolitan areas affected bee communities. They also analysed how bee species responded to the environments, comparing bees that use different nesting sites and differ in sociality and mobility.

Keep reading: https://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/3240.html?id=6756

Read the Ecological Applications paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eap.2699