SafeAgroBee recognizes that preserving the ecosystem, the resilience of pollinators and bees and sustainable beekeeping practices are among the major challenges of our time. Droughts and pest invasions, losses of bees’ and other pollinators’ biodiversity due to use of agrochemicals, and possible changes in the plant -pollinator interactions, urges for sustainable solutions in the agroecosystem models, and our proposal aims to tackle exactly those drivers and to seek for alternatives using precision apiculture systems and smart digital technologies as well as different modeling tools for scenario analysis and the planning of strategic management. Building resilient ‘farming systems’ is our aim, and we are going to tackle this in two directions, from the beekeepers and the farmers perspective. Here we will also test different mitigation strategies in order to ensure sustainability in a continuously changing environment, also with in areas experiencing harsh conditions exist (e.g. the dry areas). The project will make use of the Citizen science approach, and it is organised in 5 mail research work packages. An advisory Board and Stakeholders' group will ensure the success and the useful dissemination of the results. 13 parners, from 8 countries around the mediterranean basin, or a multidishiplinary consortium with great experience.
SafeAgroBee goals are: a) to contribute to knowledge on adaptation of bees on their local nishes; b) to contribute to mitigation of the effects of climate change and other drivers negatively influencing the sustainability and the resilience of the agricultural system in the Mediterranean basin, ; c) to develp strategies and tools ensuring the income of farmers and food security; d) contribute to SDGs.
To this aim, SafeAgroBee will specifically address the following: 1) examine the resilience of bee pollinators (Apis and non Apis bees) on a changing environment towards pollination services and productivity by a) documenting wild and domesticated bee contribution to the pollination of key crops; b) determining the carrying capacity of several crops as a novel approach for bee productivity and c) by projecting historical climatic data and bee related data in today's conditions; 2) investigate the adaptability of local bee populations and the application of optimal practices under climate change in order to ensure sustainable beekeeping by monitoring the development and the performance of local populations and their resistance to diseases; 3) support the development of mitigation strategies ensuring the health of the bees and provide advice for the beekeepers by comparing the health and productivity of the honey bee colonies between different agricultural ecosystems and by performing alternative and new strategies to control bee diseases; 4) develop innovative monitoring tools and precision apiculture systems for advanced data acquisition by building on sounds, bee movements and heat detection, also enhancing business potential; 5) test and validate novel models for predicting the health of the bees, as for example the Health Status Index, as well as their productivity in terms of honey and pollination services based on two strong conditions, i) on previous experience, developments and knowledge and ii) on the large data sets with very accurate data and from diverse climatological conditions; 6) adopt a Citizen Science approach to interact and collaborate with all stakeholders and the citizens.
--Scientific Impact: Increase knowledge on a) using Apis and non-Apis bees/ other pollinators for ensuring sustainable local crop production through providing pollination services; b) honey bee colony productivity and beekeeping management strategies; c) trends on effects of climate change on Apis and non Apis bees and other pollinators; d) minimising colony losses and risks from pollination adequasy; e) predicting the Health Status and productivity of a honey bee colony; f) protecting local biodiversity and their adaptability -- Societal Impact: a) enhance citizens' and policy makers' engagement in problem analysis, solving and decision making; b) strengthen the farmer-beekeeper relationship for the benefit of all and food security; c) raise awareness on the importance of bees and pollinators/ the need for preservation of local healthy populations -- Economic Impact: Increase marketing potential of precision apiculture tools; b) advance in innovation; c) optimise of land resources exploitation; d) increase job offers; e) ensures sustainability of income to farmers and beekeepers
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