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Thursday, April 3, 2014

A quarter of European Bumblebees could die out in coming years...

Almost one-quarter of European crops’ vital pollinators – bumblebees – could die out in the coming years, as half of the species are declining, a new study says. Citing human factor and climate change, it warns of “serious implications” for agriculture.
A preview of the recent European Commission-funded study, published on the website of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Wednesday, says it has some “bad news” for Europe’s bumblebees.

As much as 46 percent of the 68 bumblebee species living in Europe have a declining population and just 13 percent are increasing in numbers, the study shows. According to IUCN, 24 percent of those species are “threatened with extinction.”

The study, which contributes to the European Red List of pollinators and is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, stresses that three of the five “most important insect pollinators of European crops” are bumblebee species.
Bumblebees have for thousands of years played a “critical role” in agriculture as they help crops reproduce by transferring pollen from plant to plant. However, as agriculture and urban development have intensified in recent years and cultivated land has been changed, bumblebees have been hit by the loss of habitat and the loss of their preferred forage, as well as pollution and insecticides.

http://rt.com/news/european-bumblebees-extinction-losses-933/

Reuters / Stephen Ausmus

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