Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The importance of wild pollinators for crop pollination and sustainable management in agriculture to ensure reliable pollination

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.04  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Sustainable agriculture 

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
pollinating crops, wild pollinators, bumblebees, solitary bees, honeybee, pollinator diversity, diseases
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (14)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  30854  PhD Danilo Bevk  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  511 
2.  23495  PhD Mateja Colarič Bajc  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2016 - 2018  63 
3.  31553  Danijela Černe    Technical associate  2016 - 2018  129 
4.  25508  PhD Marija Gregori  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2016 - 2018  82 
5.  04272  PhD Vlasta Jenčič  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  437 
6.  24296  PhD Darja Kušar  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  203 
7.  15315  PhD Metka Pislak Ocepek  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  154 
8.  23608  PhD Janez Prešern  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  215 
9.  28877  PhD Maja Ivana Smodiš Škerl  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  266 
10.  20040  PhD Ivan Toplak  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  534 
11.  05231  PhD Meta Virant Doberlet  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  281 
12.  21502  PhD Al Vrezec  Biology  Head  2016 - 2018  1,043 
13.  33447  Urška Zajc  Veterinarian medicine  Technical associate  2016 - 2018  81 
14.  26499  Lucija Žvokelj  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  52 
Organisations (5)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,454 
2.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  20,185 
3.  0406  University of Ljubljana, Veterinary Faculty  Ljubljana  1627139  10,934 
4.  2979  Biotehnical Centre Naklo  Naklo  5088739  3,151 
5.  3019  Grm Novo mesto - center biotehnike in turizma (Slovene)  Novo mesto  5089107  842 
Insect pollination is one of the most important ecosystem services, vital both for the functioning of ecosystems as well as in agricultural production. Net worth of insect pollinations is estimated to be around 10% of total worth of agricultural production. This represents about 153 billions of EUR yearly on global scale. In the Europe is about 22 billions of EUR yearly. The function of pollination is being carried out by the always-in-focus honeybees and multitude of often overlooked wild pollinators, which are in some cases even more efficient than honeybees. Stable production is therefore tightly interleaved with biodiversity of pollinators. The most important among the wild pollinators are wild bees. Currently, there are 563 species of wild bees and 35 species of bumblebees known in Slovenia. Among pollinators are often counted also flies and butterflies, as well as some beetles and wasps. Populations of wild pollinators are in decline due to the changes in environment, which is being noticed also in Slovenia. The wild pollinators are threatened by the use of pesticides, lack of food as a consequence of intensive agriculture, climate changes and diseases in the same way as honeybees. On the top of that, the wild pollinators are threatened also lack of nesting places and continuous import of non-native bumble bee species, which represent risks of spreading new diseases and genetic pollution. Decline in the pollinators' populations was noted in several parts of the world and linked to the so-called »crisis of pollination«. Models of long-term pollination stability predict decrease of pollination success because of the climate and other environmental changes which presents challenges to the stable food production and food safety. Importance of pollinators biodiversity will only increase in the future as a direct consequence of climate changes, which are already being demonstrated as bad weather conditions in time of flowering. For example, bad weather conditions such as low temperatures and rain present challenge to honeybees, while wild pollinators such as bumblebees carry on. Geography and related forest coverage prevent development of intensive agriculture on surfaces comparable to those in large parts of western Europe. Therefore is the potential of wild pollinators in Slovenia still great, but largely ignored. Development of strategy for managing wild pollinators is therefore a short-term imperative. Preparation of such strategy demands knowledge of importance of wild pollinators in most important fruit and vegetable species combined with discoveries from intensive agricultural areas of western Europe. Main goals of the proposed project are (1) to evaluate importance of wild pollinators for dependent plants in Slovenia, (2) to suggest more efficient and sustainable management of wild pollinators' potential based on (3), to prepare suggestions how to decrease the negative impact of agriculture on wild pollinators' populations and (4) to do a check-up on wild pollinators' health on agricultural lands. The proposed project is divided into three working packages. WP1 focuses on the importance of wild pollinators for agricultural plants. Pollinators' activity will be monitored on selected fruit trees and berry shrubs. Daily activity on apple trees, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and currant will be monitored during the whole flowering period and in any weather. Density of pollinators will be determined with counting at the sample sites. Wild pollinators and the honeybees will be taken into the acount. Main pollinator groups will be identified and the »speed of pollination« evaluated by counting the number of flowers visited by a single pollinator in a fixed time frame. The activity of pollinators on other fruit and berry species (pear trees, cherries, plums, apricots, peaches, aronia, actinidia, gooseberries, brambles) will be evaluated qualitatively. Presence of pollinators will be estimated severa
Significance for science
Proposed project will be the first in Slovenia to study biodiversity of wild pollinators in agriculture jointly with their health. This way we will estimate the importance of wild pollinators in the process of pollination and possibilities of reducing the negative impact of agriculture on the populations of wild pollinators. Both is needed for a long-term and sustainable management of pollinators' population and stable agricultural production. There is expressed international interest on this topic, especially because most of up-to-date investigations were performed in western Europe, where the intensive agriculture is a dominant form and there is consequently lower biodiversity. Areas, dedicated to intensive agriculture in Slovenia are on the other hand smaller, embedded within relatively greater natural and natural-like ecosystems, which support the populations of wild pollinators. The results of the projects will therefore be important for both the regional agriculture and comparatively to western regions with their destroyed ecosystems.
Significance for the country
Agriculture Project proposal tackles the pollinators' biodiversity in Slovenia like model rural environment for the first time. Pollination is key ecosystem service and absolutely vital in fruit and vegetable production. The knowledge obtained with this project will be transferred to the food producers to improve the relliability of pollinations even in challenging conditions like rainy weather in time of flowering. Pollinator friendly fruit and vegetable production is an opportunity to market healthy localy produced food, which will improve competitivness and income status of producers. Nature protection Pollination is key ecosystem service which maintains the ecosystem diversity. Agriculture is often blamed for having negative impact on pollinators's populations. One of the main goals is to prepare set of instrucitons and advices for the fruit and vegetable producers which would support their goals and maintain the pollinators' populations as well.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2016, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2016, final report
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