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Bees under threat in Asia: A call for action

Bee pollinators play a vital role in food production and security for a significant portion of Asia's population. However, many bee species in the region remain unstudied and their status unknown. A group of 74 scientists from various countries warns that Asian bees, constituting 15% of global species but only 1% of records, are threatened by factors like habitat loss, pollution, climate change, and urbanization.

Dr. Michael Orr, a lead author of a new Biological Conservation article, emphasizes that the decline of bees is a concern even in high-income countries. Native bee species have crucial ecological and economic roles in Asia, making their conservation essential for sustainable development. Despite this, a lack of knowledge about bee species and their habitats hinders .

The scientists call for focused conservation work on flagship species like native honey bees, stingless bees, and bumble bees. These species can raise awareness and support the conservation of other non-social bees. Solitary flagship bees, such as the Indonesian Megachile pluto, the world's largest bee, also need protection.

Collaborative efforts across borders are recommended for bee and pollinator management due to the complex political situation in the region. Priority should be given to restoring threatened habitats and addressing threats like palm oil and agricultural expansion. Sharing specimens and data is crucial, as well as conducting ecological studies to understand pollinator communities and their services better.

To achieve effective conservation, scientists stress the need for interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral efforts involving government, NGOs, and research personnel. This approach aims to translate research into practical applications for bee conservation across Asia.

Source: Flinders University

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