Monitoring the status and trends of pollinators and pollination services
Evidence of large-scale declines in pollinators exists in North America and Europe, yet relatively little is known of their status and trends in South America. A robust monitoring approach is critical to increase the evidence base for understanding threats to animal pollinators and underpin policies for their sustainable management and conservation.
In the UK, CEH has led the development of a National Pollinator and Pollination Monitoring Framework, which is currently implementing the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme using a combination of volunteer citizen science and professionally led surveys.
This recognises the importance of ‘opportunistic’ records of species occurrence (collected on an ad hoc basis by amateur naturalists) used to understanding both current and historic shifts in distribution of bees and hoverflies, contributing to national biodiversity policy objectives and identifying emerging risks to pollinators. However, such data provide no information on abundance and hence population size, and contain significant biases in time and space. Standardized monitoring approaches, that use systematic or repeated surveys to generate appropriate data for assessing changes in pollinator group or species-level status are therefore urgently required across the globe. Using the framework approach successfully applied in the UK, we are addressing the following four tasks.
- Reviewing existing schemes, datasets and methods for measuring status and trends for pollinators and pollination services in South America (focussing on Brazil, Chile and Argentina) to identify key strengths and limitations, and where possible to incorporate currently un-digitised datasets into the relevant databases.
- Developing robust and realistic survey methods or tools for monitoring animal pollinators, specifically assessing their suitability for both professional and volunteer stakeholder groups and for deployment in natural, cropped and urban landscapes in each country (Brazil, Chile, Argentina).
- Conducting a pilot study of the proposed scheme, testing best methods across a sub-set of potential sites which could be implemented as part of a wider sampling framework.
- Building on our partnerships with South American voluntary and professional networks and exploring other relevant Citizen Science initiatives. We will explore the potential for capacity building through training and outreach to enable ongoing monitoring of habitats and species (e.g. permanent sampling points or plots).
This work will address the urgent need for data and tools by developing a standardized pollinator monitoring framework for South America, integrating existing professional and citizen science-led activities. A key goal is to secure long-term support for local and inter-national partnerships to deliver a sustainable scheme providing evidence that underpins many of the recommendations of the other SURPASS work packages.