Bee and environment

The effects of bees on the environment begin to be studied.

Not only the agriculture, but also the territories in which we live are influenced, economically as well, by bees and beekeeping.

This sentence, just apparently banal, has not sufficient scientific evidences to support it yet. The beekeepers, again, are those who push for the research to go this direction.


The Regulation (EC) No 1305/2013 decides the general norms to regulate the support of the European Union for rural development, through the financing of the European Agricultural Fund for the Rural Development (EAFRD). EAFRD takes action in the Member States, in the picture of the Rural Development Programmes, to carry out a strategy for the realisation of Union's priorities about rural development. This is accomplished through a series of programmatic measures. Each Member State can present one only national programme or a series of regional programmes. Among the RDP measures, in Article 28 of the Regulation, we can find the agro-climatic-environmental Payments, aimed for the preservation and the promotion of the changes of agricultural practices, necessary to positively contribute to the environment and the climate. The agro-climatic-environmental payments can be granted to the farmers and the other managers of the territory, alone or in associations, who undertake to realise works to support the environment on agricultural lands chosen by the Member States [Article 28(2)]. The payments are annually distributed to compensate, totally or partially, for the added costs and the loss of earning which come from the taken commitment.

Beekeeping is included into the Rural Development Programme through the ninth subparagraph of Article 28 of Regulation (EC) No 1305/2013, which provides for a support to the preservation and the sustainable use and development of the genetic agricultural resources for the beneficiaries, who can be different from those described in the second subparagraph of the same article. Beekeeping is, surely, an agricultural activity which contributes to the protection and coexistence of different vegetable and animal species, hence to the biodiversity. According to the most recent researches, the reproduction of the spontaneous flora (among which 80% of the botanical species risks extinction) depends on the pollination activity of bees. It is on this basis that the Region of Umbria's proposal for the request of agro-climatic-environmental payments has been determined: starting from the consideration that the biodiversity protection is kept for the agricultural land managers, responsible, through their own activity, to assure the stability of the interactions between the various species and the surrounding environment, the proposed action aims for boosting the breeding of bees through practices which limit the nomadism and incite, at the same time, the pollinating activity on wild vegetable species. The action therefore points to bring out beekeeping, not only as an income generator activity, but also as a tool of active and structural defence for the environment and the biodiversity.



Professor Gaetana Mazzeo:

The environmental restoration of the areas which are subject to volcanic eruptions through bees help:

On Etna's volcanic soils invaded by plants, there are peculiar essences, able to resist to the difficult conditions of these environments and which changed during millennia in endemisms of remarkable biological meaning. The honey bee is able to resist to inclement environmental conditions, regularly developing and exploiting the available resources. The presence of the honey bee in such difficult areas could also bring out these kinds of environments from the economic and social point of view, using territories able to supply honey productions of absolutely good quality.

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Professor Gaetana Mazzeo:

Scientific responsible of research projects to the Applied Entomology section of the Department of Agri-food and Environmental Systems Management of the University of Catania. 


Professor Paola Ferrazzi:

The bees' role in the restoration of biodiversity in areas burnt or hit by other anthropic impacts:

Fires, usually of anthropic origin, represent a very serious problem in Mediterranean environments, because they can destroy balances obtained in very long times and make disappear, in a little space, species which, especially in dry environments, often took very long times to grow and cover the territory. The necessity to quickly repopulate the burnt areas with a vegetable covering which restores, in some ways at least temporarily, the landscape and allows to avoid soil erosion, consequent to these ruinous events, could meet not only these needs, but also put on the land essences good for bees.

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Prof. Paola Ferrazzi:

Professor of Forest Entomology at the Department for the Protection and Exploitation of the Agro-forestry Resources of the University of Torino.


Dr Dražen Lušić:

The bee warrants the preservation of the resources of Croatian coast honey and of honey production indicating the karst biodiversity.

What are the main pastures for the Carnic honey bee in Karst in Croatia? Salvia Officinalis is the main source of nectar on Croatian coast. Every part of the plant has got a strong, unique and fragrant smell.

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Dr Dražen Lušić:

Department of Environmental Health, School of Medicine, University of Rijekaa