Over half of Belgium’s bees are gone (or endangered species)
Thursday, 05 December 2019
The decline in the Belgian bee population is due to various human interventions. Credit: Natuurpunt
More than half of the bee species on Belgian territory are threatened with extinction or gone, according to the BELBEES scientific project.
Most bees are classified as ‘threatened with extinction’ (33%), as ‘no longer present’ in Belgium (12%) or as ‘almost threatened’ (7%). This is the first evaluation of the Belgian bee population in 26 years.
The project has created a “Red List of Bees in Belgium’ according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) methodology. With the information on which species are threatened most, a number of protection measures to protect them can be taken.
Some regions of Belgium, like Sandy Flanders, the eastern Kempen region, the surroundings of the Brussels-Capital Region, Condroz, Fagne-Famenne-Calestienne and Gaume are known for their large variety of bee species.
However, there are often special habitats, such as limestone grasslands or heathlands, which are highly endangered and therefore need to be protected and restored as a matter of priority.
The decline in the Belgian bee population is due to various human interventions, including the loss and fragmentation of habitats. This is mostly due to the agricultural sector, which uses a lot of fertilisers and pesticides, or urbanisation, but also to climate change.
The Red List was created together with the University of Mons, Natuurpunt, the University of Liège, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the ULB university and Natagora.