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A survey and review of the status of wild bees in the West-Palaearctic region

Patiny, Sébastien, Rasmont, Pierre, Michez, Denis
Apidologie 2009 v.40 no.3 pp. 313-331
Apoidea, ecological value, ecosystems, extinction, monitoring, pollinators, risk, Europe
Bees (a.k.a. Apoidea Anthophila) are among the main pollinators in most ecosystems. The yearly value of the ecological services provided worldwide by pollinators reaches more than € 150 billion. As in many other groups, the erosion of bee diversity is now a well-assessed reality. However, quantification of the phenomenon, including the assessment of its extent and severity has been lacking for a long time. In the West-Palaearctic, the decrease in wild bees has been highlighted in several studies over the last few decades. Specifically, the plight of a few populations of bees in Europe has been measured and assessed. In this paper, we review the state of the knowledge of bee diversity in the West-Palaearctic. We present the available resources usable for estimation of the extinction risk in West-Palaearctic bees. We also point out the work that is needed to outline a holistic picture of West-Palaearctic bee diversity. We conclude by suggesting that former initiatives should be integral in developing the framework of a subregion-wide monitoring program for bees.