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Diversity, threats and conservation of native bees in the Neotropics

Freitas, Breno M., Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera Lúcia, Medina, Luis M., Kleinert, Astrid de Matos Peixoto, Galetto, Leonardo, Nates-Parra, Guiomar, Quezada-Euán, J. Javier G.
Apidologie 2009 v.40 no.3 pp. 332-346
Apoidea, deforestation, fauna, habitats, indigenous species, pollination, population, population dynamics, public policy, species diversity, surveys, tropics
The Neotropics bee fauna is very rich with 5000 recognised species, including 33 genera (391 species) of Meliponini, but it is estimated to be at least three fold greater in species richness. Deforestation, agriculture intensification and introduction/spread of exotic competing bee species are considered the main threats to most indigenous species, although other less obvious causes can affect the populations of some bee species locally. Efforts to conserve the native bee fauna include better knowledge of bee richness and diversity (standardized surveys, larger bee collections and appropriate identification of bee species) and of their population dynamics, raising of public and policy makers’ awareness, commercial applications of bee products and services such as pollination and preservation of natural habitat.