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Saved by the city?

Understanding how pollinator communities are shaped by urban form and habitat distribution.

Pollinating insects such as wild bees and hoverflies are in global decline, both in numbers and diversity, and the main cause is land-use intensification. This is worrying, because most wild plants and many crops need pollinators to set seeds and form fruits.

Researchers have noted that pollinating insects can be as common in cities as in farmland and nature areas. So, can our cities help rescue pollinators for the future? If so, then the same species losing out in farmland need to benefit from urban environments, but we do not know if that is the case. In this project, we will find out which species benefit from cities, and why.

We will use knowledge on species traits, such as size, dispersal capacity, habitat specificity and activity period, because they explain how species differ in sensitivity to environmental change. They also affect species’ functions in the ecosystem, such as how good pollinators they are. We will investigate how to improve cities, especially for species declining in contemporary agricultural landscapes.

Green urban area with footpath. Photo.
Urban green spaces in Malmö, Sweden. Photo: Anna Persson


Anna Persson
Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)

E-mail: anna [dot] persson [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (anna[dot]persson[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)
Mobile: +46 73 069 28 80

Bumblebee on thistle flower held by hand. Photo.
Meadow with summer flowers. Photo.