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Title: Bumblebees
Authors: Goulson, Dave
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Editors: Maclean, N
Citation: Goulson D (2010) Bumblebees. In: Maclean N (ed.). Silent Summer: The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 415- 429.
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Abstract: Since bumblebees are a group associated with cool climates, Britain supports a large proportion (~10%) of the world's bumblebee fauna. However, three of our 25 species have become extinct, and seven species are Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) listed, a higher proportion than for any other insect group. Declines are primarily driven by habitat loss and declines in floral abundance resulting from agricultural intensification, notably the loss of ~97% of all species-rich grasslands (haymeadows, calcareous grasslands) in the last 60 years. The decline in the abundance of Red Clover, once a common fodder and ley crop and a major source of pollen and nectar for many bumblebee species, is likely to have had a significant impact. Effects of habitat degradation and fragmentation are compounded by the social nature of bumblebees and by their largely monogamous breeding system, which means that they have a very low effective population size (most bumblebees are sterile workers). Hence, populations are susceptible to chance extinction events and inbreeding. Given the importance of bumblebees as pollinators of crops and wildflowers, their declines have broad ecological and economic significance. Suggested measures for their conservation include tight regulation of commercial bumblebee use and targeted use of agrienvironment schemes to enhance floristic diversity in agricultural landscapes.
Rights: The publisher has granted permission for use of this work in this Repository. 'Bumblebees' is published in Silent Summer: The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland, 2010, copyright Cambridge University Press:
Type: Part of book or chapter of book
Affiliation: Biological and Environmental Sciences

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