The general aims of Urbanbees
The main goal of the LIFE programme + Biodiversity URBANBEES (2010-2014) is the circulation of a guide of land management all over Europe, validated during the course of the programme, aimed at encouraging the maintenance and the increase of diversity of wild bees in urban and peri-urban environments.
This guide of land management, written with cities and their inhabitants in mind, will offer ideas on how to ensure the presence of wild bees, and other insect pollinators, as well as gardening tips to help them thrive. Different sites in the Greater Lyon area, have been, therefore, built specifically to provide food and nesting for wild bees.
Constant follow up of these sites allow us to observe and study the behaviour of certain bee populations. With this added knowledge we can better manage the resources that bees need.
Of course, politicians, the general public and school children, need to be aware of this programme, but green space management professionals need biodiversity-centred training as well.
Throughout the programme, numerous out-reach campaigns (running events, outings, conferences, workshops, training) permit different types of people (children, the general public, politicians and green space professionals) to learn about and even actively take part in, the Urbanbees programme. During the last year, the results and the plan of management will be disseminated through publications, international conferences, and an exhibition (in English and in French).
Why the city
The destruction of habitat in agricultural and semi-natural environments, and the intoxication of these spaces (with pesticides) are among the principal causes of the loss of biodiversity. At the same time, new spaces are colonised, notably in urban and residential zones, which serve as shelters for many animal and vegetal species, as proven in recent scientific studies.
With respect to the aim of « stopping decline », it is necessary to be aware of the resources we have, and to find solutions to improve them.
In a chemical context : there are less pesticides in urban and peri-urban zones compared to conventional agricultural zones, especially over great spans of intensive monoculture.
In a bioclimatic context : the temperature is 2 to 3 degrees hotter in cities than in the surrounding country. Bees are generally thermophile insects, that nest in warm environments if given the choice.
In a botanical context : in cities, blooming is spread out during most of the year (indigeneous, exotic, and cultivar plants). Food resources must be evaluated, to better ally utility and esthetics.
In a societal context : 72 % of the European population (77% for France) live in urban centres . The LIFE projects are projects of innovative demonstration, and must provide information to as many citizens as possible.
(Source : INSEE 2007 )