A ‘virtual safe space’ could help save bees

A ‘virtual safe space’ could help save bees

From weather forecasting to medical data analysis, artificial intelligence and various predictive computer models help us understand and predict how the world works. Now, a new tool has been developed by ecologists in… University of Exeter It will enable conservationists and land managers to help some of the world’s most important pollinators: bees.

The new decision support tool is called BEE-STEWARD and simulates the behavior of bee colonies under different habitats and management strategies. ” This provides a safe virtual space to test different bee-friendly management options. It is a free and easy to use tool“We worked with land managers and wildlife groups on the ground to create it together,” explained the study’s first author. Dr. Grace Twiston-Davies.

Bees are fundamentally important for their contribution to our planet’s biodiversity, but they are also economically important to farmers.

“We know that pollinator decline is a very big problem for crops as well as wildflowers,” Dr Twiston Davies said. Because land management is so complex and bee colonies are so dynamic, testing different conservation strategies in the real world is a practical challenge. Thanks to BEE-STEWARD, a “virtual safety space” has been created where the only bees at risk are digital bees.

Previously, scientists used more technical software to solve this problem, such as BEESCOUT and Bumble-BEEHAVE. However, these tools were far from easy to use.

“We worked with researchers and landowners who used the model and provided us with valuable feedback so that we could improve our models further,” said Dr. Matthias Bettcher, co-author of the study.

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BEE-STEWARD has already received a warm welcome from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, a British organization dedicated to the conservation of bumblebees and their habitats. Dr Richard Comfort is the Fund’s Chief Scientific Officer.

“The Bee-Steward model will be great for conservation planning – it will allow us to go back in time to see the long-term results of a management change and compare all possible options to see which will work best for bumblebees.” doctor. comfort.

The research is published in the journal Methods in ecology and evolution.

by Alex Roger, Threatened species.fr editor

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