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Effects of Open and Forest Habitats on Distribution and Diversity of Bumblebees (Bombus) in the Małopolska Upland (Southern Poland): Case Study

Published: 3 December 2021
 by  MDPI
 in Biology

Abstract: Bumblebees are an important insect group occurring in different land ecosystems, but the number of these species has declined dramatically across Poland as well as in Europe in recent years. The fragmentation of bumblebee habitats influences the abundance and richness in community composition and trophic and competitive interactions. During the years 2003–2006 and 2017–2020, we studied the diversity and distribution of bumblebee species in two natural (boron-mixed Vaccinio-Piceetea and riparian forest Querco-Fagetea) and two semi-natural (segetal-ruderal Stellarietea mediae ruderal Artemisietea vulgaris) habitats in southern Poland. For that, we evaluated how habitats as well as local flowering communities influenced bumblebees’ abundance, richness, and community composition in 16 sites (which are located in four parks). Bumblebee communities responded to environmental factors in different ways according to the type of habitat. Vegetation factors were the most important drivers of bumblebee community structures. Forests showed the lowest bumblebee abundance, richness, and diversity, and the highest dominance levels of these parameters were found in the open ruderal-segetal habitats. The meadows from the Molinio arrhenatheretea class were characterized by bumblebee communities with a more complex structure. Species diversity was positively correlated with open ruderal-segetal habitats, and negatively with mixed forest cover, while abundance was positively correlated with forest cover. Studies like this are necessary to anticipate the impact of habitat fragmentation on bumblebee decline.
Keywords: Bombus / community ecology / conservation / insect pollinators / landscape ecology / Europe

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