Honey bees are pollinators that play a key-role in plant biodiversity conservation and crop production. This unique insect species has been managed in hives by beekeepers for millennia, even though such a peculiar animal production system never resulted in the domestication of the western honey bee. The western honey bee was originally distributed throughout most of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, part of the Arabian Peninsula and some parts of Central Asia. From Europe, the honey bee was introduced to America, Asia and Oceania. This adaptation to a range of environmental conditions, together with geological and climatic changes in past eras, has resulted in grouping of Apis mellifera into 31 subspecies. In the last 150 years, technological advances in beekeeping and globalisation have heavily endangered conservation of the native subspecies of A. mellifera in Europe, with an impact on honey bee production and health status. Evaluation of the impact of this phenomenon on the ecological equilibrium is still ongoing, but there is already scientific evidence of negative effects that this problem is having on beekeeping. This document sets forth the scientific arguments in support of the conservation of native subspecies, and lists the existing Italian legislation in terms of subspecies protection initiatives. It also lists the main factors that are contributing to loss of genetic diversity and of local adaptations. This document does not intend to oppose the actions of the beekeeping industry, but rather to contribute to a more global vision of the very serious problem of honey bee decline.

Appeal for biodiversity protection of native honey bee subspecies of apis mellifera in Italy (San michele all'Adige declaration)

RUZZIER, ENRICO;Battisti, Andrea;Malagnini, Valeria;Mutinelli, Franco;Nazzi, Francesco;Pennacchio, Francesco;Tormen, Nicola;SEGRE, ANDREA
2018

Abstract

Honey bees are pollinators that play a key-role in plant biodiversity conservation and crop production. This unique insect species has been managed in hives by beekeepers for millennia, even though such a peculiar animal production system never resulted in the domestication of the western honey bee. The western honey bee was originally distributed throughout most of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, part of the Arabian Peninsula and some parts of Central Asia. From Europe, the honey bee was introduced to America, Asia and Oceania. This adaptation to a range of environmental conditions, together with geological and climatic changes in past eras, has resulted in grouping of Apis mellifera into 31 subspecies. In the last 150 years, technological advances in beekeeping and globalisation have heavily endangered conservation of the native subspecies of A. mellifera in Europe, with an impact on honey bee production and health status. Evaluation of the impact of this phenomenon on the ecological equilibrium is still ongoing, but there is already scientific evidence of negative effects that this problem is having on beekeeping. This document sets forth the scientific arguments in support of the conservation of native subspecies, and lists the existing Italian legislation in terms of subspecies protection initiatives. It also lists the main factors that are contributing to loss of genetic diversity and of local adaptations. This document does not intend to oppose the actions of the beekeeping industry, but rather to contribute to a more global vision of the very serious problem of honey bee decline.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3294331
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