Terug naar het overzicht

Scientists surprised by orchid bee biodiversity near oil palm plantations

04 / 01 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

Over the past 10 years many areas of once-forested land degraded by cattle in the Amazon have been converted to oil palm. To measure how the oil palm plantations may affect biodiversity, researchers studied orchid bees in oil palm plantations and patches of secondary forest along rivers in Brazil. To the researchers’ surprise, they found that these patches held just as many species of orchid bees as large tracts of primary forest in protected reserves. Their findings, published in Apidologie in late 2017, offer evidence that small tracts of forest embedded in oil palm plantations may help plants and animals survive deforestation. The Belém Endemism Center is a vast area, 199,211 square kilometers (76,900 square miles) of rainforest that stretches from northeastern Pará to northern Maranhão. Scientists consider it one of the most biodiverse regions of the Amazon, and also one of its most endangered. A protected forest patch near an oil palm plantation. Photo by Thaline Brito A puma print in a forest reserve. Photo by Colin Phifer “We were eager to study orchid bees in this region with the recent expansion of oil palm plantations,” said Thaline Brito, a pollination biologist at the Federal University of Pará in Belém, Brazil, and a lead author of the study. Orchid bees are known for their striking colors and “perfume-making” behaviors. Male orchid bees gather odors from different flower species to create a unique perfume, which they store in their hind legs to later attract female orchid bees. There are 250…

Naar artikel