About 90% of angiosperm species profit from animal pollination for their reproduction.
The mutualistic pollination interactions are beneficial to both plants and animals but also benefit humanity, directly through crop productivity and indirectly through ecosystem health.
Pollination systems are under increasing threat from anthropogenic sources, including fragmentation of habitat, changes in land use, modern agricultural practices, use of pesticides and herbicides. Rare plants are commonly more sensitive to habitat loss and fragmentation and often occur in small populations, which may decrease the attractiveness to pollinators and reduce pollinator service.
The PP-ICON project (Plant Pollinator Integrated CONservation approach: a demonstrative proposal) will focus on the conservation of a locally rare plant (Dictamnus albus L.) and the community of its natural pollinators. At present, European natural populations of Dictamnus albus are declining because of scarcity of pollination service; in addition to this, suitable habitats (woodland fringes and clearings) are becoming rare due to land-use changes as result of the abandonment of traditional agro-sylvo-pastoral activities. Wild pollinators are facing a widespread decline, mainly due to climatic changes, soil use changes, habitat fragmentation and pollution, which cause a scarcity of floral resources and nesting sites.
The main objectives of this project are to ensure the persistence of an isolated population of Dictamnus albus, located in a protected area (Parco Regionale dei Gessi Bolognesi e Calanchi dell’Abbadessa) included in the Natura2000 network (pSCI IT4050001), and to restore the community of its natural pollinators.
This is a pilot demonstration project: the integrated techniques here proposed could be easily applied for the management of other european populations of Dictamnus albus, as well as for the conservation of several plant species and respective pollinators that are facing the same risks in Europe.
The LIFE PLUS programme
LIFE+ (2007-2013) is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU. It follows previous EU’s LIFE programme.
LIFE+ programme includes three components: LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance, and LIFE+ Information and Communication.
LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity supports projects that contribute to the implementation of the EU’s “Birds” (79/409/CEE) and “Habitats” (92/43/CE) Directives, the “Natura 2000” network of protected areas, and that contribute to the EU’s goal of halting the loss of biodiversity.