Despite the ongoing global pandemic and the many limitations that the world is facing as a result, Safeguard members managed to successfully gather for the first physical meeting of the project, between 29 and 30 November, 2021.
Project partners met in Würzburg, Germany where the group took on an educational and exciting workshop. The purpose of the workshop, besides project partners meeting and getting to know each other, was to explore the area and to discuss the framework and concept for a common study design.
Overall, Safeguard aims to substantially contribute to reversing the loss of wild pollinators across Europe through increasing our understanding of the direct and indirect drivers of pollinator declines and delivering an integrated assessment framework in support of effective policy and practice solutions.
The first day of the Würzburg meeting was dedicated to insightful and productive discussions about the future steps and empirical tasks that the project needs to focus on to achieve this goal. Moreover, the various case-study areas of the project were introduced (Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK).
Day two was more practice-oriented with project members split into break-out groups to discuss the study design, the protocols and the overview of the upcoming tasks at the inspiring backdrop of Würzburg. Some of the key topics that were considered, touched upon essential for the project tasks, such as research on cropping systems and ecosystem services provision in agricultural landscapes, the widespread evidence for biodiversity loss in time and space and of course, the establishment and maintenance of a Safeguard network of field sites across Europe.
Safeguard aims to measure species richness and composition, population sizes, resource use and interaction network structure, trait variation, genetic diversity, plant communities and floral resources inside pollinator communities. Thus, the assessment of multiple pressures on pollinator communities was another important issue discussed.
Overall, after two days of insightful presentations, vivid discussions and exploration of the Würzburg landscapes, the first Safeguard workshop was deemed a success, as it allowed all of the participants to discuss various topics essential to the project and plan their work ahead.
Photo: Case-study areas of Safeguard