Between 7 - 9 September 2021, leading experts in the field of wild pollinators and biodiversity from 25 institutions across 14 European countries and China gathered for the official kick-off of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation project Safeguard. Due to present COVID-19 restrictions, the event was held in an entirely online environment. Despite partners not being able to meet in person, the meeting marked a successful start of the project with insightful presentations, vivid discussions, and an overview of the project’s future objectives.
Wild pollinator biodiversity has been declining rapidly across ecosystems, with the levels of biodiversity changes in recent years reaching alarming scales. Now more than ever, actions are needed. Led by project coordinator Prof. Dr. Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter (head of the Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany), Safeguard will aim to make a re-assessment of the status and trends of wild pollinator decline, predict the impacts of multiple and interacting drivers of this decline, quantify the socio-cultural and economic values of pollinators and the effectiveness of pollinator-targeted interventions, and provide fit-for-purpose tools for environmental decision making.
In order to accomplish this, the Safeguard team will combine meta-analyses of existing data with targeted empirical research of under-researched pressures and integrative modelling. Empirical research on multiple pressures will be conducted on 360 field sites across 12 countries in Europe. Upon gaining research results, an integrated assessment framework will be created to serve as basis for a portfolio of effective policy and practice solutions. A specially designed knowledge hub (SAFE-Pollinators Hub will consolidate and centralise many existing resources from previous projects and initiatives, and will also integrate the substantial portfolio of new knowledge and outputs generated by Safeguard.
Safeguard has a total of eight work packages (teams of experts) aimed at knowledge and evidence generation, as well as raising awareness and maximising the impact of the project. The expected impacts are mitigation of causes and consequences, as well as reversing trends in wild pollinator decline.
After three days full of insightful discussions and outlining of the project’s first steps towards achieving the project goals, project partners are now looking forward to obtaining new knowledge and tools that would help society Safeguard wild pollinators and the benefits they provide.
Stay tuned for updates from the project