Effect of modified green landscape on bee pollinators: a case study at Makerere University Main Campus
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The loss of flower-rich habitats in urbanized areas has resulted in significant losses of wild bee diversity in the transformed landscapes that is increasingly threatening the pollination services and agricultural sustainability. However, the impacts of urbanization on bees remain poorly understood, thus impeding the formulation of effective policies for bee conservation in the growing transformed areas. Therefore, the study was conducted to assess effect of modified green landscape on bee pollinators in Makerere University main campus in three different sites. Field sampling was conducted in December 2019 and January 2020. Samples collected were cleaned and stored in vials containing 70% ethanol. Laboratory identification was done at Makerere University with the aid of standard guides and online resources. A total of 344 bees were collected comprising 14 genera with bees of genus Apis (70.5%) being the most abundant and Macropis (0.6%) the least abundant. There was statistically significant difference in abundance of bees at different level of habitat modification/transformation (χ2 = 63.843, df = 2, p< 0.001) but difference in bee abundance between botanical garden and semi cultivated land was not significant (p = 0.6), though there were more individuals recorded in botanical garden than semi cultivated land. The findings show that increasing level of landscape modification and disturbance in study areas negatively affected bee diversity and abundance as the highly transformed and intensively managed habitat (road edges) had the least bee composition and a stable and least transformed habitat (botanical garden) sustained the highest diversity and abundance of bees. Land scape modification also significantly negatively affected the flowering plant species richness. Overall bee abundance was positively related to diversity of plants but there no significant correlation between bee diversity and plant diversity. In order to conserve the diversity of bees as to optimize associated pollination services, a diverse habitat mosaic need to be promoted in transformed landscapes. Future studies should aim to enhance the understanding of plant-pollinator associations and specific food requirement of different wild bee species for their effective conservation in urbanized-transformed landscapes.