Student Conference on Conservation Science

Plenaries 2024

Wild pollinator conservation in cities – strategies to success

Costanza Geppert

Urbanization is widely regarded as a major threat to biodiversity. However, recent research highlighted the ecological importance of cities for pollinators. In this talk, we will discuss the role of cities in the conservation of pollinator insects, and investigate good practices examples, with a focus on people's socio-psychological drivers of the willingness to help bees, hoverflies and butterflies.



Pollinator-mediated effects of landscape-scale land use on plant communities 

Yann Clough

Pollinators are important plant mutualists, but the implications of the threat of declining pollinator populations for wild plant communities is surprisingly poorly understood. In this talk I will review the evidence available for why a reduction in pollinator availability, as a results of land-use changes, may – or may not – lead to consequences on plant community composition and associated ecosystem functions. I will draw on a selection of published evidence and present new results from an ongoing project in which my research team and I have experimentally manipulated pollinator communities in grasslands for several years. 



Can biodiversity conservation and food security needs be balanced in the face of changing environment?

Deepa Senapathi

We find ourselves in the sixth mass age of extinction when there is unprecedented loss of global biodiversity both in terms of species and habitats. Simultaneously, we face the immense challenge of ensuring that 7 billion plus people in the world have access to healthy and nutritious diets and this places a huge demand on land for agricultural purposes. Adding to the complexity is the climate crises and the significant impact of environmental change. Are these major issues of our time, in conflict with one another or can we find ways to conserve biodiversity whilst ensuring food security despite environmental challenges?

Agro-ecological approaches to enhance beneficial insects are increasingly being adopted in agriculture systems to support both biodiversity conservation and sustainable production. Interventions to enhance pollinator communities or natural enemies of crop pests are well studied and form an integral part of agri-environmental schemes. However, one size fits all approaches rarely work and therefore the challenge of finding context specific solutions is one faced by researchers everyday. Linking evidence from pollinator conservation studies in agro-ecological systems from the Global North and the Global South, this talk will explore whether balancing biodiversity conservation and food security will always be a case of minimising trade-offs, or whether win-win solutions can be found amongst the choices we make.