The relationship between biodiversity and CO2

    The relationship between biodiversity and CO2

    The connection between carbon dioxide (CO2), biodiversity and its impact on pollinators is a topic of considerable scientific and environmental relevance, as it involves the complex interaction between climate change, the natural environment and the health of pollinating insects.

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    21/08/2023Of Elena Fraccaro
    21/08/2023Of Elena Fraccaro

    CO2 and climate change

    The CO2 is one of the main greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Human activities, in particular the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, have significantly increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. This increase has an effect known as the 'greenhouse effect', in which CO2 traps heat from the sun, preventing some of it from escaping into space. As a result, the Earth's global temperature increases, causing the phenomenon of global warming. This phenomenon has major consequences on various terrestrial and marine ecosystems, threatening the stability of natural habitats and biodiversity, which at 3Bee we aim to regenerate with the esg/le-oasi-business/" target="_blank">Oasis project.

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    Rising CO2 and ecosystems

    This global warming has significant and long-term consequences on various terrestrial and marine ecosystems around the world. Ecosystems are delicate balances of plant, animal and microorganism species that depend on stable climatic conditions to survive and thrive. Climate change induced by the increase in CO2 can alter these balances in various ways. For example, global warming can affect rainfall patterns and seasonality patterns, with consequences for water availability and plant distribution. Areas that were traditionally suitable for some plant species may become less favourable, prompting plants to spread and animals to migrate to regions more suited to their climatic needs, causing a change in the geographical distribution of species. Some species may thus find themselves at risk of extinction if they cannot find new suitable habitats.

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    Impacts of climate change on biodiversity

    climate change has, therefore, a negative impact on biodiversity in many different ways. Plant and animal species need to adapt quickly to new environmental conditions, but many of them are unable to do so quickly enough and thus may risk extinction. Climate change can alter the geographical distribution of species, shifting suitable habitats to different regions or higher altitudes, with potentially catastrophic consequences for their survival. Variations in seasonal cycles, such as the early or late onset of spring, can alter the synchrony between flowering of plants and the presence of pollinating insects, impairing pollination processes and the production of seeds and fruit. With the Oasis of Biodiversity project, 3Bee aims to create urban and agroforestry habitats with pollinator refuges to enhance local biodiversity conservation.

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    The role of bees in biodiversity conservation

    bees, like all pollinating insects, play an essential role in the conservation of biodiversity. They are crucial pollinating insects for many plant species, including many vital food plants for humans and for the survival of other life forms, including birds, mammals and other insects. Bees, while searching for food, transport the pollen from one flower to another, thus promoting the fertilisation of plants and the production of seeds. This pollination process is essential for the maintenance of plant diversity and for the continuity of food chains within ecosystems.


    Threat to bees and pollinating insects

    Pollinators, including bees, are threatened by several factors that endanger their survival and that of mankind. Among the main threats are the overuse of phytopharmaceuticals, the loss of natural habitats due to urbanisation and deforestation, the presence of pests and diseases that affect bee colonies, air pollution, and the climate change. Rising temperatures and changes in flowering patterns, i.e. the temporal sequence in which plants produce flowers, can adversely affect the abundance and quality of food resources available to honey and wild bees, compromising their ability to feed adequately and perform their function as pollinators. CO2 can affect the lives of bees due to reduction in biodiversity mainly through climate change, diminishing food resources and exposure to pesticides.

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    Climate change and flowering seasons

    The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is one of the main factors of global climate change. This phenomenon has led to an increase in average temperatures, changing the climate and the seasons. The flowering seasons of plants can be affected by these climatic variations, with flowering earlier or later than the normal seasonal cycle. This alteration can cause a mismatch between the period when pollinator insects are active in their search for food and the availability of flowering plants, reducing the amount of food resources available to them.

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    Habitat loss and dwindling food resources

    The reduction in biodiversity is often associated with the loss of natural habitats due to urbanisation, deforestation and intensive agricultural practices. The lack of suitable habitats reduces the opportunities for bees to find food sources and safe refuges. The plant species on which bees depend for their nourishment may disappear due to biodiversity loss, compromising their ability to find sources of pollen and nectar needed for their sustenance. In this context, 3Bee fits in as a esg/le-oasi-business/" target="_blank">scientific and authoritative partner to accompany organisations and companies on a true path to biodiversity.

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    Increased exposure to pesticides

    In environments with reduced biodiversity, pollinating insects may face increased exposure to phytopharmaceuticals and other harmful chemicals. The lack of floral plant varieties, in fact, may limit the availability of food resources for bees, forcing them to rely on intensive cultivation where pesticide exposure is higher. These chemicals can be harmful to bees' health and can have negative effects on their ability to pollinate plants. The lack of natural habitats can also reduce the opportunities for bees to find safe refuges and alternative resources when food is scarce in modern cultivation, which is often characterised by monocultures and a lack of plant diversity.

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    Preserving biodiversity and limiting the increase in CO2

    Preserving the biodiversity and limiting the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere are objectives that are fundamental to protecting ecosystems and ensuring a healthy and sustainable environment. Reducing CO2 emissions through the adoption of renewable energy, improved energy efficiency and the introduction of sustainable agricultural practices can help mitigate the impact of climate change on biodiversity and the complex interconnections and relationships between different species and ecosystems on Earth. Only through concrete and collective actions can we preserve the beauty and balance of our natural ecosystems and the wonders of biodiversity. The conservation of biodiversity, and consequently of pollinators, is essential to maintain a healthy and prosperous environment for future generations. This is the background to 3Bee's mission: to protect biodiversity through technology.

    Article edited by Gloria Gheno

    21/08/2023Of Elena Fraccaro
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