Action Synopsis: Bee Conservation About Actions

Restore heathland

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Source countries

Key messages

One small trial of early-stage lowland heath restoration activity did not have an adverse effect on bumblebee diversity at one site in southeast England. Two replicated trials in Dorset indicated that long-term restoration of dry lowland heath can restore a bee community similar to that on ancient heaths. One of these studies showed that the community of conopid flies parasitizing bumblebees remained impoverished 15 years after heathland restoration began. We found no evidence on interventions to conserve bees on upland heath or moorland.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. Selective tree felling and removal of humus and nutrient-rich soil by scraping in a 1 ha area at Norton Heath Common, southeast England increased the range of common bumblebee species recorded within the scraped area from one in the first year to four in the second year (Gardiner & Vaughan 2008).

    Study and other actions tested
  2. Forup et al. (2008) compared four ancient dry lowland heaths in Dorset with four paired heathland sites first restored from pine Pinus sp. plantation 11 to 14 years previously. There were no consistent differences between the communities of insect pollinators, including bees, at ancient and restored sites. There was no clear evidence that bees or other pollinators colonised restored heaths from the adjacent or nearby paired ancient heaths, implying that from a bee perspective, there is no need to site heathland restoration projects very close to ancient sites.

    Study and other actions tested
  3. Henson et al. (2009) sampled bumblebees visiting flowers on six ancient and six restored patches of heathland on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, England. The restored sites had been restored from pine plantation around 10 years previously. The species richness and abundance of bumblebees were similar on ancient and restored sites, as were those of bumblebee protozoan parasites, external and tracheal mites. But conopid flies, a type of internal bumblebee parasitoid, were significantly less abundant on restored sites than ancient sites.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Dicks, L.V., Showler, D.A. & Sutherland, W.J. (2010) Bee conservation: evidence for the effects of interventions. Pelagic Publishing, Exeter, UK


Where has this evidence come from?

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Bee Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bee Conservation
What Works in Conservation

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