Bee diversity and floral resources along a disturbance gradient in Kaya Muhaka Forest and surrounding farmlands of coastal Kenya
Bees provide important pollination services that maintain native plant populations and ecosystem resilience, which is critical to the conservation of the rich and endemic biodiversity of Kaya forests along the Kenyan Coast. This study examined bee composition and floral resources from the forest core to the surrounding farmlands around Kaya Muhaka forest. In total, 755 individual bees, representing 41 species from three families were recorded: Apidae, Halictidae and Megachilidae. Overall, Apidae were the most abundant with a proportion of 76% of the total bee individuals, Halictidae at 14% and Megachilidae at 10%. Bee composition was similar between forest edge and crop fields as compared to forest core and fallow farmlands. We found a significant decrease in bee diversity with increasing distance from the forest to the surrounding farming area. A high abundance of bees was recorded in fallow farmland, which could be explained by the high abundance of floral resources in the habitat. We found floral resources richness to significantly affect bee species richness. These findings are important for understanding the effects of land use change on insect pollinators and their degree of resilience in disturbed habitats.
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