Past, present, and future distributions of bumble bees in South America: identifying priority species and areas for conservation

Published: 09-05-2020| Version 4 | DOI: 10.17632/z5r4v5m2mw.4
Flavia Krechemer,
Cesar Marchioro


The dataset provided here derive from the paper originally published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Such study applied ecological niche modeling techniques to estimate the past, present, and future distributions of six Bombus species found in South America. These data were used to estimate climatically stable areas (CSAs) for each species and, combined with information on land cover and protected area network, identify species and areas for the conservation of these important pollinators. The models predicted a reduction in climatically suitable habitats from Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the present for most species. Similarly, all species were predicted to lose climatically suitable areas in future climate scenarios, ranging from 9% to 78%, depending on the species and climate change scenario. The percentage of legally protected CSAs varied between 4.0% and 48.2% among species, mainly due to differences in the protected area network among the biomes in which they occur. A significant portion of the distribution range of most species includes agricultural areas, which likely increases bumble bee exposure to pesticides. Based on the estimated habitat loss due to climate change, as well as from land cover and protected area, our results indicate that B. bellicosus, B. brevivillus, and B. brasiliensis are the most endangered species of those evaluated. Our findings provide a framework for conservation strategies of six species of South American bumble bees, by prioritizing species and areas for conservation considering their distribution range and the climatically stable areas under different climate change scenarios. Our findings provide a framework for conservation strategies of these important pollinators taking into account CSAs. The data set comprise occurrence records for the six bumble bee species, the background files used in the modelling process and the generated suitability maps for each species and climate change scenarios.