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Department Head: 

Prof. Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein
phone:+49 (0)761 203-67770



Mrs. Ilona Winkler
phone:+49 (0)761 203-3635
fax:+49 (0)761 203-3638


Chair of Nature Conservation
& Landscape Ecology
University of Freiburg
Tennenbacher Str. 4
D-79106 Freiburg




Fragmentation of tropical rainforests

The effects of forest fragmentation on bee diversity and pollination

in a Neotropical rural landscape




Prof. Alexandra-Maria Klein (Univ. Freiburg)

PhD student Catalina Gutiérrez-Chacón


Project duration:

September 2013 - August 2017






Department of Science,

Technology and Innovation-COLCIENCIAS, Colombia.

Wildlife Conservation Society - Colombia Program

Ecosystem services to agriculture, such as pollination, rely on natural areas adjacent to agricultural fields, which support organisms that provide services. Bees, the main pollinator taxon, are affected by the loss of natural and semi-natural habitats associated with agricultural expansion, presumably through removing non-crop food and nesting resources. Distance to and quantity of natural area surrounding the crops seem to be key factors determining pollination service. However, the available information comes mainly from areas with extreme levels of habitat loss and from temperate regions. The relation between amount of natural habitats, bee diversity and pollination function needs to be better understood in the Neotropical region, where large natural areas still remain and agriculture has become more pollinator-dependent over time.

With this project we aim, in first place, to understand how bee diversity is affected by habitat loss and fragmentation. For doing so, I will collect bees in 20 sites differing in quantity and configuration of natural forest in a 500 m-radius area, located in the UNESCO Coffee Cultural Landscape in the Andean Region of Colombia.

Secondly, I will evaluate the relation between forest quantity and the pollination and production of Yellow Passion Fruit (Passiflora ligularis Juss) mediated by bees. A field experiment will be conducted with small sweet passion fruit plots set along a gradient of forest amount, where pollination success and passion fruit yield will be estimated.

This study will contribute significantly to the local inventory of bee fauna and the global understanding of landscape effects on pollinators and the pollination function, by generating information on the diversity and life-history traits of bees in rural mountain tropical landscapes and the pollination of the sweet passion fruit, a poorly studied crop species.



  • Gutiérrez-Chacón, C., Valderrama, A. & Klein, A.M. (2020): Biological corridors as important habitat structures for maintaining bees in a tropical fragmented landscape. Journal of Insect Conservation 24: 187-197. Link
  • Gutiérrez-Chacón, C., Fornoff, F., Ospina-Torres, R. & Klein, A.M. (2018): Pollination of granadilla (Passiflora ligularis) benefits from large wild insects. Journal of Economic Entomology 111: 1526-1534. Link
  • Gutiérrez-Chacón, C., Dormann, C.F. & Klein, A.M. (2018): Forest-edge associated bees benefit from the proportion of tropical forest regardless of its edge length. Biological Conservation 220: 149-160. Link
  • Gutiérrez-Chacón, C., Pantoja-Santacruz, J. & Klein, A.M. (2018): Floral larceny by the stingless bee Trigona amalthea on granadilla (Passiflora ligularis Juss). Journal of Pollination Ecology 22: 75-81. Link


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