URBANBEES - Urban bee biodiversity action plans

LIFE08 NAT/F/000478

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Charlotte VISAGE
Tel: +33 4 72 57 92 78
Fax: +33 4 32 72 20 72
Email: charlotte.visage@avignon.inra.fr;

Project description:


Around 2 500 species of bee are found in Europe – but this number is decreasing and moreover population sizes are also declining (Biesmiejer et al. 2006 Science 313:351-354). Nevertheless, the pollination service provided by these insects is essential for nearly 80% of the EU’s wild flora and 70% of the crops grown, with an economic impact estimated at €14.2 billion for the EU-25 in 2005 (Gallai et al. 2009 Ecol. Econ. 68:810-829). Recent research has shown that urban habitats can host some wild bee species (Matteson et al. 2008 Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 101:140-150) and they might therefore play a role as temporary or permanent refuge for some animal and plant species.


The URBANBEES project aimed to enhance the biodiversity of wild bees in urban habitats in Europe. To achieve this goal, it planned to:

  • Develop and validate an action plan, which consists of the testing of specific nesting devices and appropriate management methods in parks and recreation areas that are replicable in other European cities ;
  • Disseminate this action plan throughout Europe (20 cities);
  • Increase favourable habitats for wild bee populations by integrating the network of biological corridors and reducing the genetic isolation of bee populations (on study sites covering 8000 m2, with extension to the remaining areas of the partner cities and beyond);
  • Change conventional management practices for parks and recreation areas in urban habitats to favour the return and re-establishment of indigenous plant and animal species and fight against alien species (≥10 volunteer cities in the Grand Lyon area); and
  • Raise public awareness in Europe for biodiversity by emphasising the ecological and economic importance of bees, reaching more than 200 000 people through direct actions. The project target area was the territory of Grand Lyon, which has around 1.3 million inhabitants.

  • Results

    The URBANBEES project created a total surface area of 883 m² dedicated to wild bees on its 16 project sites. It also established 2 000 m² of meadow in support of wild bees. Moreover, its research findings – 309 bee species out of 950 found in France were identified in the greater Lyon area during the course of the project – informed the drawing up of a national action plan for pollinating insects.

    One of the main outcomes of the project was the production in French and in English of a management guide for favouring the conservation of wild bees and of nature in towns. This action was complemented by the development of several valuable documents and toolkits, which demonstrate the value of the conservation of wild bees.

    The project demonstrated that even artificial surfaces can host wild bees, which had not been formally recognised until the project. Furthermore, it showed that wild bee habitats can be improved through the use of very cheap and simple equipment. The bee walls established during the project to aid nesting require little maintenance and will remain in place for a least five more years. Other nesting equipment is expected to be introduced in the future to ensure the continuation of the project goals.

    The project also achieved its objective of increasing the awareness of the local population about wild bees and of their significant pollinating role. Several exhibitions were developed and shown in the Greater Lyon area as well as in other French and European cities. They attracted around 159 000 visitors in Europe (16 300 visitors in France).

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Ecological coherence
Biodiversity issues - Urban biodiversity
Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Species - Invertebrates


biodiversity‚  environmental awareness‚  urban area‚  nature conservation‚  green space‚  management plan‚  environmental education

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...

Target Habitat types

  • 02 - Specific (i.e.for technical reasons or specific issue)

Natura 2000 sites




Coordinator Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Type of organisation Research institution
Description INRA – the National Institute for Agronomic Research - is a national public research institution in the fields of food, agriculture and the environment. It has a research unit devoted to bees in Avignon: UMR 406 Abeilles & Environnement.
Partners Ville de Villeurbanne, France National History Museum of London, United Kingdom Association ARTHROPOLOGIA, France Ville de Lyon, France Centre de la Culture Scientifique, Technique et Industrielle, France


Project reference LIFE08 NAT/F/000478
Duration 01-JAN-2010 to 31-MAR -2015
Total budget 2,171,842.00 €
EU contribution 1,084,196.00 €
Project location Rhône-Alpes(France) Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur(France)


Read more:

Leaflet "Projet Européen LIFE+ Biodiversité URBANBEES"(421 ...
Leaflet "Les abeilles sauvages ... prennent leurs quartier ...
Leaflet "La ville et ses abeilles" (dossier de présentatio ...
Leaflet: Guidelines-Manual "Formation Urbanbees - Sauvegarde des pollinisateu ...
Leaflet: Guidelines-Manual "Formation Urbanbees - Sauvegarde des pollinisateu ...
Press article "Des hôtels à abeilles urbains et citoyens : URBAN ...
Press article "Favoriser une appétence écologique : Volet psycho ...
Press article "Revue de presse : URBANBEES" (15.5 MB)
Project web site Project's website
Project web site Facebook of the project
Project web site - 2 Project's pedagogical folder
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Article-Paper "Et si urbanisation et biodiversité pouvaient fair ...
Publication: Article-Paper "Decreasing Abundance, Increasing Diversity and Ch ...
Publication: Article-Paper "Could urbanisation and biodiversity be compatible ...
Publication: Case study "Les abeilles sauvages s'invitent en ville : retou ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Les hôtels Urbanbees - Modèle pour balcons et jar ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Les hôtels Urbanbees - Modèle pour jardins"
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Bee house : Small model for balconies and gardens ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Spirale à aromatiques" (917KB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Hôtel : Bee hotel model with 3 boxes" (5.96MB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Bee house : Model for gardens" (1.21MB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Urbanbees: Hôtels à Abeilles - Mode d’emploi" (8 ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Favoriser les abeilles sauvages et la nature en v ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Management plan "A Guide to Ecological Green Space Management in U ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool Project's game for children (14.3MB)
Publication: Pedagogical tool Coloriage (908KB)
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Dossier pédagogique : Sauvegarde de la diversité ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Les nichoirs urbanbbees : modèle triangulaire pou ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool Interventions en milieu scolaire. (351KB)
Publication: Pedagogical tool Fiche d'activité (1.63MB)
Publication: Pedagogical tool Coloriage abeilles (1.31MB)
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Publication: Thesis "Ecologie et conservation des abeilles sauvages le ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version