Sardinian beekeepers are sounding the alarm after wildfires caused considerable damage to 500 beehives and 30 million bees.
Bees bred in the area, in addition to wild bees, are fundamental to the biodiversity and agriculture of the island and to the whole of Europe.
“We know that bees are positively responsible for 76% of the pollination of food crops in Europe. So we can imagine what a fire like this might mean if it is not supported by the presence of these very important insects,” said Annalisa Columbu, president of Italian environmentalist association Legambiente Sardegna.
A fundraising campaign, called “Save the Queen”, was launched to help beekeepers. They hope the campaign will help to repopulate the territory.
“With €10, those who take part in the campaign donate 3,000 bees; with €80, 24,000 bees will find a home,” Columbu added.
The regional government is now being urged to take a census of the damage in order to compensate farmers and breeders.
Around 20,000 hectares of land were consumed by the flames including olive groves, vineyards and farms.
According to an estimate by Cagliari’s association of agronomists, the losses could amount to €1 billion.
Agronomists and environmentalists believe it will take at least 15 years to rebuild the woodland areas destroyed by the fire.
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