Storage calculation

Storage calculation

In addition to the active role of natural beekeeping, a specific aside must be made regarding the launch and maintenance of the Domus mellifera project. In addition to playing an important role in maintaining biodiversity by creating refuge niches for various potential species, this service is equally important and related to another aspect, directly and specifically related to the active positioning of nest boxes and their subsequent colonisation by honey bees. In fact, if an established colony is not claimed by any beekeeper (thus becoming, according to the WBA, comparable to a wild colony) and if the maintenance of the colony (family) occurs naturally over time, i.e. without any direct human intervention (apart from the facilitation and maintenance of the colony, such as through monitoring to prevent the spread of zoonosis), this situation can be considered a specific ecological niche in harmony with the nutritional resources available in that environment. This condition of stable permanence will result from natural selection or adaptation to specific environmental conditions as it is subject to the natural limitations determined by the surrounding environment and its conditions (quality and quantity of predators, availability of nutrition, specific competitors for food resources, adverse weather, etc.). In such a situation, which can therefore be presumed to be a condition in dynamic but permanent equilibrium with the external environment, the "complete" action of Domus mellifera can also be regarded as a potential service for the general enrichment of the pollination services in the surrounding environment and, consequently, of related ecosystem services. With this in mind, and only in relation to such natural conditions and the existence of the conditions themselves, the WBA has been able to empirically assess from an analysis of the literature the value of certain pollination services, crucial to the presence and reproduction of many species, in particular herbaceous plants, which contribute to the consolidation of marginal areas, the reduction of soil surface erosion phenomena and also the storage of CO2. This methodology is outlined below.

The following table summarises the methodological path taken to estimate maximum CO2 segregation using this experimental approach. The diagram consists of a cross tabulation with 3 parameters considered in the model, i.e. BEE (qualitative-quantitative data relating to the bee factor), PLANT-ENVIRONMENT RELATIONSHIP (qualitative-quantitative data relating to vegetation factors) and C and CO2 SEGREGATION (qualitative-quantitative data relating to C and CO2 fixation). The formula used (indicated in brackets) and the numerical value obtained is indicated in the RESULTS column.

Beginning with the results (notes 1, 2 and 3), the "final no. of effective and efficient plants" value was multiplied by the "average segregation value of a single plant (t)" value to achieve a result of 15.9375 t of CO2 segregated per year thanks to the action of a single natural colony.

(nest box). Considering an average bee range of action of 3000 m, the possible area of influence of a single colony can be estimated at 2826 hectares visited or, in this case, served by ecosystem services.

From this figure we can deduce that the per hectare contribution of a single natural colony, considering the parameters indicated above, comes to a hypothetical average of 5.64 kg/hectare (approx.) of CO2 segregated per year.


1) For the BEE parameter, the maximum number of flowers actually served by the pollination services was calculated, taking into account, as a matter of prudence, that the values of the performances of a bee, according to literature, were well below the minimum average values, considering the possible influence of external factors (e.g. rainy days, plundering of beehives, etc.);

2) For the parameter PLANT-ENVIRONMENT RELATIONSHIP, an attempt was made to assess the final number of estimated plants that could be considered effective and efficient at the end of the annual period in terms of C and CO2 segregation, in relation to the actual number of flowers served by the pollination services (BEE result). Again, conservative values lower than the literature values were evaluated, also taking account of the average life cycles (and thus the flowering efficiency over the year) of the two families Leguminosae and Gramineae; as such, only the herbaceous component is considered in this methodology;

3) For the C and CO2 SEGREGATION parameter, the average segregation value of a single plant in tonnes (t) was calculated on the basis of segregation data observed under optimal experimental conditions (experimental trials on green manure areas or renaturalisation with mixed herbs, both wild and commercial).