To change the way we see bees and their link to biodiversity, Kim is creating global teams of teams to tackle the three issues provoking bee mortality (pesticides, lack of biodiversity, and disease) and to raise awareness.
He starts by working closely with bee keepers in order to teach them how to better preserve bees. Since replacing a colony is expensive, Kim is able to show the benefits to bee keepers of changing their practices reduce bee deaths. He has developed an international bee loss monitoring program that has been replicated in 22 countries and showed that in Belgium alone, mortality rates rose from 17% to over 30% between 2005 and 2014. He also gives colonies to bee keepers who have suffered big losses in order to encourage them to follow his methodology of bee treatment. Kim also provides a second level of continued training to bee-keepers that integrate the most recent research. He has also trained over 100 veterinarians to the specificities of bees and their diseases.
Kim manages to position bees as the center of biodiversity issues through biodiversity preservation projects that he implements with cities and companies and in which he empowers all stakeholders to follow an integrated bee management plan. Before any project, he conducts a thorough feasibility study to determine if plants species are missing in a specific region and whether bees could be brought on site, and if so, which species and how many colonies. Through the monitoring of bee health, and thanks to the use of his environmental dashboard, Kim has a local view of a territory and can assess what needs to be done by specific actors in order to preserve biodiversity in a rural or an urban area. For instance, farmers can communicate with bee-keepers to increase the pollination of their crops, and Kim provides a platform to facilitate this communication. The BeeSpa partnership with Spadel, a mineral water company, is a striking example of a win-win collaboration. Spadel hosts 8 colonies of adequate species on its territory, and thanks to bees and the usage of Kim’s dashboard, the collaboration can assess the quality of the environment. Kim has also developed an integrated project with the Belgian city of Knokke: he created touristic circuits, ecosystemic services and a laboratory for biodiversity. He plans to pollinate 10% of Belgium by 2016; this objective equally involves bee health and biodiversity development.
Kim spreads his model from one territory another by leveraging his engaged network. He can scale his solution by working with local actors throughout Europe. He has already trained bee keepers in the South of France, and aims to extend the Spadel partnership to sites in France and Wales. He is in discussion with 5 cities, including Antwerp, to replicate the Knokke project. He is at the same time preparing to submit BeeOdiversity to the European-financed projects, LIFE and INTERREG, which could be influential in BeeOdiversity’s trajectory. He has also put in motion a strategy to develop global public awareness, and to involve institutions in his process. Most scientists often have trouble transmitting their ideas, which is why Kim makes the effort to communicate in an intelligible way to all types of audiences.