Transition Marlborough wanted to help save the bees so they started joining up landscapes to connect pollinators and people.
This is the story of a small, local project to help bees. They are in trouble, along with all flying insects, and we can all do something to help.
There are 25 native species of bumblebee, over 250 species of solitary bee and one species of honeybee in the UK. Many are in decline, but even DEFRA’s 2014 10 year National Pollinator Strategyhighlights that we know very little about many of them, so measuring baselines and progress is a real challenge. Last year German research hit the headlines showing a 75% drop in flying insect biomass over just 27 years across 63 nature protection areas. What a wake-up call.
Sweet William – Sara Wilman, British flower grower, took this on her ‘My Flower Patch’ field Photo © Sara Wilman
Our four key project aims:
1. Raising awareness of bees and their predicament
2. Encouraging everyone to contribute, however they can, to join up the landscape by creating more pollinator-friendly forage and nesting habitat
3. Actively contributing to national insect monitoring schemes
4. Creating a replicable model of effective community-based response to the National Pollinator Strategy.
The reasons for decline are complex, multiple and their impact is cumulative. They include loss of diversity and quantity in year-round pollen and nectar-rich flowers, loss of nesting and hibernation habitat, pesticides, habitat fragmentation, climate change, disease and parasites.
Just here in the UK, in the last 60-70 years we have lost 97% of wildflower meadows, 300,000km of established hedgerows and 80% of flower-rich chalk downland. Two species of bumblebee were lost in the mid-late 20th century, eight are currently conservation priorities and two more survive in rare and limited areas.
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