A new island-wide plan to halt the decline in Ireland’s bees and other pollinators was officially launched yesterday by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
Backed by by 68 governmental and non-governmental organisations across the Island of Ireland, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 identifies actions we can take on our farmland, public land and private land to make them more pollinator friendly. In all the plan documents 81 of these actions, include things like creating pollinator highways along the verges of Ireland’s transport networks, managing our public parks with pollinators in mind, and looking at our gardens as refuelling stops for bees.
You can find full details of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, and download your own PDF copy of the document, from the National Biodiversity Data Centre website.
With the launch of the plan yesterday Ireland leapfrogged to the forefront of pollinator conservation, becoming one of the first countries in Europe to adopt an official strategy to halt pollinator decline and safeguard the invaluable pollinator services they provide.
“Unfortunately, Irish pollinators are in decline, with one third of our 98 bee species threatened with extinction,” said Dr Úna FitzPatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, who chaired the Plan steering group. “Bees are declining because we’ve drastically reduced the areas where they can nest and the amount of food our landscape provides for them.”
Declines in wildflowers make finding enough food a real challenge for pollinating insects, and many starve. Managing crops for ever increasing yields over recent decades has had a severe impact on areas where wildflowers once thrived. Our tendency to “tidy up” any wild space, rather than let wildflowers flourish along roadside verges and field margins, parks and gardens also hits our pollinators hard.
The pollinator plan isn’t just about protecting pollinators either — and the knock-on benefits to other wildlife healthier wildflower and pollinator populations will provide — it’s also about protecting the livelihoods of Ireland’s farmers and growers, who’s prosperity depends on the free pollination services bees and other pollinating insects deliver year-in, year-out.
This is much more than a plan to help our pollinators — this is a plan to help secure the future prosperity and well being of the Island of Ireland. If successful it will make Ireland a much better place by 2020 — not just for pollinators, but also for people.