A BBC report:- “A long-running campaign encouraging councils to let neatly-mown grass verges become mini meadows where wildflowers and wildlife can flourish appears to be building up a head of steam.
Since 2013, Plantlife has been telling authorities the move could help them save money and boost their green credentials.
Several have taken the message on board. An eight-mile “river of flowers” alongside a major route in Rotherham was widely praised on social media recently and roadside meadows have also popped up in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield.
So are we likely to see more from the “meadow movement” in the future?”
“The Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (PMRP) aims to establish how insect pollinator populations are changing across Great Britain.
We are working with existing recording schemes that focus on pollinating insects, and have established new large-scale surveys under the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme banner (PoMS)
PoMS is the only scheme in the world generating systematic data on the abundance of bees, hoverflies and other flower-visiting insects at a national scale (currently across England, Wales and Scotland). Together with long-term occurrence records collated by the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society and Hoverfly Recording Scheme, these data will form an invaluable resource from which to measure trends in pollinator populations and target our conservation efforts.
With reports of dramatic losses of insects occurring across the globe, and concern about what this means for wider biodiversity and ecosystem health, there has never been a more important time to document evidence of change in populations of pollinating insects.
FIT Counts: if you can spare ten minutes to sit and watch insects and flowers you can carry out a FIT Count (Flower-Insect Timed Count)! This simple survey collects data on the total number of insects that visit a particular flower, ideally chosen from our list of 14 target flowers. FIT Counts can be done anywhere, including gardens and parks, in warm, dry weather any time from April to September. If you can carry out several counts at one location during that time you will be adding extra value to your survey records. All the information you need is provided on their web site:”
A widespread loss of pollinating insects in recent decades has been revealed by the first national survey in Britain, which scientists say “highlights a fundamental deterioration” in nature.
“As spring approaches, Monmouthshire’s grounds maintenance service will work to support the environment and provide a boost for wildlife by modifying mowing practices. Teams will mark open spaces with blue or white topped stakes to highlight areas likely to be suitable habitats which have been identified by council staff, residents or through the council’s partnerships with local groups. These include Bee Friendly Monmouthshire, Bees for Development and Gwent Wildlife Trust as part of the Nature Isn’t Neat project funded by the Vale of Usk Rural Development Plan for Wales …”
Strips of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying. Guardian newspaper report:-
“The stripy fields have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops.
Long strips of bright wildflowers are being planted through crop fields to boost the natural predators of pests and potentially cut pesticide spraying. The strips were planted on 15 large arable farms in central and eastern England last autumn and will be monitored for five years, as part of a trial run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology…. ”
A Guardian newspaper article ,,, “Buying organic food is among the actions people can take to curb the global decline in insects, according to leading scientists. Urging political action to slash pesticide use on conventional farms is another, say environmentalists.”
The Guardian newspaper reports – “The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.
More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.”
Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished. A “bottom-up trophic cascade”, in which the knock-on effects of the insect collapse surge up through the food chain.
“I don’t think most people have a systems view of the natural world,” Lister said. “But it’s all connected and when the invertebrates are declining the entire food web is going to suffer and degrade. It is a system-wide effect.”
To understand the global scale of an insect collapse that has so far only been glimpsed, Lister says, there is an urgent need for much more research in many more habitats. “More data, that is my mantra,” he said.
The problem is that there were very few studies of insect numbers in past decades to serve as a baseline, but Lister is undeterred: “There’s no time like the present to start asking what’s going on.”
A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies. A Scientific American article …