A cooperative retailer group in the UK has unveiled an ambitious plan to create new habitat for bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths.
All over the world, bees are dying and scientists can't agree about the cause. Commonly referred to as "Colony Collapse Disorder" many believe this phenomenon is the result of excessive pesticide use on the flowers, plants, and crops that typically pollinate.
Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals at The Co-operative talks about the impact this project could have on food and environment in the UK:
"Given that honeybees alone pollinate a third of the food we eat, a further decline in their numbers could have a devastating impact on our diets in the long run. By setting up these ‘Bee Roads’ we hope to make life easier for all pollinators and reverse their alarming decline."
By encouraging and supporting landowners to create wildflower meadows, the Bee Roads will promote species such as Lesser Knapweed, Field Scabious, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Red Clover, which are becoming increasingly rare in the British countryside. These wildflowers will offer a rich habitat for a host of pollinators such as honeybees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths to find the nectar and pollen they need.
The Co-operative and its partner Buglife will create the first Bee Roads in Yorkshire, where farmers and other landowners will sow wildflowers in two long rows that will eventually stretch north to south and east to west across the county. By demonstrating the benefits of reinstating 5 hectares of lost wildflower meadows in Yorkshire, it is hoped this $98,160 pilot project will be emulated in other counties across the country, reversing the decline in pollinator numbers.
In recognition of the key role that wildflower habitats play in sustaining pollinators, The Co-operative’s Plan Bee is also giving away a further 300,000 packets of wildflower seeds in 2011.
Image Credit: Flickr - teddyllovet