Scientists are increasingly concerned that the loss of bees and other pollinators will have disastrous effects on food production and pollination services in the natural environment.
The 'ecosystem service' provided by pollinators is essential to human survival and must be preserved for future generations. But Buglife is worried that while pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies are disappearing, there is little Government effort to address the problem. Buglife believes that a very significant and radical increase in wild flower habitat area is needed to reverse the declines.
Six-spot burnet moths (Zygaena filipendulae)
© Andrew Whitehouse
B-lines would be rivers of flowers in every county, one going east west and the other north south. They would be carefully planned to avoid woods, lakes and other unsuitable habitats, but would connect people to wildlife sites to enable better appreciation of British wildlife.
The scheme would depend on a new ‘conservation credits’ scheme that would require developers and others who provide economic benefits but whose sector degrades wildlife to purchase credits that would secure wildflower habitats.
A national network of 300 m wide flower rich B-lines throughout England would:-
- Create or secure 150,700 ha of permanent flower rich grassland.
- Secure national pollination services worth £440 million/pa.
- Directly supplement pollination services over more than 2,000,000 ha (15% of the English land surface).
- Provide greater food security.
- Improve the diet of livestock, reducing methane emissions.
- Lock up CO2 in new grassland soils.
- Conserve endangered grassland biodiversity.
- Create green jobs.
- Make wildlife more accessible to people.
Buglife estimates that B-lines would cost between £30 and £40 million a year to implement.
“We are causing an extinction crisis that puts our future in jeopardy. Action is required now and Government must find a way to ensure that some of the funds that are generated by individuals and companies by damaging wildlife are used to repair wildlife.” said Matt Shardlow Chief Executive of Buglife.
|Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) © Denis Greenough|
11 wildlife charities are asking parliamentary candidates to commit to “return colour, life and vitality to the countryside”. Find out if your candidates have signed the pledge at www.wildlifepledges2010.org.uk.