Imagine trying to travel around Britain without our road and rail network.
Or imagine if nine out of every ten miles of road just didn’t exist – life would be impossible! Well for much of our wildlife this is the reality - it is confined to tiny fragments of habitat and unable to move across the countryside as our climate and landscape rapidly changes. It has been predicted that 40-70% of species could go extinct if action is not taken to enable species to disperse through the landscape.
Why do we need action?
Over 3 million hectares of flower-rich grassland have been lost in Britain since the 1940s through agricultural intensification to produce more home-grown food, and through wider development (housing, transport infrastructure and industry). This loss has contributed towards a serious decline in the wildlife which depends on this wildflower-rich habitat. Bees, butterflies and hoverflies, many of which act as important pollinators for agricultural crops have all been affected - a major concern for the agricultural sector. The value of natural pollinators to agriculture is valued at more than £400 million in Britain alone.
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Small skipper © Richard Smith
Marmalade hoverfly © Richard Smith
Buff-tailed bumblebee © Richard Smith
Although much is already being done through current agri-environment schemes, and the work of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, more is needed. The creation of thin strips of wildflowers for pollinators has helped increase food supply (pollen and nectar) for many insects however this work has limited value - it is short-term and does not provide all of the necessary conditions for wildlife to either survive or expand its range.
To find out more about the B-lines Project click on this link.