This week, conservation charity Buglife are launching a complete B-Lines map for Scotland. B-Lines is our response to the decline of bees and other pollinating insects, a plan for how to reconnect our wild places by creating a network of wildflowers across our landscapes.
Our precious pollinators are disappearing from large parts of the countryside – there are fewer bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths – and as well as the loss of abundance, some species are at risk of extinction in Scotland. But we can change this, by working together to restore wildflower areas in our countryside and urban areas we can aid nature’s recovery.
B-Lines provide an opportunity to create a network of wildflower-rich areas across Scotland providing essential routes for pollinators to use. The B-Lines network in Scotland includes our best habitats and identifies key areas to restore and create new wildflower-rich meadows, important grassland verges and pollinator friendly gardens. B-Lines can be adopted by farmers and landowners, local authorities and the general public across all of Scotland.
Patrick Harvie, Species Champion for the Red mason bee, MSP for Glasgow and co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party said “It’s hard to overstate the important role that pollinating insects play in keeping our environmental life-support system running. Their decline is a serious problem throughout the world, but as Buglife’s B-Lines map shows we can all play a positive role in helping them recover, by making changes in our own local communities and by demanding policy change from government too.”
Buglife Scotland Manager, Natalie Stevenson, said “launching B-lines across Scotland will help us forge strong regional partnerships so together we can improve habitats and ensure that the important ecological services provided by pollinators can be sustained. People across Scotland are realising how critical invertebrates are for a nature-rich future and are beginning to change the way they manage our grasslands, but there is so much more we can do. Let us have those critical conversations now and lead the change for our future.”
Everyone who manages land across Scotland can help to restore our pollinator populations. Take a look at the B-Lines map and see if your farm, garden, local park or other land you manage is on a B-Line. And if you would like to get involved please contact us at Buglife Scotland.
We would like to thank the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for supporting this project, and the help of all the local and national partners who have helped us to map the B-Lines network for Scotland.
Aberdeenshire Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Peter Argyle, said: “In my capacity as one of our Biodiversity Champions for Pollinators, I am delighted to support the identification of a network of B-Lines in Aberdeenshire which will identify important pathways for a wide range of insects and other species. This will help to protect and hopefully enhance these areas to create more opportunities for wildlife.”
Fellow Biodiversity Champion Cllr Leigh Wilson added: “Aberdeenshire’s coastline supports a fantastic diversity of grassland and heathland habitats and I am pleased to support the identification of much of the coastline of Aberdeenshire as a B-Line together with other important pathways such as river valleys. Pollinating insects are essential to healthy, functioning ecosystems as they have a key role in the reproduction of many plant species.”
Alex Stuart, Co-ordinator for the Partnership said, “Maintaining and improving these areas, and the network they form across the whole of Scotland, is a vital step in helping combat the loss of pollinators and the plant species they need such as our native wildflowers. We look forward to continuing to work closely with all three local authorities to make sure our B-lines are buzzing.”
Ged Connell, Countryside Ranger for Moray Council, says, “Changes in land use such as modern farming practices and new transport links has led to a serious decline in the wildlife depending on wildflower-rich habitat. We are happy to work in partnership with B- lines which will create more flower rich habitats in Moray providing more opportunities for wildlife and insect pollinators to thrive.”
From Angus, Dundee, Perth and Kinross
Catherine Lloyd (Tayside Biodiversity Partnership) says, “With some 600 actions to achieve in the current Tayside Biodiversity Action Plan, there will be many opportunities to create links between local wildlife initiatives to contribute towards this exciting landscape-scale project. Our community projects – especially the Green Graveyard Initiative, Biodiversity Villages, BeeWild For Pollinators and orchard projects – engage all ages, all abilities; we are really looking forward to being involved in bringing B-Lines to Tayside.”
Kelly Ann Dempsey, Environmental Strategy Project Officer at Angus Council, says, “Angus is a county of contrasting landscapes from upland glens, to high quality farmland and coastal grasslands and dunes. Although projects are already underway to protect and increase flower-rich habitats for pollinators, the presence of B-Lines traversing the landscape will provide focus for communities and policy makers in creating more opportunities for wildlife”
From Dumfries and Galloway
Ed Tooth, RSPB Conservation Officer, says, “We are very excited about the launch of the B-lines map today. The importance of wildflower-rich habitats cannot be underestimated, and such habitats are becoming increasingly scarce in Dumfries & Galloway. Linking existing good-quality wildflower-rich habitat and boosting populations of insects will ensure the long-term survival of some important and declining bird species in Dumfries & Galloway; from woodlands for pied flycatcher and wood warbler, to urban parks and gardens for spotted flycatcher and swift. We would encourage everyone, regardless of whether you are on a B-line or not, to get involved with improving your local area for pollinators, without which much of the wildlife we know and love would not survive.
Mark Pollitt, manager of South West Scotland Environmental Information Centre, said, “Flower-rich habitats play a key role in supporting many of our important pollinators. I hope the new B-lines can encourage individuals, landowners, local authorities and conservation agencies to work together to create and enhance a network of flowery corridors that becomes greater than the sum of its individual parts.”
From the Highlands
Caroline Vawdrey from the Highlands Environment Forum, says, “Caring for nature and partnership working are the foundation stones of the Highland Environment Forum work, and B-lines fits that approach perfectly. It’s an ambitious project that could make a huge difference to insects survival in many parts of the Highlands. Some of our member organisations have already been active in creating the B-line maps with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation and RSPB all sharing their expertise to make sure that the B-lines are the best. The Forum is working with partners to create the next Highland Biodiversity Action Plan, and this is just the sort of project that excites us – it’s ambitious, works at a huge landscape level, and there’s so many ways that people can get involved, from creating suitable habitat to recording their favourite bugs and bumbles.”
Thomas Wells, RSPB Orkney said “The Orkney B-line represents existing areas of rich wildflower habitats, which are so essential in supporting species such as the Great yellow bumblebee, one of the Uk’s rarest bumblebees. Creating more wildflower habitats and connecting the areas to form a ‘pollinator corridor’ across the islands, is crucial to ensuring the survival of these bumblebees and other important pollinating species in Orkney. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to get involved – whether a window box or a small wildflower plot in the garden, a few pots in a school yard, or a large field, everyone can help to increase the spread of native wildflowers and extend Orkney’s B-line!”
From the Outer Hebrides
Katy Malone, Conservation Officer at Bumblebee Conservation Trust, says, “I feel – and am – so incredibly fortunate to be able to work with local communities and individuals in the Outer Hebrides. I’ve seen some our rarest bees and some of the most incredible habitats in Britain here. However, even these are under threat, and we should not be complacent. The B-lines programme is a great way to recognise where our most important natural places are, and to help connect them so that bees can continue to thrive.”
From the Borders
Derek Robeson (Senior Conservation Officer, Tweed Form) said ‘Along with our partner organisations, we are very pleased to be working with Buglife to help promote the B-Line network across the Scottish Borders. Encouraging land managers and community groups to get involved with wildflower grassland management and creation, will help people re-engage with the wonders of the natural world around us.’
Natalie Harmsworth of The Wildlife Information Centre says, ““Pollinators are a vital component of our biodiversity, but both pollinators and the species-rich grasslands that they depend on are under threat. The completed B-Lines map for the Scottish Borders will help provide a focus for conservation action in the region and will provide a tool to both educate and inspire local communities to create or enhance local habitats for the benefit of pollinators and other wildlife.”
Paul Harvey, Project Officer at the Shetland Amenity Trust says, “The B-lines project has identified important habitats for pollinators across Shetland which should form a corridor allowing bumblebees and other insects to thrive in the islands, and everyone lying on a B-line can get involved with or support the project. Bumblebees and other pollinators are an important indicator of the health of our environment, and being large and noisy, they are also noticed by folk in their gardens. along roadside verges and in the wider countryside.”
Nathalie Pion, RSPB Scotland conservation advisor in Shetland says: “The B-Line will focus our attention to some of the best existing habitats for pollinators in Shetland. It will create a network of flower-rich habitats from Sumburgh to the north of Unst, going through Cunningsburgh, Whiteness, across the Westside to Northmavine, Yell and Fetlar. We are keen to see many people along the line getting involved and supporting the initiative for the benefit of bumblebees and other pollinators.”