How can urban habitats be made to serve pollinator conservation? An informative ’roundtable’ of researchers & ecologists world wide, including Caragh Threlfall (Uni of Melbourne) focussing on how the story of the importance of pollinators can be told and supported. Dr Caragh Threlfall’s research is focussed on understanding the impact of urban form on biodiversity, measuring the services biodiversity provides across urban landscapes, and assessing the effectiveness of urban greening for biodiversity conservation. Caragh Threlfall is also involved in Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub (CAUL) an interdisciplinary team funded under the Australian Governments National Environmental Science Program which is focussed on researching air quality, urban ecology, urban planning, urban design, public health and green infrastructure in Australia.
If you start losing pollinators it affects not only the biodiversity in the landscape as they are pollinating not only our food, but the food for a wide range of birds and small mammals. Often the species in decline have very close associations with the local indigenous plants of the region and they co-evolved together. According to community ecologist Dr. Mick Hanley, “Biodiversity needs to be incorporated into urban planning in a much more strategic way than it has been done so far.” The 2016 study from Plymouth University found that cities can provide vital refuges for insect pollinators.
BEE Friendly cities include a number of European cities involved in BEE Week, Stroud UK , Toronto,and Shorewood USA. They have dramatically reduced pesticide use or banned neonicotinoid usage in public spaces including schools, parks and roadside plantings. Here are Ways to reduce pesticide use in your local electorate.
Bee City USA fosters ongoing dialogue in urban areas to raise awareness of the role pollinators play in our communities and what each of us can do to provide them with healthy habitat.
The Bee City USA program endorses a set of commitments, defined in a resolution, for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which are vital to feeding the planet.
Incorporated cities, towns, counties and communities across America are invited to make these commitments and become certified as a Bee City USA affiliate.
For the Love of Bees- A City Bee Collaboration in Auckland NZ , working on a wide range of artistic and community projects to make Auckland the safest city for bees in the world. Check out their interactive bee map.
Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare has been focussed on an Ecological Restoration approach towards conservation rather than a ‘War on Weeds’. Given the tropical climate and rapid growth of plants, it’s very inspiring to see their commitment. With a focus on two key areas:
- Bush Regeneration: we seek to maximise habitat for all indigenous species (not just plants) and to contribute to the recognition of our place in the Australian environment.
- Public Spaces: we need to reduce environmental and community health risks during landscaping and management of our public spaces.
Well worth looking at their website and contacting them for more information.
- Learn about companion planting where particular plants grown together flourish and are stronger.
- Natural Pest & Weed Control shows how to encourage pest predators in your garden.
- Integrated Pest Management is a great guide by Canberra Organic Growers Group about how to manage pests & diseases using a range of strategies.
- BEE AWARE! Natural Pesticides Neem Oil and Pyrethrum are very toxic to bees. Try garlic spray for persistent unwelcome visitors!
- Biodynamic preparations help to improve the vitality of the soil, so increasing the vigour of the plants to be more resistant to pests and diseases and also to increase the nutritional value of the food.
- Diatomaceous Earth has also been used as an effective treatment for Elm Tree Leaf Beetle instead of Imidacloprid (most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticide). 110 mature elms on Dunrossil Drive, ACT were treated in 2016 and did not develop Elm Tree Leaf beetle. For more information about Diatomaceous Earth and effectiveness for other insect control.
Around the world there is a growing movement of towns and cities taking serious measures to reduce pesticide useage for the health of the pollinators, the water and the people.
European Directive:In 2009 the European Union Member States approved the Directive 2009/128/EC of the 21 October 2009 on Sustainable Use of Pesticides (SUDP), and the movement of towns going pesticides-free is growing. However, a number of towns, regions and countries had already decided a long time ago to become pesticide free. We can learn from the examples of Belgium, Brussels, Denmark, Flanders, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Wallonia.
Beyond Pesticides works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides.
Insecticides put world food supplies at risk “The evidence is very clear. We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT,” said Jean-Marc Bonmatin, of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, one of the 29 international researchers who conducted the four-year assessment. “Far from protecting food production, the use of neonicotinoid insecticides is threatening the very infrastructure which enables it.” He said the chemicals imperiled food supplies by harming bees and other pollinators, which fertilise about three-quarters of the world’s crops, and the organisms that create the healthy soils which the world’s food requires in order to grow.
The Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems (WIA) has made a synthesis of 1,121 published peer-reviewed studies spanning the last five years, including industry-sponsored ones http://www.tfsp.info/worldwide-integrated-assessment/.A possible link between neonicotinoids and honey bee die- offs has led to a growing concern amongst beekeepers and environmentalists about the impact of these pesticides that are absorbed into the plant tissue and can be present in the pollen and nectar and can be present in lethal concentrations. Some can persist in the soil up to months after a single application and were also found in woody tissue for up to 6 years later.
Earth Justice : Bees’ Toxic problem Infograph : Excellent graphics of the problem.