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RSPB NI welcomes Pollinator Plan

Last modified: 17 September 2015

Bees on Globe thistle

Image: Andy Hay

Almost 70 organisations, including RSPB Northern Ireland, have agreed a shared plan of action to tackle pollinator decline and make Ireland a place where pollinators can survive and thrive.

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 makes Ireland one of the first countries in Europe with a strategy to address pollinator decline and protect pollination services. The initiative has generated huge support and has culminated in agreement to deliver 81 actions to make Ireland more pollinator friendly.

The Plan identifies actions that can be taken on farmland, public land and private land. These include creating pollinator highways along our transport routes, making our public parks pollinator friendly and encouraging the public to see their gardens as potential pit-stops for our busy bees.

Claire Barnett, Senior Conservation Officer at RSPB Northern Ireland, said: “RSPB NI is delighted to be involved with this ambitious project to protect Irish pollinators.

“With one third of our 98 bee species currently threatened with extinction, it’s vital that environmental organisations, businesses, local authorities and communities pull together to help give nature a home.”

She added: “By managing the landscape in a more sustainable way, creating a joined-up network of diverse and flower rich habitats and reducing the use of chemical insecticides, everyone can play their part in helping pollinators flourish.”

As part of the Plan, RSPB Northern Ireland will adopt pollinator-friendly management at its reserves where appropriate, including monitoring numbers and maintaining habitats for nesting bees.

The charity will also help monitor wild pollinators across the wider landscape and will promote training opportunities to help ensure more people have the skills to help protect our bees.

The Pollinator Plan is not just about protecting bees but also about protecting the livelihood of farmers and growers who rely on their ‘free’ pollinator service. This service is worth over £7 million per year for apples in Northern Ireland, and €3.9 million for oilseed rape in the Republic of Ireland.

Additionally, about three-quarters of our wild plants also require insect pollinators, so without pollinators the Irish landscape would be a very different place. Their value to tourism and branding our produce abroad is also enormous but has never been assessed in a monetary sense.

In coming together to protect pollinators we protect the livelihood of farmers and growers who rely on their free pollinator service, and we protect the general health of our environment. If successful, this Plan will ensure that Ireland is a much better place for pollinators by 2020.


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