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'Rivers of flowers' call after huge decline in wildflower meadows

26/03/2010 17:06:19
butterflies/meadow_brown_slant_wx

Rivers of flowers will stop the decline in bees.

Charity calls for massive increase in wild flowers
March 2010. The UK has lost more than 3,000,000 hectares of wildflower rich habitat since the second world war, but farming wildlife schemes have only recreated 6,500 ha. 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. Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is calling on Government to tackle the issue head on and create a network of wildflower meadows.

Wildflower meadows would help halt a
decline in bees. Credit Wildlife Extra.

The ecosystem service provided by pollinators is essential to human survival and must be preserved for future generations. But Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is worried that while pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies are disappearing, there is little Government effort to address the problem. The charity believes that a very significant and radical increase in wild flower habitat area is needed to reverse the declines.

B-Lines - Rivers of flowers
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).
  • 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.
  • Provide greater food security.


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.

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 http://www.wildlifepledges2010.org.uk/.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

Invest in our future

We are constantly hearing of cases of our ever decreasing wildlife diversity in the UK. The situation is simple to solve if we target it at its simplest level. If we improve the numbers and diversity of insects, then everything higher up the food chain will benefit. Why is the UK government not massively subsidising the planting of roadside verges and field margins with native species of wild flowers. Forget the costs involved, this is surely the best investment in the future of our environment.

Posted by: simon smethurst | 01 Apr 2010 21:25:41

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