It’s a scary time for the world’s pollinators. A study published in February warned that more than 40 percent of the world’s insects could go extinct within the next 30 years. Another study published in Nature in March found that a third of wild pollinator species in the UK had declined since 1980.
But one North London council has a plan to fight this trend: a seven-mile “bee corridor” of wildflowers seeded through Brent Council’s parks and green spaces.
“Bees and other insects are so important for pollinating the crops that provide the food that we eat,” Brent Councillor Krupa Sheth told London’s Evening Standard. “We must do all we can to help them to thrive.”
The corridor will combine 22 wildflower meadows and should be in bloom this summer. The flowers will help not only bees, but also butterflies, dragonflies and moths.
“The team curated the mix of wildflowers with bees and other insects in mind, choosing varieties that would attract these pollinators,” Projects Manager Kelly Eaton said, as BBC News reported.
That mix included ragged robin, cowslip and common poppy. Workers are currently plowing the selected meadows and will then begin planting. The council said it believed the initiative was the first of its kind in London, according to The Independent.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called the corridor a “fantastic initiative” in a Tweet Monday.
The decline in wildflowers and other natural habitat in the UK has been cited as one reason for the decline in pollinators. Since World War II, more than 97 percent of the country’s wildflower meadows have disappeared, The Independent reported. Other likely reasons for the decline of bees and other pollinators are pesticide use and climate change, according to the March study.
Brent Council announced the plan the same week as a major UN report on biodiversity, which warned that human activities had caused wild mammal populations to fall 82 percent since 1980, halved the space occupied by natural ecosystems and continue to threaten one million species with extinction, according to The Independent.
“The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being,” UN Biodiversity Chief Robert Watson said ahead of the report’s release. “Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come.”
In this context, the “bee corridor” could be seen as a small part of the solution.
“I’m proud of Brent’s commitment to boost biodiversity in the borough and look forward to seeing the meadows in full bloom in just a few months’ time,” Sheth said, as The Independent reported.