Pollinating insects, such as, but not exclusive to, bees, are vital for our survival - we depend on them to pollinate our crops and thus feed us!
Disastrously, for both them and us, their numbers are in extraordinarily decline - for example, half of our 27 bumblebee species are declining in numbers, and three of these have, unfortunately, already gone extinct. The B-Lines project, led by Bug Life, and supported by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, aims to reverse this trend. The aim of the project is to create corridors of suitable pollinator habitat, such as wildflower meadows and road verges, that link up right across the UK. By increasing the amount and improving the connectivity, of this habitat, pollinator species will be able to travel easier to find more food and mates, which will result in more food on our plates.
Shropshire Wildlife Trust has collaborated with Buglife to create and develop the B-Lines within Shropshire. Initially, we provided the location of suitable pollinator habitat within the county, which they used to create a habitat map. This map displays habitats of differing quality for pollinators, from good to excellent, in addition to showing the connectivity of these areas of habitat.
Buglife invited us to a workshop with the aim of linking up these existing habitats to create B-Lines. Our Evidence and Data Officer - Joe Phillips - attended this workshop and offered his expert advice to identify the most suitable location for the B-Lines to be placed, the results of which can be seen in the above map. The next step is to utilise this map to prioritise work restoring and creating pollinator habitat to areas within a B-Line.
The Nature Recovery Network aims to restore and create habitat of all kinds to benefit all species on a wide scale. Akin to B-Lines, the aim is to increase the amount of habitat, and improve how joined up areas of habitat are, both across the county, and the country. A Nature Recovery Network map will identify suitable areas for this work to be carried out. We will incorporate B-Lines in to this map to ensure pollinator species are well accounted for.