Ireland buzzing as 68 organisations come together to save pollinators
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan launched, with the aim of identifying actions to help protect pollinators and the livelihoods of farmers who rely on their invaluable pollination service.
Waterford/Dublin, Thursday September 17th, 2015 – Sixty-eight governmental and non-governmental organisations, including BirdWatch Ireland, have agreed a shared plan of action to tackle pollinator decline and make Ireland a place where pollinating insects 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.
(Photo: Steven Falk)
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.
It is also about raising awareness about pollinators and how to protect them. In particular, it aims to ensure that everyone from schoolchildren to farmers, gardeners, local authorities and businesses know what pollinators need and which simple cost-effective actions they can take to help. The Plan will also support Ireland’s bee keepers in keeping our honeybees healthy.
“Unfortunately, Irish pollinators are in decline, with one third of our 98 bee species threatened with extinction,” said Dr Úna FitzPatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, who chaired the Plan steering group.
Dr Jane Stout, Associate Professor in Botany at Trinity College Dublin, who co-chaired the group, added: “If we want pollinators to be available to pollinate our crops and wild plants for future generations we need to manage the landscape in a more sustainable way and create a joined-up network of diverse and flower rich habitats as well as reduce our use of chemical insecticides. This doesn’t just mean in the countryside, but in our towns and villages as well.”
The solitary bee Colletes floralis
(Photo: Steven Falk)
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, which allows consumers to buy Irish fruit and vegetables at an affordable price. This service is worth over £7 million per annum 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 and less beautiful place. Their value to tourism and branding our produce abroad is enormous but has never been assessed in a monetary sense.
Responsibility for delivering the 81 actions has been shared out between the supporting organisations, which in addition to BirdWatch Ireland include the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Teagasc, Bord Bía, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland, An Taisce Green Schools, Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations, Iarnród Éireann, National Trust, RSPB Northern Ireland, Tidy Towns, Transport NI, Ulster Farmers’ Union, Ulster Wildlife and Waterways Ireland.
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.
A Pollinator Plan media pack including photographs and brief notes on the Plan has been prepared and is available here.