Councils should create more allotments and community garden spaces in towns and cities to help conserve bees, according to a new study.
Recent research by scientists at the Universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and Reading in collaboration with Cardiff University and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) puts cities and urban spaces at the forefront of conserving pollinators and calls on councils and city planners to increase the number of allotments and community gardens.
The Urban Pollinators Project assessed all major urban land uses for pollinators and has found that community gardens and allotments are particularly good for pollinators. Garden plants which are important food sources for pollinators include lavender, borage, dandelions, thistles, brambles and buttercups.
Recommendations from the study
The study makes some excellent recommendations which all of you community garden and allotment leaders can use when applying for funding or negotiating with your local councils:
1. Public greenspaces should be managed so they benefit pollinators. Parks, road verges and other public greenspaces make up around a third of cities but have fewer pollinator visits and resources for pollinators than other land uses. The research shows that increasing the numbers of flowers, for example by mowing less often, can help urban pollinators.
2. Gardens make up a quarter to a third of the area of UK cities and better garden management in new developments and existing gardens is likely to benefit pollinator conservation.
3. City planners and local councils should increase the number of allotments and community gardens in towns and cities. Allotments and gardens are good for pollinators as well as people and increasing their area even by a small amount could have a large positive effect on pollinators.
Here is also a series of 7 short video talks from the Urban Pollinator Project.