Perennial flower border along farmland in Huijbergen (photo: Wim Dimmers)
Our wild pollinating insect populations (wild bees, hoverflies, and butterflies) are in distress. There are around 20,000 different species of wild bees worldwide, of which around 2000 species live in Europe! A global study by IPBES from 2016 showed that wild pollinators have declined in occurrence and diversity at local and regional scales in North West Europe and North America. In Europe for example, 9 per cent of the bee and butterfly species are endangered and 37 per cent of the bee populations and 31 per cent of the butterfly populations are declining.
Many people take initiatives to help these insects but local measures are not enough. Improving the conditions for pollinators requires comprehensive and cohesive measures over a larger area to ultimately create a landscape where they can thrive: a ‘Bee Landscape’.
Farmers can contribute massively by creating flowery farmlands and borders, maintaining hedgerows and coppices, and reducing the use of chemicals.
Download this brochure to use it offline: What can farmers and their farmer organisations do? (A4, pdf, 3.2 MB)
Nobody can change the nature of a bee landscape single-handedly. It demands collaboration between multiple parties: public authorities, farmers, social organisations, and citizens. The process generally comes with its ups and downs. By collaborating closely together, participants can learn from each other and measures will be better aligned.
Illustration: Natasha Sena - Clasp Visuals
Participating in a local bee initiative or
regional network for bees/pollinators
A large part of the Northwest European landscape consists of farmland and, thus, farmers have a huge impact on the conditions for wild pollinators and are indispensable for these initiatives.
Sharing knowledge, aiding the execution of measures
Many farmers have the knowledge and equipment to create beautiful flowery borders around their fields, which helps others within the landscape network. Meanwhile, other partners can focus on other aspects.
Perennial flower border at a sugar beet field, partly cut down (photo: Wim Dimmers)
Flower border in an apple orchard (photo: Wim Dimmers)
Flower border in a pear orchard (photo: Wim Dimmers)
Flower border at a brown bean field in bloom for the first time (photo: Wim Dimmers)
The Bee Landscape Road Map describes success factors for the development of a bee landscape in various aspects. Another success factor is that the bee landscape develops harmoniously in these different aspects.
Farmers and umbrella/sector organisations may consider the activities listed below. Activities that particularly apply to umbrella/sector organisations are indicated with an *.
The assessment report of the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services on pollinators, pollination and food production. S.G. Potts, V. L. Imperatriz-Fonseca, and Ngo H. T. (eds.).
FAO's Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture
EU pollinator Information hive Interesting subpages:
Member States’ initiatives to support wild pollinator populations
Get involved: a series of technical guidance with recommendations for action for citizens, invasive alien species managers, local authorities and cities, farmers, businesses and public authorities.