A new research article by Dr. Anikó Kovacs-Hostyanszki (Centre for Ecological Research, Hungary) outlines the importance of pollinating insects for the overall health of ecosystems in light of the decreasing number of flower plants. Pollinating insects suffer disproportionately from large-scale farming compounded with the extensive use of chemicals as well as the expansion of urban environments and infrastructure. These practices lead to the reduction of natural habitats and flowering of wild plants, which consequently, harm plant-pollinating connections and the habitat of wild pollinators.
This Safeguard research studies the local landscape effects on pollinating insect communities and the changes in their composition, diversity, numerical presence, and plant pollination efficiency. The main goal of the researchers is to find pathways for improvement of bee colonisation with a comprehensive agri-environmental management strategy in mind.
Dr. Kovacs-Hostyanszki and her team are attempting to establish the correlation between the area size of flower plants and the health and existence of pollinating communities. The researchers are determining what proportion of flower plant areas can provide the most effective help for pollinators. To answer this, they have sown half-hectare patches with flower plants divided in two parts. Half of them are in a more diverse landscape with more natural habitats, while the other half are closer to cultivated arable land. This land will be periodically monitored and analysed in relation to the health of the flower plants and the wild pollinating species.
The study outcomes can feed into agricultural practice that will support farmers and wildlife in the best way possible in Europe and beyond. You can read the full article here
, on p.12 (in Hungarian)
Photo: Landscape in Hungary