Bees and other pollinating insects are in trouble. That’s of great concern to us, since 80% of our edible crops and wild plants depend on pollination. In an expanding region around Leiden, Green Circle Bee Landscape has been working since 2015 with numerous parties (science, government, industry, social organisations, farmers and citizens) to create a network of green spaces, gardens, grounds, meadows and field margins populated by flowers. And it’s helping! The number of bee species has already increased by 34% in the space of just three years. A bee landscape is not only good for bees, it also ensures the pollination of our food crops and for a basic ecological quality in an area. Greater numbers of diverse flowering plants provide food for more insects, and in turn, these insects are food for birds and other small animals, so that these have a greater chance of survival too. This makes the landscape livelier and more colourful. The bee, therefore, gives biodiversity wings as it were, and boosts the amenity value for residents and holidaymakers.
The bee landscape is driven by the social network formed by the enthusiastic partners with a shared ambition. Green Circle Bee Landscape provides this social network with the necessary knowledge about the ecological network. The circle also organises regular network meetings and separate knowledge meetings for green managers.
The partners work together to create an ecological network with sufficient flowers from early spring to late autumn, as well as sufficient nesting space. This network consists of Bed and Breakfast (B&B) areas. These are relatively large areas where bees can both nest and find food. These are linked by landscapes that are well-stocked with flowering plants, and with small, bee-friendly refuelling stations.
AWARENESS AND ACTION PERSPECTIVE
How can the partners contribute to the bee landscape? Green Circle Bee Landscape provides knowledge, monitoring and advice, organises network meetings for green managers and others, and uses various communication tools such as campaigns, Facebook, a website, newsletter, flyers and brochures to raise awareness among existing and potential partners such as farmers or businesses (in business parks).
KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT, MONITORING AND EVALUATION
EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten monitors the bee populations in around 50 research locations. In addition, Wageningen Environmental Research analyses the coherence of the ecological network. This systematic monitoring means that we can determine whether things are taking a turn for the better in terms of the number of bee species and the bee landscape. Monitoring enables us to make timely adjustments to further improve the ecological network.