Bees · Extinction · Facts · Flowers · Population

“The London Pollinator Project”

Happened to be flicking through a magazine (Gardener’s World) in a waiting room when I came across this website: http://www.savelondonbees.co.uk. It is packed full of useful info so I thought I’d go through it.

 

Help pollinators in your green space:

  1. Use Native Plants
  2. Build a Bee Condo
  3. Mow your grass less often
  4. Don’t use pesticides
  5. Plant flowers in clumps
  6. Make a mini wildflower meadow
  7. Make a pond or a watering hole
  8. Create a deadwood pile

Plant bee-friendly flowers:

  1. Plant a variety throughout the year
  2. Plant singular flowers; most hybrid and double flowers are little use to bees
  3. Plant more purple flowers; bees have a natural preference to this colour
  4. Plant tubular shaped flowers (foxgloves, honeysuckle, penstemons, snapdragons). Easy acesss for bees
  5. Spring Examples: Bluebells, Bugles, Crab apple, daffodil, flowering cherry, forget-me-nots, hawthorn, rhododendrons, rosemary, viburnum
  6. Summer Examples: Aquilegia, Astible, Campanula, Comfrey, Delphinium, Sweet Pea, Fennel, Foxgloves, Geraniums, Snapdragons, Thyme
  7. Autumn Examples: Angelica, Asters, Buddleia, Cardoon, Cornflowers, Dahlias, Fuchsia, Globe Thistle, Heather, Lavender, Penstemon, Verbena.

Bee-friendly flower resources:

  1. http://www.rosybee.com
  2. http://www.beehappyplants.co.uk
  3. beekind.bumblebeeconservation.org
  4. http://www.lbka.org
  5. http://www.plantlife.org
  6. buzzaboutbees.net
  7. urbanbees.co.uk
  8. bbka.org.uk
  9. buglife.org.uk
  10. bumblebeeconservation.org

These simple practices will help pollinators dramatically:

  1. Let it grow: cut back less often and allow plants to flower. Let a section of your garden grow wild and do what it wants
  2. Do not disturb; Leave hibernating insects and nests alone and give them places to do so.
  3. Do not use, or try to use very little, pesticides: only use if absolutely necessary as they kill off bees

Why Bees matter:

  1. These pollinators are responsible for most of our food resources.
  2. It is estimated they contribute to over £400million per year to the UK economy and £14.2billion per year to the EU economy alone.
  3. Without them, hand pollination would be required, significantly increasing the costs of fruit and vegetables.
  4. There would also be a significant decrease in wild flowers and plants.

Why are bees in decline:

  1. Change in countryside; gone from colourful wildflowers to crops and livestock.
  2. The past abundance of wildflowers supported a greater diversity of wildlife
  3. Huge increases in human populations demand a huge increase in food productions, resulting in a huge loss in wild flowers. It is estimated that 97% of our flower rich grassland has been lost since the 1930s.
  4. Decline in flowers means dramatic decline in bees; 2 species of bumblebee in the UK have already become extinct and 2 others are endangered. The same goes for outside the UK.
  5. Further info on sos-bees.org, http://www.rhs.org.uk and TEDtalks on Bee Decline

This is all useful information that shows me what is already in place to help bees in London; I need to look around more websites to see what is being done elsewhere. I could also network with these charities and projects to see if a potential collaboration or something could happen. As mentioned before, I’d love to produce these books on behalf of someone.

SOURCES:
savelondonbees.co.uk

Bees · Death · Extinction · Flowers · Food Chain

Trophic Cascade

I didn’t even realise this thing had a name.

Trophic cascades occur when predators in a food chain alter the number of prey available. For example, if there are a surge in the number of fish in a lake, there would be fewer smaller fish as more would be eaten, or vice versa. This would also have effect on the plankton available as it is not being eaten so will therefore be higher in numbers, taking effect on their prey and so on.

It is an ecological concept that is important in understanding the knock-on effects of removing certain predators or prey, which is what is usually a consequence of human activity (over fishing/pollution/etc).

top-down cascade is a trophic cascade where the food chain is disrupted by the removal of a top predator or a third/fourth level consumer.

bottom-up cascade occurs when a primary producer or primary consumer is removed and there is a reduction of population size through the community.

The theory was first introduced by Aldo Leopold. He first described the mechanism of a trophic cascade based on his observations of overgrazing of mountain slopes by deer after the human extermination of wolves. Nelson Hairston, Frederik Smith and Lawrence Slobokin are credited with introducing this concept into scientific discourse. Green world hypothesis argues that predators reduce the abundance of herbivores, allowing plants to flourish. This brings attention to the role of top-down forces (predation) and indirect effects in shaping ecological communities.

EXAMPLES:

  1. In North American lakes, piscivorous fish can dramatically reduce populations of zooplanktivorous fish, zooplanktivorous fish can dramatically alter freshwater zooplankton communities, and zooplankton grazing can in turn have large impacts on phytoplankton communities. Removal of piscivorous fish can change lake water from clear to green by allowing phytoplankton to flourish.
  2. In Pacific kelp forests, sea otters feed on sea urchins. In areas where sea otters have been hunted to extinction, sea urchins increase in abundance and kelp populations are reduced.
  3. A classic example of a terrestrial tropic cascade* is the reintroduction of gray wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone National Park, which reduced the number, and changed the behavior, of elk (Cervus elaphus). This in turn released several plant species from grazing pressure and subsequently led to the transformation of riparian ecosystems.

*Terrestrial trophic cascades were restricted to communities with relatively low species diversity, in which a small number of species could have an overwhelming influence and the food chain could operate as a linear food chain

bee-food-chain

Bee Food Chain

The one main thing in this food chain is the BEE – without them, flowers would die, meaning plants would die, meaning several species would die.

Their extinction would have a catastrophic effect on the ecosystem globally.