The North Sea Region is intensively farmed and consequently new habitats for pollinators need to be established on farmed land. Agri-environment schemes are one mechanism that can be used to establish these habitats.
This can be an attractive option on low-yielding lands, but not always. Economic investigations revealed that the opportunity costs - i.e., from producing a crop - determine whether agri-environment options are more profitable rather than the costs associated with establishing and managing the habitat.
For highly pollinator-dependent crops, increasing pollinator habitat may be a necessity when pollination levels are low. In such situations, the landowners need to know how much land to take out of production and where to place habitat for pollinators to optimise wild bee conservation and crop pollination - or whether this needs to be done at landscape scales.
In addition, as wild bees can be quite mobile there may be opportunities for land managers to work together at a landscape scale to support wild bee populations. To help with this, the BEESPOKE project has developed two online tools:
Tool 1 allows users to assess freely available pollination services from existing habitats for a range of crops. It can also predict the effect of adding flower strips or nesting places on crop pollination. Predictions are available for Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK.
Check out Tool 1
Tool 2 offers country-specific tips on the best flowering species for 12 crop types. We identified the main pollinators of each crop along with the three top plant species on which they forage, excluding any that may attract pests The tips cover Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK.
Go to Tool 2
A third tool provides monitoring data from Belgium and scores how well the BEESPOKE flower mixtures for Flemish landscapes support crop pollinators and/or rare bee You can find it here.