The city of Utrecht in the Netherlands offers 316 bus stops with spectacular flowering greenery. In turn, these flowers draw the attention of bees to stop by and pollinate.
Actually, the Netherlands started this project once they realized that more than half of their 358 species of bees are endangered. There are also many other great benefits including storing rainwater and improving the city’s air quality by capturing fine dust.
Bees, along with other beneficial insects, are being wiped out by the loss of their habitats, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. Adding to that, even “safe” pesticides are reaching toxic levels in pollen.
According to the University of Maryland, the US beekeepers have lost 30% of their bee colonies over last winter and the current administration has sided with the market use of weed-killing substances such as glyphosate while no longer collecting quarterly data on honeybee colonies.
Not Just Bees
Even though honeybees are the best known, they are just one of 4,000 native North American bee species that are being threatened. The list of insects disappearing at an alarming rate include:
- Carpenter bees
- Orchard bees
- Monarch Butterflies
- Leaf Cutters
- And even Bats
Bees benefit from plentiful supplies of food sources found in urban settings along with the other above mentioned insects. Their decline is also a threat to human food supplies.
Pollination is needed for almost three-quarters of the world’s food crops and just bringing in honeybees or tiny pollinating drones will not replace the benefits that come from wild insets that have lost their habitats.
According to a recent study by scientists at the University of Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, and Reading, cities around the world could play a very important role in conserving pollinators.
City environments are the places where pollinators are found. Loss in coastal and wetlands that are near rivers and streams where biodiversity would otherwise be high.
Also, residential and community gardens can play an important role in attracting pollinators with certain plants such as lavender, thistles, buttercups, dandelions, and starflowers.
The Middle of the Road is Also a Good Option
The study also encourages projects for public parks, medians, and sidewalk strips for creating green spaces for plants that attract pollinators. People are encouraged to mow a lot less often so these plants can flower more often.
There should be a lack of pesticides but offer water sources in undisturbed areas where insects can build nests.
Ecologists and researchers believe there should not be such a striking division between modern urban areas and the natural world.
They have argued that nature needs urban areas in order to survive as well, and they are calling for the development of a lot more green infrastructure like landscaping, urban farming, access to nature, and gardens that will reduce flooding in urban landscapes.
They have also stressed creating pollinator-focused efforts using the monarch butterfly as a perfect example. Research has shown that preserving the monarch butterfly will also benefit urban wildlife habitats.
Trends that have taken over urban areas have managed to displace nature in landscapes that are only existing where cities are not present.
Urban life has managed to distance itself from nature because too many people living in cities have no knowledge or experience to create greenery.
On the other hand, many conservation groups have achieved incredible results in places that are not in the urban world and the effects have been excellent in changing American people’s thinking.
With larger protected areas being created, many people see, experience, understand, and use these areas to enjoy nature’s many benefits.
There is more literature hitting the shelves showing that metropolitan areas are important for wildlife conservation. Landscapes that have been developed offer the potential to maintain and create habitats for a large variety of species including migratory and threatened endemic species.
Habitats within and between US cities can help connect the dots for monarch butterflies, pollinators such as bees, and birds located along pathways from Mexico to Canada and back again!
It’s wonderful to know that individual cities around the world are now taking the initiative to create projects like wildlife corridors, shoreline restoration, large urban parks, and integrated city planning that works with nature, not against it.
If cities can’t seem to do it themselves, then maybe we all need to form gardening groups to make it happen.