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Invest in pollinator monitoring for long-term gain


New research shows that for every £1 invested in pollinator monitoring schemes, at least £1.50 can be saved, from otherwise costly independent research projects.

A research team from the University of Reading and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is studying how to improve pollinator monitoring in the UK in a cost-effective manner. Dr Tom Breeze, researcher at the University of Reading, said, “The study shows that scientifically robust pollinator monitoring schemes, regardless of their size or structure, are cost-effective and add tremendous value to food security and wider scientific research.”

Bioeconomic models were used to estimate the impact of pollinator losses on the yields of insect pollinated crops in the UK including apples, berries, beans, oilseed rape and tomatoes. The study concluded that these hypothetical monitoring schemes would be cheaper to implement than multiple research projects because administrative and management costs are lower, due to a single centralised network, rather than several, devolved smaller projects.

“Pollinators are vital for our food security but are under threat from landscape and climate changes. Monitoring pollinator populations is vital to understanding the status and trends of these animals and identifying areas where we need to take dedicated action,” added Dr Breeze. It is hoped monitoring will “protect pollination services to crops and add value as scientific infrastructure.”

Photo caption: Short-fringed mining bee, Andrena dorsata

Photo credit: Tom Breeze