In a recent editorial piece on the decline of pollinators, University of Bergen professor van der Sluijs highlights the dramatic consequences of declining bee populations, urging researchers to pool their knowledge to help stop – and potentially reverse – this situation. Learn more about why there is no Plan B for Sweden’s bee population.
Professor van der Sluijs’ concern is justified; the European Parliament estimates that one in ten bee and butterfly species is in danger of extinction in Europe, and the problem is echoed around the world too. As the professor explains, this has potentially disastrous effects on the global food supply chain and existing ecosystems, and is one of the reasons saving the bees has to be such a priority within Sweden’s sustainability efforts. So what is currently being done today, and what more can be achieved?
A small creature of huge importance
It is estimated that 80% of all flowering plants depend on pollinating insects such as bees, which means that roughly one third of global food production (approximately $19bn worth according to US government data) depends on these tiny workers. Bees are also vital members of ecosystems, helping to encourage biodiversity. Different bees play different roles, but all are important to their environments, and to humans. In Scandinavia, the Nordic brown bee is a local species which is particularly under threat from other species of bee, and as such there has been a commitment to protect this variety as far as possible.
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Sweden’s mission to save the bees
In addition to programs to save the Nordic brown bee, Sweden is part of the EU Pollinators Initiative, which aims to monitor bee populations, research the factors causing their decline, and develop solutions. In Northern Sweden, the Umea University has launched an effort to bring together researchers and educators to raise public awareness of the plight of bees and other pollinators, and in national parks such as Store Mosse, adults and children alike are invited to help build insect hotels and learn more about the creatures. Schools are also working hard to educate the next generation about the importance of caring for bees.
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How individuals can help
In recent years, home beekeeping has grown in popularity in Sweden, and indeed around the world. If you’re not quite ready to embark on beekeeping yourself, you could support social enterprises such as Bee Urban, or Swedish bee sanctuaries such as The Bee Zone. You can also help by rejecting pesticides, building your own insect house, planting flowers and plants which attract bees – dwarf elderberry, alliums and Jerusalem sage are all popular varieties – and leaving out shallow dishes of water in warmer weather.
Why There Is No Plan B for Sweden’s Bee Population – Conclusion
Given the huge significance of this tiny creature, it’s no wonder that countries around the world are waking up to its plight. Through schemes such as encouraging the sharing of research, raising public awareness, and inviting young and old to get involved directly with bug houses and bee-friendly planting, Sweden is trying hard to reverse the decline of its bees. Time will tell whether they can achieve the sweet success they hope for.
Why There Is No Plan B for Sweden’s Bee Population, written exclusively by Karoline Gore. Karoline is a freelance writer from Stoke on Trent in the UK who left the corporate grind when she started a family and has never looked back. She enjoys contributing to a range of online publications on the topics that are important to her.
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Feature image (on top): Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny / Unsplash