The Irish Pollinator Initiative was established by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in 2015 with the support of the Heritage Council, in order to address the critical issue of declining pollinator numbers in Ireland.
Aims and Objectives
About one third of our Ireland’s 101 native bee species are threatened with extinction. Bees are the most important pollinator of crops and native plant species in Ireland, and according to a recent study by the Department of the Environment, are worth an estimated €85 million per annum to the Irish economy. “Habitat loss and the intensification of agriculture have resulted in a crisis in Irish bees,” said Dr Úna FitzPatrick, an ecologist at Ireland’s National Biodiversity Data Centre.
The main aims of the Irish Pollinator Initiative are to:
- Collate data on Irish pollinators;
- Identify and track those species of pollinator that are most at risk of extinction;
- Monitor wild pollinators across the landscape to detect the early warning signs of a threat to Irish pollination service;
- Support the agricultural/horticultural industries by identifying pollinator hotspots and areas lacking in pollinators;
- Identify which species are most effective in pollinating each of the crops on which the Irish food industry is reliant;
- Provide an evidence base to advise and support pollinator conservation initiatives.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 published in September 2015 identifies 81 actions to make Ireland pollinator friendly. It provides an important framework to bring together pollinator initiatives across the island and is the start of a process for collectively taking positive steps to protect Irish pollinators and the service they provide.
The Irish Pollinator Initiative website provides a centralised information source on the importance of pollination, and on the ecology, distribution, and conservation of Ireland’s key pollinators.
The Irish Pollinator Initiative is entirely reliant on the generosity of volunteer recorders who get involved and submit data on Ireland’s bees and hoverflies. It offers a range of opportunities for everyone to contribute, learn and get involved through reporting casual sightings of bees and hoverflies and taking part in the Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme to making your garden more pollinator friendly.