Exploring Solutions to the Biodiversity Crisis Through Farmland Projects

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 07:58 am

On 30 May, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s BEESPOKE and PARTRIDGE projects presented their findings at a conference in Brussels, demonstrating potential solutions for haltting biodiversity loss and restoring the number of wild bees for crop pollination.

The two projects used the grey partridge and bees as their respective indicator species, with PARTRIDGE working with ten 500-hectare demonstration sites and BEESPOKE utilising different seed mix prescriptions for different crops.

The results of both projects have been promising, with PARTRIDGE increasing wildlife-friendly habitats by an average of 4.5% to an overall 11% since 2017, and BEESPOKE producing predictive tools to demonstrate the added value flower strips can provide for farmers.

The conference highlighted the importance of supporting farmers and economically incentivising them to make positive changes, with Laurent Govaert, a young farmer from Flanders who took part in both projects, emphasising that “We see the effect – a lot of insects, butterflies we’ve never seen before. The effect is real. If you can bring this to the people and the industries using our products, that’s good.”

Anne-Sophie Mulier, Policy & Project Officer of the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO) also spoke about the economic benefits of biodiversity, noting that “half of global GDP is linked to nature, with insect pollination worth €15 billion to the EU every single year.”

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s projects have offered an insight into how we can turn around the biodiversity crisis, and the need to increase the scale from the farm to the landscape level. The Trust will continue to work with farmers, scientists, conservationists, farm advisors, hunters, and policymakers to reverse biodiversity loss across the region and increase wild bee numbers to aid crop pollination.

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