Findings from a new scientific study, released today (October 27) by the Countryside Survey Partnership, show the total effect of changes to small patches of land over a number of years ‘could be’ one of the factors in the decline of pollinating insects such as bees.

According to the report it is the first time evidence has proved a link between air pollution and land use change

The report finds the decline is mainly due to nectar providing plants being crowded out by the growth of more competitive plant species.

Plant overgrowth is linked in the report to reduced land management and air pollution, where nitrogenous compounds pollute the air and acts as a fertilizer.

The Countryside Survey Integrated Assessment report examines the status and trends of ecological processes that have value for individuals or society within Great Britain.

Lead author of the report, Dr Simon Smart from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said: “This new analysis, possible because of a unique national dataset, delivers, for the first time, evidence that key global change phenomena such as air pollution and land use change have affected delivery of ecosystems services across the British countryside over the last two decades.

“As well as measuring different services, such as pollination, we’ve also determined possible causes of changes in services over time, and even modelled what might happen under a number of ‘what if’ scenarios.”

Luke Walsh

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