August 29, 2017

Flowery Melle – Protection of insects with perennial flowers – A protection of species with aspects of environmental education

The aim of the project “flowery Melle” is to create more nutrition and help of hibernation for insects in the municipality of Melle (Lower Saxony). The nourishment situation of many bees for example has changed for the worse dramatically in the last years. The reasons are multifaceted. Notably the use of pesticides and many monocroppings in the agriculture are responsible for that. Furthermore in a culture of ‘land consolidation’ just a few places of hibernation exist (Easac 2015, Neumann 2015, Krahnstöver & Polaczek 2017, Sparmann 2017).

A specific danger is a poor regardfulness of human beings and a prioritization of economic conditions. This is shown by a high space consumption for residential or traffic areas or by agricultural patterns, which are determined by a high intensivation and automation of soil management (Wolf 2013).

Insects have a special position in the food chain. They are the accentuated medium for plant pollination. Without insects the global species diversity reduces rapidly, with serious consequences for human beings and animals.

Meanwhile well known is the bee mortality. In a survey, published by Greenpeace and the University of Exeter (2013), it is highlighted, that the stock of bees in middle Europa has decreased since 1985 of 25%. In studies, that analyzed smaller areas, a reduction up to 80% of the insect population has been observed (Sparmann 2017).

“However, wild bees have undergone global declines that have been linked to habitat loss and fragmentation, pathogens, climate change and insecticides. Recent debate about causal factors has focused on the role of neonicotinoid insecticides that are used worldwide as seed dressings to control pests of economically important crops” (Woodcock et al 2016).

According to a request at the state parliament of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsischer Landtag 2014) in the “red list” of Lower Saxony 341 species of wild bees are listed.

 

As an example the following species are highlighted, that live in the district/county of Osnabrück and are named in the “red list”:

  • Anthidium strigatum
  • Osmia adunca
  • Colletes daviesanu
  • Lasioglossum calceatum
  • Megachile versicolor

The protection of species is the highest aim of the project. The living conditions of insects (e.g. bees, wild bees, bumblebees and butterflies) have to be improved. This applies particularly the supply of pollen and nectar. In addition to that places of hibernation and breeding possibilities are created.

Furthermore by an increasing stock of insects food chains are stabilized. Moreover it is very important to raise awareness of the population that protective measures can be done easily by everyone.

To improve the situation we create many ‘flower fields’. The seeds we use for that is regional seeds.

 

Regionales Saatgut

regional seeds

A specific feature of our project is a connected neighbourhood character. Different groups (firms, associations, private people) provide areas to grow ‘flower fields’. In collaborative activities (e.g. with school classes, church groups) we work at these areas to let flowers grow. We also place big information boards there to inform about the problems of the insects and how to improve their situation.

 

Informationsschild (Lehr- und Lernschild)

information board

By now people of Melle, firms, associations etc. have offered about 80.000 m² on 38 areas.

At these areas we have created ‘flower fields’ (tilled, milled, sowed and rolled (partially supported by farmers)).

Bearbeitung einer Fläche mittels motorisierter Bodenfräse

preparing of a „flower field“ by using a milling machine

By now actually 37.000 m² are offered for 2018. We will continue the project in the next years.

Meanwhile we did:

  • Voluntaried creation of 38 ‘flower fields‘
Walzen einer Fläche

rolling of an area

  • Cooperation with 5 schools (integration of about 200 pupils)
Grundschule Oldendorf beim Aussäen

seeding with the primary school Melle/Oldendorf

  • Cooperation with different companies, associations, church groups etc. (integration of about 250 persons)
Blühfläche an der Kirche in Bissendorf/Achelriede

„Flower field“ at the church of Bissendorf/Achelriede

  • Getting the „award of the innogy climate protection price 2017“
  • Organizing a ‘flower field party‘ and an information desk about the situation of insects
Infostand

information desk

  • Intensive reports in the local press (10 articles)
  • Continous reports in a web-blog (http://blumiges-melle.de)
  • Distributing seeds for free
  • Placement of 40 information boards

By using multi-annual seeds the flower fields will create benefits also after 2017. The improvement of food supply is an important effect.

Es blüht

it blooms

Elementary will be that plant stems are not cutted. After 2-3 years they will be an important hibernation help for insects. Many landowners have guaranteed that on parts of their areas these stems won`t be reaped.

By information boards people will be called attention not to step on the ‘flower fields’. By these boards and by flyers as well people are informed what they can do for insects.

We would like to thank the Tierschutzstiftung Wolfgang Bösche. The financial support is a substantial contribution to improve the living conditions of insects in the project area.

A generous further donation by the „Tierschutz-Stiftung Wolfgang Bösche“ enabled the purchase of a new cutter bar for the Project “Flowering Melle” in the year 2017

Image: At the right the cutter bar, funded by the Tierschutz-Stiftung Wolfgang Bösche (sticked at a 13 hp motor-vehicle)

With cutter bars also huge areas of wild flowers can be mowed. Cutting and extensification is very important for flowering fields. In that way perennial flowers will grow up also in the following years.

Also the project „Flowering county Osnabrück“ is supported by Mr. Bösche.

The subsidies will be used for regional, perennial seeds and nesting aids for wild bees. We plan to produce the nesting aids in cooperation with a primary school of the county of Osnabrück. In that way also the factor of environmental education is integrated. The “gug Umweltschutz und Lebenshilfe” thanks the “Tierschutz-Stiftung Wolfgang Bösche” for his significant support of the protection of insects.

References:

Easac (Ecosystem Services, Agriculture and Neonicotinoid) 2015: Ecosystem services, agriculture and neonicotinoids. EASAC policy report 26, Halle

Greenpeace Research Laboratories & Universität Exeter (2013). Bye Bye Biene. Das Bienensterben und die Risiken für die Landwirtschaft in Europa. Hamburg

Krahnstöver, M.; Polaczek, B. (2017): Literaturstudie zum Thema Bienengesundheit: Geht es den Bienen in Städten beziehungsweise stadtnahen Gebieten besser als auf dem Land? https://www.gruene-bundestag.de/fileadmin/media/gruenebundestag_de/themen_az/tierschutz/Bienenstudie_2017.pdf

Kremen, C.; Williams, N.; Aizen, M.; Gemmill-Herren, B.; LeBuhn, G.; Minckley, R.; Packer, L.; Potts, S.; Roulston, T.; Steffan-Dewenter, I.; Vazquez D. P.; Winfree, R.; Adams, L.; Crone, E.; Greenleaf, S.; Keith, T.; Klein, A.-M.; Regetz, J.; Ricketts, T. (2007): Pollination and other ecosystem services produced by mobile organisms: a conceptual framework for the effects of landuse change. In: Ecology Letters, 10. S. 299-314.

Lautenbach, S.; Seppelt, R.; Liebscher, J. & Dormann, C. F. (2012): Spatial and Temporal Trends of Global Pollination Benefit. In: PLoS ONE, 7

Niedersächsischer Landtag (2014): Welche in Niedersachsen vorkommenden Tierarten stehen unter Naturschutz. Antwort des Niedersächsischen Ministeriums für Umwelt, Energie und Klimaschutz,12.9.2014

Sparmann, A. (2017): Tatort: Wiese. Pestizide und das Ende unserer Insekten. http://www.geo.de/magazine/geo-magazin/15815-rtkl-tatort-wiese-pestizide-und-das-ende-unserer-insekten

Urban, M. (2015): Accelerating extinction risk from climate change. In: Science. 348, 6234. S. 571-573

Wolf, R. (2013): Natur- und Artenschutzschutzrecht, in: Kluth, W. & Smeddinck, U. (Hrsg.): Umweltrecht. Wiesbaden. S. 249-308

Woodcock, B. A.; Isaac, N. J. B.; Bullock, J. M.; Roy, D.; Garthwaite D.; Crowe, A.; Pywell, A. (2016): Impacts of neonicotinoid use on long-term population changes in wild bees in England. Nat. Commun. 7:12459 doi: 10.1038/ncomms12459.