HLF grant to Bumblebee Conservation Trust to fight bee decline

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £340,000 to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to help stop the species' population decline.

HLF grant aims to help arrest decline in bumblebee populations - image: HLF
HLF grant aims to help arrest decline in bumblebee populations - image: HLF

The grant will fund a three-year conservation project based at Stirling University to conserve a variety of endangered bumblebee species and their habitats throughout the UK.

Working with landowners, farmers, schools and the general public the project will help inform te public about how best to protect the insects.

Flower-rich habitat will be provided to reconnect small isolated populations while a publicity programme including an interactive website, community talks, learning packs for children and a national wildlife self-assessment garden scheme will be rolled out across the country.

Volunteers are a key part of the project and it is anticipated that, after training, around 500 regular bumblebee recorders will continue to gather information on population trends.

Bumblebees are fundamental to the ecosystem with hundreds of species of wildflowers, fruits and vegetables being dependent on them for pollination. However over the last 70 years there has been a dramatic decrease in their population with two species becoming totally extinct and six of the remaining 24 species now listed as UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species.

Chief executive of the HLF Carole Souter said: "This is a critical moment for the survival of the bumblebee population. If it continues to decline at current rates then crops, wildflowers and landscapes will also suffer."  

"We’re excited to be supporting the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s plans to help get people outdoors and actively involved in protecting these special insects."

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