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A third of pollinator species in the UK have declined since 1980, a new study has found.
The research, published in Nature Communications, analysed over 700,000 biological records taken by volunteers from the UK Hoverfly Recording Scheme and the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society.
Of the 353 hoverfly and bee species examined, a tenth showed population increase while a third had decreased and the rest showed no clear trend. Solitary bees were hit the hardest, decreasing by 32%, whereas eusocial bees increased by 38%.
Decreases are likely to be due to pesticides, climate change and habitat loss.
Bees that pollinate key crops across Europe also increased by 12%. The study suggests this may be due to the implementation of schemes designed to support bumblebees in farming systems.
The study highlights a need to create new management techniques, to improve pollinator food resources and restore habitats.
Trees to Cool Cities
As cities all over the country brace for warm temperatures this summer, new research has shed light on how important trees are to keep them cool.
Surfaces like roads and buildings absorb heat from the sun and slowly release it at night. Trees, on the other hand, not only provide shade but cool air down by transpiring - releasing water into the air through their leaves.
For the study, Carly Ziter, a researcher from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, biked hundreds of miles across a midsized city in the Upper Midwest United States. Her bicycle-mounted weather station took an air temperature measurement every second.
Analysis of her data showed that the greatest cooling effect occurred in areas where canopy cover exceeded 40% of air space at the scale of a city block or larger.
The research comes as several gardens report a drop in visitor numbers last year due to high temperatures.
New Invaders at Chelsea
Potential ornamental invaders of the future are being exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year.
PhD student Tomos Jones is leading the exhibit as part of a NERC SCENARIO project at the University of Reading. They aim to spread awareness about the detrimental ecological impacts that invasive ornamental plants can have, such as out-competing native species.
Planted among current invaders, and overshadowed by Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera sp.), will be plants that have started to grow beyond the confines of the garden - a process known as naturalisation.
These include Trachycarpus fortunei, (Chinese windmill palm), Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s mantle) and Houttuynia cordata (Heart-leaved houttuynia).
Gardeners are also being asked to fill in a short survey to help identify future invaders, to help the researchers identify and control species before they become problematic to the wider environment.