By Leila Hopkins
We tend to think of endangered wildlife as a problem in far-away places. According to the World Wildlife Trust however, Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth, with up to 56% of wild species lost in the last 50 years.
One of the main reasons for this decline is the loss of vital habitats, such as wildflower meadows, on which bees and other insects and their predators depend for food. A staggering 97% of Britain’s wildflowers meadows have been lost since WW2.
This is why the insect conservation charity, Buglife, launched its Urban Buzz project in 2016 with the help of Plymouth City Council. The results are now blooming in mini-meadows across the city, from the Derry Cross roundabout, to Pennycomequick, to Marsh Mills, to Drake Circus.
Insects may not have the same crowd appeal as other endangered species (such as polar bears and pandas, whose gradual extinction is more obvious due to their size), but the stark reality is that insects are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, reptiles and birds.
In fact, if insect numbers keep declining at this rate, they will become extinct within the next century. But, why does this matter? As the Buglife charity points out, insects are the backbone of our ecosystem and in the words of David Attenborough, “If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.”
Buglife’s B-line project aims to act as ‘stepping stones’ for pollinators, by linking a series of pollen-rich sites together and creating a network of insect pathways around the country, with Plymouth acting as a crucial stop on the insects’ tour. So, thanks to Urban Buzz, not only do the bees benefit, but Plymouth citizens can experience wild and beautiful nature on their doorstep.
For more information on Buglife and its aims visit: