Thousands of homeowners apply for Minnesota funding to turn lawns into bee-friendly habitats

Image of bumble bee approaching flower.

(Star Tribune) The state’s Board of Water and Soil Resources will select the first 500 or so homeowners this week to receive funding under the trial program, which will pay residents up to $350 to plant pollinator gardens or convert their traditional grass lawns to more bee-friendly yards. Interest has been high enough that the state will keep accepting applications online until early June. “We knew there were going to be a lot of applications for this, but we didn’t know we were going to get close to 6,000 of them in just this first round.”

Pollinators could thrive if improvements are made to agri-environment schemes across Europe, say researchers

Image of fly on flower.

(British Ecological Society) Researchers from Scotland’s Rural College joined forces with 22 pollinator experts from across Europe to evaluate how different Ecological Focus Area options varied in their potential to support insect pollinators such as bumble bees, solitary bees and hoverflies. Despite significant investment in EFAs, the study found they are failing to provide all the resources insect pollinators require.

Bees and crop plants subjects of new ‘pollination guide’ for Brazil

Image of wild bees on squash blossom.

(Phys.org/University of Freiburg) Over many years, researchers from the University of Freiburg have compiled data on the global pollination of major crop plants, above all, fruit and vegetables. Together with scientists from the Federal University of Ceará in Fortaleza, Brazil, they have analyzed the data and developed a “Pollination Guide” for Brazil. The guide is intended to give Brazilian farmers information on the importance of bees and other pollinating insects, so that they treat the habitats of wild pollinators with care.

New study helps California’s bumble bees by identifying their favorite flowers

Image of bumble bee in lupines.

(Entomology Today) “We discovered plants that were big winners for all bumble bee species but, just as importantly, plant species that were very important for only a single bumble bee species. This study allowed us to provide a concise, scientifically based list of important plant species to use in habitat restoration that will meet the needs of multiple bumble bee species and provide blooms across the entire annual life cycle.”

Pervasive human-driven decline of life on Earth points to the need for transformative change

Chart showing different categories of nature's contributions assessed.

(Science) Although previous large-scale environmental assessments have documented how human actions have been driving biodiversity loss and ecosystem deterioration, a recent global assessment provides an interdisciplinary and comprehensive synthesis of the evidence. It paints the clearest picture yet of how, despite humanity’s profound dependence on nature, we are altering it at a truly planetary scale, with impacts that are distributed very unequally around the world and among sectors of society. Pollination and seed dispersal is one of the 18 categories that were assessed – and it showed a consistent downward trend over the past 50 years.