New agri-policy must protect pollinators



Pollinator experts from across Europe joined forces to determine how effective ecological focus areas (EFAs) are at providing key resources for insect pollinators.  The study found that EFA options were currently under delivering due to uptake bias towards productive EFA options (e.g. Nitrogen-fixing crops and catch crops) and poor habitat quality. 


Agri-environment schemes, insect pollinators

Period17 Feb 2020

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleNew agri-policy must protect pollinators
    Media name/outletThe Scottish Farmer
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionFUTURE AGRI-ENVIRONMENT schemes must include plans to protect pollinators – according to a new study led by Scotland’s Rural College.

    Pollinating insects need flower-rich habitats to survive and a decline in their numbers in recent years has been attributed to intensive farming and the associated loss of flower-rich habitats which provide food, nesting and breeding sites.

    More than 20 pollinator experts from 18 different countries looked at a range of wildlife habitats on farmland – named Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) – to determine how well they support insect pollinators such as bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies.

    In a bid to decrease the environmental impact of agriculture, the 2014 EU CAP defined a set of habitat and landscape features that farmers needed to incorporate in order to receive basic farm payments.

    However, despite significant investment in EFAs, the study found they are failing to provide all the resources insect pollinators require.

    The study has found that pollinating insects could thrive if improvements are made to future agri-environment schemes across Europe, recommending that the Common Agricultural Policy post-2020 should incorporate these findings. This could potentially extend to the Scottish Agricultural Bill which is yet to define its future agri-environment requirements and funding model.

    With over 70% of crops worldwide relying on insect pollinators, experts have highlighted the need to create a variety of interconnected, well-managed habitats that complement each other in the resources they offer.

    Lead researcher and agricultural ecologist at SRUC, Dr Lorna Cole said: “With the CAP post-2020 fast approaching, our study highlights that to effectively conserve pollinators, we need to improve habitat quality. With different habitats offering different resources we also need to focus on increasing habitat diversity to ensure that our countryside provides the range of resources that pollinators require.”
    PersonsLorna Cole