Europe is home to an amazing variety of insects that pollinate cultivated and wild plants. This diversity is essential for healthy nature and a high quality of human life. Three quarters of cultivated plants and 87% of wild plants need pollinators to produce crops and seeds. However, in recent decades, the number and diversity of honey bees, wild bees, flies, butterflies and beetles have been declining globally, with the loss of their nesting sites and food sources playing a major role. Many species are on the brink of extinction.
The Centre for Ecological Research has published a new technical brochure entitled Pollinator-friendly cities - options for supporting pollinating insects in the urban environment, which is available for download on the Centre's website. The publication looks at opportunities in the municipal environment to help protect pollinators and maintain pollination.
These objectives are also set out in the European Union's 2018 Pollinator Strategy, which calls for society to understand the causes of pollinator decline and to halt their decline. Cities and villages can be havens for many pollinating insects, providing them with food and nesting sites. With proper planning and attention, settlements can be transformed into pollinator havens, and the payback is immediate, as rich insect communities ensure that our crops, flowers and trees are properly pollinated.
Pollinators are responsible for reproduction of the majority of plant species and yield of different crops. Bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other pollinators have therefore high ecological and economic importance, and their severe decline has to be stopped. Conservation and maintenance of pollinators is a major concern in both agricultural and natural habitats, while all people can be challenged in their own home to do something for them. Research associate professor of the Lendület ES group, Anikó Kovács-Hostyánszki edited a short booklet to disseminate knowledge and some of the key messages of the Assessment Report of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) for the Hungarian public. The booklet explains in a concise and comprehensible way the diversity, importance, status and trends of pollinators, the drivers that affect and threat them and those possibilities that might help to mitigate their decline. It contains a list of plant species that can be planted in any gardens or balcony, providing flower resources for pollinators during the year, and the way to create nesting places easily from wood, reed stems or pine cones. The booklet aims to transfer science to public to conserve pollinators for our future, together.
A growing body of scientific evidence shows that a connection with nature is an important part of human well-being. Connecting with nature and experiencing nature improves our mental health. And if we lack access to nature, if our experiences of nature are poor, our well-being can decline and our physical and mental health can deteriorate. In this publication, we present the links between nature and mental health.