The Trust is commending research which could help Scotland’s capital become a safe haven for pollinators.
Researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and Reading in collaboration with the University of Cardiff studied pollinating insects at urban, farmland and nature reserve sites in 12 UK towns and cities including Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
It discovered that the overall number of pollinating insects at urban sites was similar to farmland sites and nature reserves. Interestingly, the researchers also encountered more species of bees in urban environments than farmland, suggesting that if urban areas can be managed with wildlife in mind, they could be a refuge of biodiversity in an otherwise hostile landscape.
Two of the experts involved with the research, Professor Graham Stone and Damien Hicks are working with City of Edinburgh Council’s Parks and Greenspaces department to ensure these new findings are utilised for the Edinburgh Living Landscape project.
Damien Hicks said: “Urban habitats have a unique and high diversity of plant resources. The ecological management and scientific research promoted by the Edinburgh Living Landscape project could set the bar for monitoring the urban environment.”
Head of Policy and Planning at Scottish Wildlife Trust, Dr Maggie Keegan, said: “This study shows that urban green spaces are great for bees – and that if we play our cards right, we could turn Edinburgh into a safe haven for pollinators.
“Edinburgh Living Landscape hopes to demonstrate that by making small changes such as converting amenity grassland to wildflower meadows, tree planting and other wildlife-friendly measures, public parks can become important conservation areas for pollinators. This has an added benefit for Edinburgh’s citizens, as they get even more beautiful areas to enjoy in their local parks.”
The Edinburgh Living Landscape is a partnership project between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, GREENSURGE and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to bring a transformational change to the city’s urban environment.