Ministers Pippa Hackett and Malcolm Noonan today announced support for a pilot initiative to establish a National Pollinator Monitoring Scheme. The scheme will track changes in wild pollinators across Ireland and is part of an initiative across much of Europe..
Announcing the scheme, which will monitor wild pollinators (bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and butterflies) across a network of 50 sites incorporating farmland, semi-natural and public land, Minister Hackett said:
‘I am delighted to see my department collaborating with the NPWS to support this pilot. It will support the All Ireland Pollinator plan and proposed EU pollinator monitoring requirements by establishing a robust national monitoring framework. This will deliver key metrics on pollinator population status and trends, and complement the long-term citizen science monitoring that is already being done through the All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme.‘
Minister Noonan said: “We committed to a Pollinator Plan in the Programme for Government and this work is a substantial contribution to improving our understanding of, and conservation of, bees and other important pollinators. This National Pollinator Monitoring Scheme will build on the existing programmes of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, bringing added value to the work of the Centre in Waterford. We have seen great strides in caring for pollinators in towns and villages, parks and gardens and I hope we will see the same in the farming landscapes of Ireland in the years to come.
I want to acknowledge the Heritage Council in facilitating this collaboration between our two Departments and the Data Centre.”
Dr Liam Lysaght, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre noted that, “Monitoring biodiversity is an essential first step in the protection of pollination and other ecosystem services, for polices or actions to be effective they must have a sound evidence base’. The National Biodiversity Data Centre looks forward to working with NPWS and the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to deliver this evidence base.”
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-2025 is supported by both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. It identifies a clear need for long-term monitoring mechanisms for wild pollinators, so that the impact of the Plan can be properly assessed. The EU Pollinators Initiative (2018) calls on Member States to develop national pollinator strategies and to establish monitoring mechanisms, with indicators to enable evaluation of actions taken to tackle the decline of pollinators. In announcing this new initiative, Ireland places itself at the forefront of pollinator conservation in Europe.