Countryside Survey data used in mapping nectar plant changes since 1930s

February 2016

By linking the land-cover maps of Britain made by Sir Dudley Stamp in the 1930s with data from the Countryside Surveys of Britain run by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), scientists have shown how nectar plants declined up to the 1970s and stabilised between the 1970s and 2000, and increased between 2000 and 2007. 

The study provides new evidence to support the link between the decline in pollinators and change in nectar supply. This is an ongoing concern in Britain and many other parts of the world where pollinating insects are vital for both crop production, and maintaining the diversity of wild flowers and insects in the countryside.     

The study, published on 4th February in Nature, combines vegetation survey data recorded over the last 80 years with new measurements of nectar to provide the most comprehensive assessment of historical changes in nectar supply ever published. The research was led by the Universities of Leeds and Bristol working with scientists from CEH and Fera Science Ltd. 


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