Ministers Malcolm Noonan and Pippa Hackett have announced dual-department support for a pilot initiative to establish a National Pollinator Monitoring Scheme.

The scheme will track changes in wild pollinators – bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and butterflies – across Ireland and is part of an initiative across much of Europe.

The monitoring will take place across a network of 50 sites incorporating farmland, semi-natural and public land.

According to Minister of State at the Department of Housing Malcolm Noonan, this will be 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,” he explained.

“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.”

All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Pippa Hackett said the pilot 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”.

It will also “support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and proposed EU pollinator monitoring requirements by establishing a robust national monitoring framework”. 

Dr. Liam Lysaght, director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre said 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,” Dr. Lysaght added.

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-2025 is supported by both the Department of Agriculture and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing.

The second All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, launched last March, provides a five-year roadmap to help bees and nature.

The EU Pollinators Initiative 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.