March 2014: Pollinators vs intensive food production: Can we really have both?

Over the last 18 months, there has been growing concerns about our pollinator populations, particularly the decline in the diversity and geographical range of our native bees, which along with other insects, deliver a fundamental service of pollinating our crops (oilseed rape, orchard fruit, soft fruit and field beans). This decline is due to a combination of factors such as climate change and a change in farming practices, which is leading to a loss of suitable nesting habitat and shortages of food, particularly in early spring.

Food production remains high on our agenda – feeding the world will possibly be one of the greatest challenges we face. So how do we ensure that we provide for insects across our rural landscape whilst maintaining and striving for increased food production?

The next meeting of the Game & Wildlife Conservation APPG will debate how to reconcile food, pollinators and wider biodiversity to achieve sustainable farming. This meeting will offer the opportunity to hear first-hand from researchers on practical solutions for supporting declining pollinators, which is particularly relevant given that government will be revising its stewardship schemes offered to farmers and implementing greening measures under the new CAP.


  • Prof Richard Pywell, Head of Biodiversity Processes, Centre of Hydrology and Ecology
  • Dr John Holland, Head of Farmland Ecology, GWCT