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Bee-friendly urban wildflower meadows prove a hit with German city dwellers


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The mini-wilderness on Baerwaldstrasse is one of more than 100 wildflower meadows that have been planted in Germany’s largest cities over the past three years and are coming into full bloom this summer to transform urban landscapes._xlarge.jpeg

Juliana Schlaberg of Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) said her NGO was receiving more and more requests from city residents who either wanted to grow their own wildflower patches or pressure their council to stop cutting green spaces into manicured lawns.

But the rain-heavy start to this year’s German summer has created a bloom so spectacular that many a doubter has been swayed. The organisers behind the scheme deliberately mixed in endangered flowers that take two years to come into their prime with populist Akzeptanzpflanzen (“acceptance plants”) like poppies and cornflowers, which blossom after only a year. Three years on, the full floral array is on display.

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A 2017 study by the Entomological Society of Krefeld showed a 75% decline in total flying insect biomass in protected areas in Germany since 1989, with the use of insecticides, exposure to toxic exhaust fumes and above all a loss of diverse habitats cited as reasons for the drastic decline.

The findings inspired a 2019 “save the bees” petition in Bavaria that became the most successful in the southern state’s history, nudging politicians to pass into law its demands without putting them to a referendum first. A similar petition will be handed over to the parliament of the large state of North-Rhine Westphalia in July.

Christian Schmid-Egger, who coordinates Berlin’s wildflower meadows on behalf of the German Wildlife Foundation, said any conservation effort would ultimate require broader changes in agricultural practices: “If we are going to save the bees, we won’t be doing it in cities.”

Nonetheless, he hoped that the urban havens would teach city-dwellers something essential about their natural environment. “Animals need precisely the type of wild natural habitat that humans perceive as a mess that needs to be put in order”, said Schmid-Egger.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/20/bee-friendly-urban-wildflower-meadows-prove-a-hit-with-german-city-dwellers

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River

very bee-utifull:flutter:

"There could be 99 toilets in a house, and it's my house" - River, 2021
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