POLLINATOR CONSERVATION: COMMUNICATING RURAL STEWARDSHIPCategory: 2017, Community Grant, Current, Grant, Land Use
Wild pollinators face numerous stressors such as the exposure to parasites, pesticides, and loss of floral abundance and diversity due to modern land-use practices. In addition, habitat destruction limits nesting sites for wild pollinators. Unfortunately, these stressors may interact synergistically to produce more detrimental effects on pollinator health.
Focused on creating natural habitats for bees and other pollinating insects, Operation Pollinator offers a practical and meaningful way to increase and improve biodiversity on the farm. The program provides participants the opportunity to re-focus lower-productivity lands toward the establishment of habitat for bees and other pollinating insects. Implementing Operation Pollinator on farms also helps improve our understanding of how land management models focused on the creation of pollinator-friendly habitats can impact biodiversity.
In addition to being diverse and nutritious for pollinators, the seed mix provided in this project delivers agronomic benefits. The legumes provide their own nitrogen by fixing it from the air while also providing some to their non-nitrogen-fixing neighbours. The mix also provides food to micro-organisms that improve soil health. Many of these plants are used as cover crops and as green manure crops, protecting the land from soil erosion, and adding organic matter to the soil. All of the plants (except timothy) are known to bloom for lengthy periods, and the perennials will continue to bloom throughout the season with good management practices.
If you are interested in additional project information, including how to participate, please vist www.areca.ab.ca/projects.