Tipperary farmers encouraged to lead the way on pollination

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karen.ogrady@midlandtribune.ie

Tipperary Countryside Wild on Flowers Initiative aims to encourage farmers to lead the way in the pollination of the Tipperary countryside, by distributing 900 boxes of Native Irish Flower seeds at four mart locations in Tipperary.

Tipperary County Council recognises the importance of biodiversity and how its sustains communities. By making Tipperary the leading pollinator county in the country, they will showcase their endeavours in this area in the coming years.

They recognise that the farming communities will play a key role in re-establishing wild flowers clusters in fields and hedgerows across the county and in the protection the environment against the threats of climate change.

In the last four years Tipperary County Council has distributed 500 native flower boxes of seeds and 4,000 trees to Tidy Town Committees and schools. Committees and schools have created wild flower areas in their localities and the response from the public has been immense. In 2018 Tipperary won a total of nine awards in the Tidy Towns Competition.

The native flower boxes are supplied by Design by Nature in Carlow, who are assisting with the initiative. It was launched at Nenagh Mart recently. Staff from Tipperary County Council visited marts in the county, namely Nenagh Mart, Cahir Mart, Tipperary Town Mart and Roscrea Mart over recent weeks.

On pollination, everything we grow depends on pollinators and unfortunately in Ireland they are currently in decline. The All Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 is a strategy that addresses this problem. It is a shared action plan supported by over 90 governmental and non-governmental organisations. Tipperary County Council through its Heritage and Environment & Climate Action departments as well as its Municipal Districts are already undertaking pollinator friendly actions and supporting groups such as tidy towns, schools, residents associations to improve habitats for pollinators in their communities.

They were delighted when Clonmel Tidy Towns got the overall 'Local Authorities Pollinator Award' in the National Tidy Towns Competition and acknowledge the valuable work being carried out in biodiversity by groups around the county.

In recognising the importance of pollinators Tipperary County Council is in the process of becoming a partner in the All Ireland Pollinator Plan to continue their work with our communities, schools and farmers in protecting this important resource and aspect of our natural heritage.

One third of our bees are threatened with extinction. We know it because we have drastically reduced the areas where they can nest and the amount of food (flowers) our landscape provides. We can stand back and watch the problem happen or we can try to do something about it. By working together we can reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels.

Irish pollinators are in decline. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector and protect the health of the environment. By working together we can collectively take steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels. If we can’t protect our pollinators it will affect the food industry. Without the pollination service freely provided by our bees and hoverflies, it would be increasingly difficult and expensive for farmers to produce some crops at current scales and could result in a loss of consumer choice for Irish grown products.

The beauty of the Irish landscape would also be affected without pollinators to maintain the diversity of our wild plants and support healthy ecosystems. In taking action to protect them, we start a change and reaction that has positive benefits for the general health of our environment. Bees and hoverflies don’t just pollinate crops, they also help maintain the diversity of wildflowers that we have in Ireland.

In temperate zones an estimated 78% of flowering plants require animal pollination. Without these wildflowers, the Irish landscape, cherished by us and crucial to our tourist section, would be a less beautiful and colourful place. Plants are the building blocks of our natural heritage, providing food and shelter for our birds and mammals, and habitats that enhance many other animal populations, including many insects that attack crop pests and provided additional financial benefits.

Tipperary County Council will work with farming communities on this pilot initiative to gather feedback and their inputs on broadening the initiative in the coming years.

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