Norway’s pollinator progress

The Nordic and Baltic nations share Scotland’s desire to help pollinators. Last November, a virtual gathering of entomologists and environmentalists celebrated the work taking place to help pollinators in Northern Europe. In our blog today we take a look at the Norwegian experience.

The Norwegian approach to a pollinator strategy echoes our experience in Scotland.  Once the challenges facing pollinators were acknowledged, they produced a strategy identifying actions with a strong emphasis on partnership with municipal authorities, volunteer groups, individuals, beekeepers, science and research groups, energy sector, transport bodies, environmental bodies and farmers. 

Their strategy identified influencing land management as crucial for success. Parks, gardens, green infrastructure, meadows, coastal heaths, woodland margins, road verges and agricultural settings were all identified as areas where pollinator-friendly practices would have a huge impact. 

La Humla Suse is one of the key organisations working to help pollinators in Norway. Its primary goal is to create and improve habitat for bumble bees and they have a range of activities to encourage Norwegians to get involved. They organise guided bumble bee walks, give advice to farmers, local authorities and communities, help to create bee-friendly streets, and offer courses for nursery and school teachers. Their latest project is set to improve transport verges throughout Norway.

Campaigns such as the ‘Buzzing gardens’ aim to explain why pollinators are important, and  outlines what individuals can do on their own doorstep to help. Several urban towns, including Oslo, Trondheim and Moss, have implemented pollinator-friendly approaches, to the delight of their residents. 

Oslo’s  ‘bee highways’ are rather like the B-Lines here in Britain. The project sees the creation of feeding and travel routes through Norway’s capital via small meadows, floral verges, rooftop gardens and planted containers. There are moves to transform the Mindemyren district of Bergen into a greenspace haven.

Others have picked up the challenge. There is a drive to encourage the introduction of floral strips along farms, the creation of meadows adjacent to transport networks and a growing raft of advice on what to plant for pollinators. 

Of the 35 species of bumble bee in Norway, five are listed as near threatened. Indeed across Norway some 200 pollinators are on the national red list, of which around 30% are bees. To reverse these figures a bold strategy and a mixture of tactics is necessary and the indications are that change is afoot.

Astrid Loken, a Norwegian entomologist and member of the resistance movement, would have been in the vanguard promoting help. Her 1971 Studies on Scandinavian bumble bees is the highlight of a life-time devotion to the subject. The first female member of the Norwegian Entomological Society and a noted academic, she would have been thrilled to know that almost 200 delegates gathered for a Promoting Pollinators conference.  Thanks to her drive and influence we can celebrate progress built on solid foundations years later.

Find out more:

Read : Norwegian Pollinator Strategy is available in English.

Visit : La Humla Suse website

Enjoy : Scandinavian / Baltic States webinar on pollinators.