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Is this the year we are likely to save bees? If so, the credit would go to the new coronavirus.
The restrictive measures that, among other things, greatly reduced traffic and pollution, also gave us the advantage of seeing a huge boom in wildflowers, somehow helping to restore delicate urban plant ecosystems and the timid return of bees.
In short, rare flowers and declining bee populations could start to rebound during the coronavirus lockdown, because now, in almost every city, wild plants of all kinds can grow undisturbed by the road.
According to the largest European organization for the conservation of wild plants, Plantlife, the roadside is, in fact, the last refuge for many species of plants that have been devastated by the conversion of natural meadows into agricultural land and residential complexes. These narrow strips of grassland can host 700 species of wildflowers.
In recent years, explains Plantlife botanist Trevor Dines, city councils have adopted overly impatient policies that cut flowers before they mature. But the cuts, due to the Covid-19 crisis, were among the first services reduced or even suspended in some countries. And urban plant ecosystems have already started to recover.
All this also benefits the populations of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and all the insects that depend on wild plants to survive in an extraordinary way.
In short, simply letting many of our plants bloom again can offer pollen and nectar to bees in a loving exchange. On the other hand, approximately 80% of plants use the help of insects or other animals to transport pollen grains from the male to the female part of the plant.
In times of coronavirus, therefore, nature has been reclaiming its spaces. And it is wonderful to realize how little it would take to leave it alone and live in harmony with the planet we inhabit.
Article in Portuguese