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New planting guides help insect pollinators thrive

Creating essential habitat havens for bees and other pollinators has just become a whole lot easier thanks to a new range of planting guides developed by the Wheen Bee Foundation.

The Powerful Pollinator Planting Guides are created by botanists to help gardeners, farmers and land managers choose plants that attract pollinators to their properties, increasing the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators in urban and rural landscapes.

Powerful Pollinators Program Manager Lea Hannah said pollinators are essential for preserving biodiversity and ensuring food security, yet they are under threat from habitat loss, extreme weather events and climate change.

“The Powerful Pollinator Planting Guides promote the creation of vital habitat, increasing food for bees and reducing the distance they need to travel to forage and feed,” Ms Hannah said.

Each planting guide includes information on ways to attract pollinators to the local area, with tips on creating pollination reservoirs, constructing insect real estate, improving habitat connectivity and reducing chemical use. They contain a list of plants, including shrubs, trees, climbers, vines, forbs and grasses, as well as information on plant heights, colour, aspect and soil conditions.

Ms Hannah said these are the only guides of their kind produced for specific ecological bioregions in Australia.

“The Powerful Pollinator Planting Guides include a vast range of native plants indigenous to each bioregion, from tall trees to the smallest herbs, so people can choose what is appropriate for their site,” Ms Hannah said.

“The species list also contains varying flowering times, so you can potentially have something in flower any time in the year to support pollinators.”

So far 20 guides have been published across six states and territories. Some of the regions covered include Swan River (WA), Kangaroo Island (SA), North Coast (NSW), South East Melbourne (Vic) and Northern Slopes (Tas). More guides are in development.

The guides are managed by the Wheen Bee Foundation with funding from varied sources including Smart Farms, NSW Bushfire Relief Funding, private organisations, local governments and service clubs such as Rotarians for Bees.

New guides are being developed for the Limestone Coast (SA), Scenic Rim (Qld) and Townsville (Qld) with funding through local councils and Natural Resource Management organisations.

Wheen Bee Foundation CEO Fiona Chambers said further funding is required to develop guides for other regions across the country.

“It’s great to see councils leading the way in the development of new guides,” Ms Chambers said.

“This process works really well when councils join forces with land management organisations and service clubs such as Rotary and Lions to fund the creation of a guide.

“It results in a valuable community resource that’s owned by everyone.”

Guides are available to download or buy at www.wheenbeefoundation.org.au/our-work/projects/powerful-pollinators.

To inquire about funding a guide for a new region email powerful.pollinators@wheenbeefoundation.org.au.

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