To support our project work on pollinators, as outlined in our Delivery Plan for 2016 – 2021, we’ve teamed up with Dr Grace Twiston-Davies.
Grace is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at Penryn, Cornwall. Her research focuses on how to make the most of our landscapes for people and for nature and she has previously worked with the National Trust to study the wild flower meadow restoration at the Stonehenge World Heritage Site as part of her PhD at the University of Reading.
Through the NERC funded Knowledge Exchange project, Grace is currently working with the Cornwall AONB Unit until April 2017. Together we are collaborating on a project we’ve called ‘Farms for AONBees’, which is seeking to make a significant difference to the quality of our landscapes for conservation and food production. At the core of this project we will be using a free computer programme developed in Prof. Juliet Osborne's research group at the University, that replicates the foraging and colony survival of bees in realistic landscapes http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/people/academicandhonorary/osborne/. This cutting edge, but easy to use programme, can predict where bees are feeding, what they are feeding on and in turn help us understand how this effects their health, survival and the pollination they provide.
To move this project onto the next stage we’re looking at now doing some real-time testing of the model on agricultural holdings in the AONB. By using the model directly with farm owners and land managers we expect to be able to offer them tailor made management recommendations to increase pollinators and pollination on a site.
Agricultural land in the AONB covers 73% of the total land area of the protected landscape. With that in mind, working on a project such as this in its infancy could in the long term help us understand so much more about our bee communities, what they need and how they can continue to help us all.
To find out more about the project and it's progress you can reach Grace at