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Pollinators in Crisis is a book is about flowers, their pollinators and the pollination crisis that is affecting Britain and elsewhere. It describes the role flowers have played in human cultural activities for thousands of years. The dawn of farming, 10–12,000 years ago, allowed huntergatherers to settle and grow crops, many of which have flowers pollinated by insects. The fruits and seeds produced by flowers are vitally important as food and the economic value of their pollinators is worth £430–690 million per year in the United Kingdom alone.
Unfortunately, modern intensive farming continues to destroy natural habitats and use excessive amounts of herbicides and insecticides. Most farmland in Britain has become a hostile environment for pollinators. However, the impact of agricultural chemicals can be reduced by linking areas of natural habitat with flower-rich, chemical-free corridors—river valleys, roadside verges, railway lines and field margins—where pollinators can thrive. Flowery gardens can also help by providing green stepping-stones that link fragments of good habitat. Different flowers have colours and scents that match the sensory capabilities of their pollinators. Most have evolved to attract and reward pollinators and so induce them into carrying their pollen from flower to flower.
Finally, the book recommends over 100 flowers that are good for pollinators. Many are beautiful and found in gardens. Many others are so-called ‘weeds’, most of them exceptional for pollinators and often beautiful in their own right.
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