A new pollinator monitoring partnership agreement has recently been signed between JNCC and UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH). The agreement ensures the continuation of the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS) from 2022 until 2025, funded by JNCC (through funding from Defra, Welsh Government, Scottish Government, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Northern Ireland) and UKCEH. This new arrangement adds pollinators to the set of long-term UK-wide biodiversity monitoring schemes that are collectively supported by JNCC, UKCEH, and a range of non-governmental organisations.
Insects such as bees and hoverflies play a vital role in our environment, pollinating agricultural crops and wildflowers to enable them to set seed and produce fruit. Understanding how and why insect populations are changing is therefore essential to conserving pollinators and the crops and wild plants that depend on them. More widely, effective biodiversity monitoring is key for tracking progress and guiding plans to achieve the goals agreed by all four UK countries in the Nature Positive 2030 report.
The UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (UK PoMS) began in 2017 and was the first scheme in the world to start generating systematic data on the abundance of pollinators at a national scale. PoMS collects annual data on bees, hoverflies and other flower visiting insects across the UK between April and September. The scheme includes pan trap surveys and Flower-Insect Timed (FIT) Counts, both of which rely on dedicated volunteers following standardised methods to ensure comparability. Data generated by UK PoMS are made openly available via UKCEH’s Environmental Information Data Centre, allowing for their use by scientists and practitioners in further research and decision making.
With the continuation of the scheme, now into its seventh year, the initial success of PoMS will be built on, including through developing improved statistics to show how pollinator populations are changing. An additional important aim of the FIT Counts is to encourage wider participation in pollinator monitoring; these 10-minute surveys are designed to be suitable for non-specialists and offer a wonderful way to connect with nature in gardens and beyond. To date, a total of 12,187 FIT Counts have been submitted to PoMS, representing an incredible 2,031 hours of observation.
Since its inception, the UK PoMS partnership has benefitted greatly from the involvement of thousands of dedicated volunteers and a wide range of organisations, spanning government, research institutes, and NGOs. The 2023 survey season begins on 1 April 2023.
To find out more about PoMS and how to get involved, visit the PoMS website.
UK PoMS is a partnership funded jointly by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) and JNCC (through funding from Defra, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, and DAERA). UK PoMS is co-ordinated by UKCEH, and UKCEH’s contribution is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council award number NE/R016429/1 as part of the UK-SCAPE programme delivering National Capability. Project partners include the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, British Trust for Ornithology, Hymettus, Natural History Museum, the University of Reading and the University of Leeds.