Friday, 29 June 2012

Brown-banded carder bee amongst rare bees spotted in Britain

New sighting of rare UK Priority Bee Species Brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis) has created a buzz at Carmel National Nature Reserve (NNR), Carmarthenshire
June 2012. A joint project of The Grasslands Trust and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has resulted in an exciting discovery of the rare Brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis), a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Species, at Carmel National Nature Reserve

Bumblebee numbers have sharply declined with the loss of traditional habitat and intensive agricultural practices. The UK's wildlife-rich grasslands have declined by 97% in the last 70 years as a result of intensive agriculture, development and neglect with profound impacts for native bumblebee populations, including loss of habitat and food resources.
Carmel National Nature Reserve, near Cross Hands in Carmarthenshire, is one of the UK's richest wildlife areas and an internationally significant site. Its range of habitats includes ancient woodland, heathland, and species-rich grassland which support some of the UK's rarest plant and animal species. Situated on a limestone ridge, the area was historically used for quarrying and traditional agriculture, resulting in a mixture of ancient meadows and woodlands, quarries, spoil heaps and lime kilns. Declared a National Nature Reserve in 1999, Carmel is managed by The Grasslands Trust and the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).
Transformed into flower-rich meadows
In 2006, The Grasslands Trust took over the management of a greater part of the Reserve to restore grasslands that had been damaged through intensive agriculture back to flower-rich meadows and pastures. Through the "Working with Nature" Project funded by GrantScape, The Grasslands Trust, in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, has been working to increase the populations of bumblebee species by undertaking restoration of their primary habitat: wildlife-rich grasslands. Restoration work has also included the restoration of woodland glades and small sunny quarries, by managing the encroaching shrubs.

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