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Bumblebee Decline Threat to British Countryside

The decline of the UK's bumblebee population could have drastic consequences for the nation's landscapes, say scientists. The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute found that whilst there was once 25 different species of bumblebee, three are now extinct and eight are becoming increasingly rare. 

The population decline of bumblebees is, according to the institute, having a drastic effect on the British countryside as the insects play an important role in the pollination of raspberries, potatoes, runner beans and other plant species. And it says the decline is already having, "a devastating effect on the distribution of crops and wild flowers".

Professor David goulson, co founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said of the problem: "Declines in bumblebee species in the last sixty years are well documented in Europe, where they are primarily driven by habitat loss and declines in floral abundance and diversity resulting from agricultural intensification. Together with the recent losses of honeybees to disease, these pollinator declines threaten agricultural productivity and reproduction of wild flower populations.

"Bumblebees are very important in the pollination of crops and flowers and it is vital the steps are taken to prevent further declines. As their numbers become fewer, it will threaten agricultural productivity and the reproduction of wild flower populations". 

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