Germany is home to about 580 wild bee species, most of which have their habitat in urban areas. More than half of these species are endangered or on the brink of extinction. The increased use of insecticides, exposure to noxious exhaust fumes, and above all a loss of diverse habitats, are the main reasons behind the steep population decline of these valuable pollinators.
That may soon change, however, thanks to a series of initiatives that aim to change the urban landscapes of Germany’s largest cities by planting hundreds of bee-friendly wildflower meadows. Since these projects took off three years ago, more than 100 wildflower meadows have been planted in Germany’s largest urban areas and are coming into full bloom this summer.
Berlin has set aside €1.5m to seed and nurture more than 50 wild gardens over a five-year period, while Munich has set up about 30 meadows since 2018. Similar initiatives can be found in Stuttgart, Leipzig, and Braunschweig. Hamburg started the trend in 2015, and this month unveiled a series of bee-friendly flower beds set atop bus shelters.
In addition to helping restore bee populations, the initiatives have also been successful at raising awareness about the importance of bee-friendly meadows in cities. According to Julian Schlaber of Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), the NGO has received a growing number of requests from city residents wanting to grow their own wildflower patches or pressure their council to stop transforming green spaces into superficial lawns.