The rapid response of foraging bumblebees Bombus spp. to hay meadow restoration in the Yorkshire Dales and Forest of Bowland, UK
Widespread pollinator and bumblebee decline has been documented across Europe and North America and much of this can be attributed to pressures from agricultural intensification. A greater area of pollinator and bumblebee habitat is needed to reverse this decline. We utilised the Bumblebee Conservation Trust ‘Beewalk’ to assess the effect of hay meadow restoration on bumblebee numbers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The abundance and diversity of bumblebee species significantly increased with restoration, even within the first year post-restoration, and restored meadows were not significantly different from ancient meadows. Data on flowers visited by bumblebees demonstrated that the most important forage plants for bumblebees had been transferred to the restored meadows.