Molly Beauchemin

Norway Aims For World’s First “Bee Highway”

Citizens of Oslo, Norway are teaming up to create the world’s first “Bee Highway” using a community-driven site called polli.no to create a network of flower fields, parks, green roofs, and other “bee pastures” that provide safety, food, and shelter to pollinators across the city. The resulting “bee highway” is imagined as a place where bees won’t have to travel far to recover from long journeys to forage nectar, which ultimately preserves their vitality at a time when bee extinction and colony collapse are an increasingly ubiquitous problem. (Nearly 1-in-10 species of wild European bees are facing extinction, according to reports.)

According to the Guardian, one “ultra-modern” office block in the business district of Oslo has covered its terrace in brightly-flowering Sedum plants with two bee hives that are registered as part of the initiative. This 12th-floor outpost, which is home to an accountancy firm, now also houses some 45,000 worker bees– an effort that bee-keeping enthusiast Marie Skjelbred says is a sign that companies are taking interest in preserving biodiversity. According to the Guardian, it was Skjelbred who convinced her employer to co-finance the project along with the owners of the building– at a cost 400,000 kroner (or $51,348).

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Elsewhere around the city, individuals are encouraged to register their blossoming gardens with polli.no so that experts can start mapping out the bee’s migration course across the city. The aim is to design a link of gardens from one side of the city to another.

While Norway’s bee populations aren’t thought to be as fragile or threatened as corollary bee populations in other parts of Europe or the United States, a third of the country’s 200 wild bee species are considered endangered– which is especially problematic when between 30 and 40% of food production requires pollination (a service with an estimated worth of €153bn). The “Bee Highway”, once complete, will offer pollinators more alternatives to support their livelihood– a boon to the food system and local citizens alike.

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