Cerena & Blossom

Watercolour print, 2019, 10.3 x 14.5 cm

I had the privilege of attending an expedition with Project Better World in the Himalayas, to research the impact of climate change on pollinators, thus impacting ecosystems and agricultural economy. This research required counting bees – thousands of them! This one is apis cerena, landing on the recently opened apple blossom, where apples make most of this local economy.

This research has been ongoing for 20 years. Over time, pollinator density has been declining with material impacts on flora in the area. Here are some interesting findings from the study

  • Plots of land close to natural forests see noticeably higher numbers of pollinators (and hence less need for supplementing with bee boxes)
  • Areas with mixed flower types had higher pollinator counts
  • The season and location suitable apples is changes with the climate. Now the range apples can grow has shifted about 30 m, making some farms no longer suitable for this highest revenue crop in the area.