Listmania: the strengths and weaknesses of lists of garden plants recommended to help bees, butterflies and other pollinators

Garbuzov, Mihail and Ratnieks, Francis L W (2014) Listmania: the strengths and weaknesses of lists of garden plants recommended to help bees, butterflies and other pollinators. BioScience, 64 (11). pp. 1019-1026. ISSN 0006-3568

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Abstract

Pollinators are in global decline. One of the few ways in which the general public can help is by cultivating ornamental garden plants that attract pollinators by producing nectar, pollen, or both. Advice in the form of lists of recommended plants is available, but how good are these recommendations? Here, we overview a sample of 15 such lists and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. In particular, we found that the range of the number of plant genera per list was large (29–257) and that there was rather little overlap in the recommendations, even among lists addressing the same geographic region (e.g., Britain or North America). Furthermore, the lists often included poor recommendations, omitted many good plants, lacked detail, and were almost invariably based on their authors’ general expertize rather than on empirical data. Nevertheless, some advice given in the lists was good, because these recommendations were presumably backed by personal observations and less formally gathered data. The lists were also very appealing to the public, which makes them an excellent tool in communication and a useful starting point for further research.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology
Depositing User: Tom Gittoes
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2015 11:44
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2015 11:44
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/53371
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