Wild flowers planted to study insects

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WILD flowers are being planted at parks and schools so that scientists can better understand the insects that help urban green spaces to thrive.

Large flower meadows are being created to provide pollen and nectar for bees and other insects, and to supply areas in which they can flourish.

Scientists are seeking to understand how populations of pollinating insects are affected by the growth of urban areas. The results will help determine how best to maintain a diverse population of insect species, which in turn will help sustain plants and flowers in cities.

The development, involving Edinburgh University scientists and the city council, forms part of a three-year, £1.3 million project in cities across the UK.

Meadows across Edinburgh will be sown with plants over the next two years.

Professor Graham Stone, of Edinburgh University’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “Edinburgh has a wide array of pollinating insects, including bees, beetles and butterflies. Our work will help to suggest the most effective conservation methods for these insects, whose role in creating flowers we so often take for granted.”