We know that bees, birds and butterflies -- nature's pollinators -- play a huge role in health, self-sustaining ecosystems and genetic propagation in agriculture. There's no doubt that the decline in pollinator populations (like bees) have many worried about the future of food availability.
One way to increase pollinator populations is to incorporate suitable habitats into our urban gardens, be it planting butterfly-friendly species like milkweed or, as German, Eindhoven-based designer Benjamin Spöth has done, installing some kind of habitable framework like his Pollinators' Paradise.
Made out wood and metal, this structure is intended as a modular fencing unit that can be adapted in various ways to attract and provide habitats for birds, bees, moths and other pollinating insects, says Spöth:
Beetles, wasps, bees or moths: all are welcome in Pollinators' Paradise, a modular garden fencing system to provide food and shelter to nature's creepy crawlies. About one third of the food we eat is dependent on insects for pollination. Population levels of many important pollinators are seeing a steady decline due to monoculture and loss of habitat, primarily.
The unit can be customized to one's local pollinator species:
Individual elements can be integrated into the structure to cater to specific species. There are hollow rods and twigs for nesting, hardy refuges for the winter and pots for flowering plants, guaranteeing a steady supply of nectar during the rest of the year.
Like many other designs that hope to give a edge to urban biodiversity by turning residual spaces into animal habitats, I would like to see this modular system tested in action to see whether it is effective or not. It probably is, but in any case, the concept itself of finding a way to boost pollinator species is sound; and it's one that we can incorporate in our gardens, even if it's just letting that milkweed grow. More over at Benjamin Spöth's website.