Public perceptions of Ireland’s pollinators: A case for more inclusive pollinator conservation initiatives
We used Ireland as a case study to determine how insect pollinators, pollination services, and pollinator decline are currently perceived by the public in an effort to understand the links between public knowledge and perceptions of pollinators, the implementation of insect pollinator conservation actions, and engagement with existing conservation initiatives. Findings indicate that people are aware of insect pollinator decline and of the main causes and are willing to participate in pollinator conservation, but that there are still some key gaps in the overall understanding of pollinators, their role, and their ecology. Most participants were able to identify charismatic pollinators, such as bumblebees and honeybees, and were aware of their importance to the pollination of crops and wildflowers. Fewer participants were able to identify other common pollinators, such as flies and solitary bees, and many were not aware of the importance of non-bee pollinators to pollination. Less than 50% of participants, particularly urban dwellers and those without post-secondary education, had heard of Ireland’s national pollinator conservation initiative. Two responses have been removed from the dataset because the participants did not fall into the age range that the authors were interested in, bringing the total number of responses to 611. Data related to the age, occupation, and county of residence of participants are not included in this dataset because these variables were not included in the referenced paper. Summary data on these and other demographic variables, as well as further details on data cleaning, are available in the supplementary materials of the referenced paper (S2). For more information, please contact the authors.
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To examine the perceptions of the Irish public regarding insect pollinators, we designed an online survey on GoogleForms, “What's the Buzz? Public Views of Pollinating Insects in Ireland”. Our survey included questions relating to (1) pollinator identification, (2) pollinator importance, (3) pollinator conservation, and (4) previous knowledge of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. We also gathered information on the demographics of the individuals taking our survey, including age, gender, education level, area (i.e. urban, suburban, or rural), occupation, and county of residence, as well as questions gauging the participants’ interest in nature and perceived knowledge of pollinators, in order to form an overall participant profile. The survey was available to the Irish public for three months, distributed primarily through social media, and was taken by 613 participants. A copy of the distributed survey is available in the supplementary materials of the referenced paper (S1).