Native trees the bee’s knees

A TASMANIAN researcher is piecing together two native-planting guides to encourage pollination of farms, with the potential to vastly boost productivity and growth on farms.

Entomologist Dr Stephen Quarrell is a researcher at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, where he is currently developing his ‘Powerful Pollinators’ program, aimed at increasing the prevalence, health and diversity of pollinators in the landscape.

Dr Quarrell says bees play an important role in the pollination of agricultural crops and are essential for the ongoing productivity and growth of the industry. “Bees are essential if we want to eat more than just potatoes and corn,” Dr Quarrell said. “They provide an important pollination role for many agricultural crops including apples, cherries and berries – they basically fill our fruit bowls.

“We are conducting multiple research projects to better understand how changes in agricultural practices, such as an increase in protected cropping systems, are impacting bee health and pollination.”

“We want to safeguard against potential future threats, ensure resilient pollination systems, and explore opportunities to enhance pollination methods to increase the productivity of our agricultural industries.

Powerful Pollinators is a program designed to increase the prevalence, health and diversity of pollinators in the landscape. The program encourages the strategic planting of trees for bees and other pollinators and provides Pollinator Planting Guides developed by experienced botanists and field ecologists for use by landholders.

The guides specify relevant information about pollinator habitat and floral resources to enable users such as land managers, Landcare groups, nurseries and gardeners to select the most appropriate indigenous species that provide value for pollinators. The Powerful Pollinator Guides provide an introduction to encouraging insect pollinators on farms, including a guide to choosing plants that will support diverse pollinators throughout the year. “Tasmania needs resilient pollination systems to ensure we can continue to produce high quality produce,” Dr Quarrell said.

More information on the Powerful Pollinators Guides can be found at