Managing brownfield and industrial land

A wide diversity of habitats develop on brownfield and industrial land. These sites contain various soil types as a result of human activities such as quarrying, industry, construction, transport networks and so on. 

Such habitats frequently contain plants which are valuable to insects, for example, ruderal plants that colonise bare ground. If undisturbed, many ruderal plants also continue to flower during late summer providing bumblebees with essential late-season nectar and pollen.

The aim of managing such sites should be to retain the variety of habitats including bare ground, short ruderal, tall ruderal, and scrubbier/denser areas. Small areas can be cleared each year on a rotational cycle and some scrub should be allowed to develop without letting it invade the whole site. Amenity grassland on these sites can also be managed to increase the number of flowering plants present.

For more information on managing brownfield and industrial land for bumblebees, click here to download our factsheet.

Please be aware that each site is unique and the recommended management approach will depend on local site conditions and the historical or traditional management regime. For site-specific advice, please contact your local Bumblebee Conservation Trust Conservation Officer –


"We are facing a fundamental problem with the decline of bees and other pollinators. They have an absolutely crucial role in pollinating many of our important crops - without them we will face higher food costs and potential shortages."

Professor Douglas Kell
BBSRC Chief Executive

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