Biodiversity is important in creating a Sustainable World
What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is a measure of all the different kinds of organisms that are found in an ecosystem. It can be used to account for all the different types of plant and animal life that are found in our forests, farmlands and gardens.
Why is Biodiversity Important?
Biodiversity helps support all sorts of important ecosystem functions – like nutrient cycling and carbon sequestering. This means biodiversity is directly linked to fighting climate change while also building a complete circular economy.
Ecosystems with high levels of biodiversity are more resistant to environmental changes. This means a healthy ecosystem with lots of different kinds of plant and animals in it will have a better chance of adapting in the future. Small scale life like plants and insects supports larger native animals like birds and hedgehogs.
Unfortunately, biodiversity in the UK and around the world is decreasing. There a whole range of reasons for this. Habitat loss, industrial farming and large-scale use of pesticides are at the top of the list.
The UK government recognises the importance of biodiversity along with food growing, and composting as essential for a more sustainable economy. There are lots of ways we can help encourage biodiversity in your home – not matter what your living situation!
How Can I Encourage Biodiversity?
Let the “weeds” grow: Some plants have a bad reputation. What we call “weeds” are often native plants which can support a variety of different insect life. Leaving the weed killer and lawnmower in the shed for a few extra weeks in the year can provide a boost of food for important pollinator species.
Plant some wildflowers: Wildflowers are a great way to encourage biodiversity. They feed important pollinators like bees and hoverflies. They also provide homes for spiders and other creepy crawlies that help attract birds and build up the food chain. On top of this they look and smell great and are a low maintenance choice for the lazy gardener. You can pick up wildflower seeds from Scottish nurseries, as part of national schemes or by collecting a few seed heads next time you go for a walk! Even the smallest patch of wildflowers will attract bees and other pollinators. If you don’t have access to a garden consider a window box or planter.
AVOID chemical treatments: Tempting as it might be to control your garden using herbicides and pesticides, these can have a really disastrous effect on biodiversity. Saving chemical treatments as a last resort can help biodiversity in your garden flourish.
Build a bee hotel: There are hundreds of species of solitary bees and wasps that make up an important component of Scottish biodiversity. Almost all of them are stingless and completely harmless. They are important pollinators and prey species for birds and larger insects. Bee hotels are collections of sticks and blocks of wood stuck together to provide a safe spot for insects to live and multiply. This is a great project for children and you can hang a bee hotel from windows or balconies providing an urban patch of biodiversity.
Build a pond: If you have a bit more space, consider building a pond or water feature into your garden. In the UK waterways and wetlands are one of the habitats that have declined the most as a result of human activities. A pond or simple water feature can provide a spot for dragon flies, frogs and newts to spawn. It can also attract larger animals, like birds, looking for a drink.
Article Written By Daire Carroll