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Environment

Four easy ways you can boost biodiversity – with or without a garden

Garden or no garden, there are plenty of ways you can help biodiversity this Earth Day, from planting wildflowers to recording wildlife.

The UK has “led the world” in destroying the natural environment. That was the conclusion of researchers at the Natural History Museum in 2020, who found that biodiversity losses in Britain were accelerating at an alarming speed. 

All is not lost, however. We can all help to turn the tide of biodiversity loss even if we don’t have access to private green space of our own.

To mark Earth Day 2022, here are three simple actions you can take to boost wildlife wherever you are, and help patch up decades of damage. 

Let it grow wild 

If you’re lucky enough to have your own garden, one of the most powerful actions you can take to boost biodiversity is also the laziest: don’t bother mowing your lawn. 

By letting grass – or patches of grass – grow wild, you’ll encourage more pollinators into your garden, helping them do the vital job of pollinating flowers and, ultimately, supporting our food system.

You should also be careful not to disturb insect nests and should think carefully before using pesticides, which can be damaging to wildlife. 

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Even if you don’t have green space at home, planting wildflowers in a window box can be enough to help out pollinators in the area. 

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If you don’t have a garden, you could also consider getting in touch with your local council to ask whether they’ve considered letting grass verges grow wild or planting wildflowers on them.

Many councils are already doing this, and with Earth Day happening ahead of “No Mow May”, now would be a great time to push the cause. 

Build an animal hotel 

Putting a bird house in an outdoor space or building an “insect hotel” is another great way to support wildlife, whether this is in your own garden or at a community allotment or garden. 

Building an “insect hotel” can be as easy as simply leaving piles of rocks, twigs and rotting wood in your garden. This creates shelter for key insects such as beetles and spiders. 

You could also consider building a hedgehog hotel to support local hedgehog populations. The Wildlife Trust and other charities have comprehensive guides online outlining how to do this. 

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Make space for nature 

One big challenge faced by wildlife is a lack of space and connectedness between patches of land, with roads and urban developments getting in the way. 

At home, you can help make space for nature by avoiding paving, decking or tarmacing over existing green space, and letting real grass grow rather than using plastic astroturf.

Leaving gaps in the bottom of your fence, and encouraging neighbours to do the same, will also allow small mammals like hedgehogs to travel safely between gardens. 

Help record wildlife 

Conservation charities rely heavily on volunteers to record animals, plants, insects and fungi to keep track of what’s out there – and what we’re losing.

You don’t have to be an expert to get involved – simply download the irecord app onto your phone and snap a picture if you spot something of note while you’re out and about.

Once you’ve submitted the record, somebody will verify it, and it will be added to a database of thousands of other records to help experts keep our natural world protected.

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