Change of land use and farming practices account for much of the loss of biodiversity. Agriculture has become largely a monoculture, the soils are depleted and food is grown with fertilisers and pesticides that impoverish the range and abundance of plants and animals.
We now know how important our own outdoor spaces are in attracting insects, birds and other animals. Gardens can offer a rich variety of resources, such as different microclimates, plant species, and vegetation structures. They can also provide habitats, such as ponds and hedgerows that may be increasingly rare elsewhere.
Increasingly gardening programmes encourage us to think about wildlife when we design our gardens. Even if we don’t have a garden, we can grow plants in a window box or in pots that will attract the bees and other insects. We can allow the wild into our gardens by not mowing all our lawn and letting wild flowers grow instead. If we have a choice, we can ensure that surfaces, such as paths, are not hard, but let rain water through and plants such as low lying camomile and thyme to grow. We can leave seed heads through the winter for the birds and piles of leaves, woody cuttings and logs for insects and hedgehogs to overwinter. We can plant native trees and shrubs to provide food and shelter for wildlife.