Make your gardens a haven for wildlife

First published in Comment

WHAT’S the most important thing any of us can do for wildlife? Well, apart from joining your local wildlife trust, of course, it’s probably making our gardens (back yards, window boxes or whatever you have) more wildlife friendly.

Across England nobody knows exactly what the total area of domestic gardens is, but a study carried out across the city of Sheffield estimated 23 per cent of the 143 km2 of urban area was domestic gardens. If you work through the figures for England, seven per cent or 9,127 km2 is urban area and if Sheffield is a fair representation of the country then that equates to 2,099 km2 of gardens. That area of land can obviously make a significant contribution to maintaining wildlife populations, particularly for some of our best loved but most threatened species.

Bees have suffered from significant declines over recent decades. No-one can point to a single factor causing the decline, but there has been some very clever research looking at bee foraging and feeding behaviour and the gist of the findings is that bees need lots of flowers if they are to find adequate nectar. Gardens in urban areas can therefore be much more favourable habitat for many species than the surrounding countryside because gardens have higher concentrations of flowers.

If you want wildlife gardening tips, may I suggest you come along to the recording of Radio Four’s Gardeners'

Question Time, which is being hosted by the Durham Wildlife at Trevelyan College, Durham, on November 7, as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations.

Phone 0191 584-3112 for tickets – only £2.50.

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