There is need to improve Biodiversity in urban landscapes because urban areas have been predicted to triple in size by 2030, and natural habitats are continually declining. If urbanites value ecology and do not want environmental robustness to fall, then biodiversity must be included in urban landscapes.
Biodiversity relates to a wide range of plant and animal species cohabiting in a particular region. Like the term implies,“bio‑diversity” refers to the diversity of life in an area, ecosystem, or habitat. Biodiversity has more meaning than the presence of a few butterflies or a flight of birds.
Biodiversity covers the active presence of various species of plants, bacteria, insects, mammals, birds, and more. It describes the harmonious existence of all these species in a habitat. Healthy biodiversity impacts everything in an ecosystem; the number of pollinating birds and bees, compost-eating bacteria recycling nutrients, and enough bats to consume a measure of crop-eating insects.
also read:Biodiversity Hotspots in Africa
With biodiversity, a system can withstand pressure, stress and also made more robust. Here, biodiversity has some layers:
- the number of different species in an ecosystem,
- the number of individuals within a species, and
- the genetic variety within the species.
Ways of Improving Biodiversity in Urban Landscapes
1. Effectively Make Use of a Native Plant Palette and Plant
It’s easier to provide support for these species even long after estuaries have been dredged and rivers straightened because of the pre-existing relationship with the land. Since the native ecosystem still somehow lives on with its bones buried under concrete, it’s not difficult to bring those bones back to life and make them live again.
Generally, the best way to support a habitat’s wildlife is by planting natives. This is so because bugs and birds have been naturally created to eat and use them. So, selecting plants that are location-appropriate is one of the fundamentals of good planting design. This does not mean that planting just natives will increase biodiversity and boost biodiversity to its fullest potential; however, it goes a long way toward impacting biodiversity.
One needs to be aware of the number of species and the kinds of species that the ecosystem can support. It’s also important to know how many advantages a plant provides for the ecosystem. For instance, a tree ranking conducted by the University of Delaware discovered that native oaks offer support for over 500 different insect species. In contrast, Gingko, a common street tree, provides support for just three species.
2. Provide Wildlife Pathways and Links Between Green Spaces.
One of the things essential to improve biodiversity in urban areas is provision for wildlife to travel and search for food, water, and mates. For instance, the hedgerow in England has been a significant part of the English garden beauty for hundreds of years. This is because the hedge provides a physical obstacle for larger animals and even people. Still, it gives small animals a pathway to pass under or through the roots of the hedgerow going from garden to garden. This pathway is highly essential as it fosters biodiversity in ways more than one.
“Soft Engineering” techniques, such as bioswales and rain gardens, are useful in handling stormwater and providing wildlife corridors. Native shrubs, grasses, and trees are more likely to survive in rain gardens, which are usually barrier-free. They also offer accommodation for wildlife and keeps them out of the streets.
3. Pay Attention to Non-Native Predators
Non-Native predators are highly dangerous to local wildlife, mainly because they are usually overlooked and not paid attention to. Just housecats have been discovered to be responsible for about 1.4 to 3.7 billion songbird deaths annually. This shouldn’t be ignored as it affects biodiversity to a significant degree.
When designing residential neighborhoods, pay attention to the problems local wildlife face in terms of food and habitat but pay closer attention to the likelihood of them becoming food for non-native predators. Wildlife becomes your client when you’re designing for biodiversity, and their needs are your priorities. This means that it is up to you to ensure that you’re not creating a space that lures them to their deaths, but rather an area that provides protection and comfort for them.
Biodiversity has to do with us deciding to make our urban spaces more supportive of different kinds of life instead of grudgingly taking in only most adaptable species. You need to begin to think of the life you would like to see for urban landscapes and also think of how it would affect the way urbanity is planned. These little things go a long way in preserving our ecosystem.
4. Make Use of Organic Maintenance Methods to Cut Back on Lawns
To improve biodiversity, Avoiding chemical pesticides that are unable to differentiate between good and bad bugs and fertilizers provides undeniable support for urban biodiversity. Some edible insects which are particularly sensitive to pesticides, both chemical and organic, would not be able to survive in an environment frequently visited by these pesticides. A shorn lawn hardly provides food or shelter for wildlife. Even wildlife at the bacterial level can scarcely survive if pesticides are liberally applied.
5. Make Use of Available Green Space Connections
To improve biodiversity, utilize already existing wetlands, forests, and water retention ponds within a site or a nearby space that probably already provides support for wildlife is a fantastic starting point for getting to know what kind of diversity you should design for. This improves biodiversity as your landscape designs are constructed to fit into the already existing green space.
The importance of biodiversity cannot be overemphasized as our ecosystem needs it to survive. It is up to us to ensure that we provide adequate support for these diverse species and a system for their survival even within our environment through our landscape designs.