Habitat loss is one of the primary threats to the survival of wildlife. Every day, vital ecological habitats continue to shrink and disappear as forests, lakes, plains, mountains, and swamps are cleared for industrial development.
According to a report by the United Nations, around 1 million animal and plant species face the risk of extinction within decades. The report also identifies “changes in land and sea use” as one of the main culprits of wildlife extinction.
A sharp decline in biodiversity is also a loss to humans. As a society, we entirely depend on these ecosystems for our food, health, economy, and livelihood. As these ecosystems continue to deteriorate, so does the quality of life worldwide.
But even with these challenges, it’s not too late to make a difference. Biodiversity can start in your backyard. With proper care and attention, yards and residential outdoor areas can nurture a range of wildlife.
Switch to organic lawn care
It’s no secret that chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides carry a lot of toxic effects not just on plants and animals but on humans, too. The chemicals can contaminate soil and water, and poison birds, bees, fish, and insects. Pesticide exposure is also harmful to children and has been associated with cancer and nervous system conditions. When pest populations are too much to handle, switch to organic products instead. Using horticultural oils and insecticidal soap sprays will make a greener and healthier difference for your local ecosystem.
Plant native species
Invasive plants can hinder you from having a beautiful garden or sustaining your dream landscape design. They spread rapidly and take up the preferred home and food sources of local animals and plants.
Replacing invasive plants with native ones can maximize your garden space and make it more beneficial to local wildlife. Plants grow better in their native habitats, where the soil and climate are perfect for their growth. Native plants also thrive and evolve alongside other local species. They often form symbiotic relationships, helping each other spread seeds and naturally combat pests and diseases.
Local plants provide excellent food and shelter for native animals and insects. Since these plants are more adapted to the conditions of the local environment, they require less water and pesticides than exotic species. Not only will you get gorgeous flowers and abundant harvests, but you also get to save on maintenance costs, too.
Add an open water source
Animals need fresh, clean water to thrive. Adding a pond or a bird feeder naturally attracts birds, insects, and small mammals like squirrels and rabbits to your garden.
A pond can also house aquatic flora, fish, frogs, and turtles, which will increase biodiversity and bring in more species. This includes dragonflies, which can help reduce insect pests, including mosquitoes.
Keep your pond mosquito-free by introducing predators like tadpoles, backswimmers, and variations of goldfish and koi, which feed on mosquito larvae. Increased biodiversity will also draw in dragonflies, which can also help reduce insect pests, including mosquitoes.
Our health and economic prosperity depend on the well-being of our natural world. Without a concrete plan to protect our ecosystems, our flora and fauna will continue to suffer. Increasing biodiversity in our yards will not only beautify our homes but also help restore the planet’s natural balance.