Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Permaculture advises: increasing biodiversity

Biodiversity is a very much sought goal nowadays. Increased biodiversity is good for most species, and creates more sustainable habitats, and also gardens. Not only creates fun in growing and observing many species growing together, but it also reduce pests, help in fruit pollination, and can increase soil fertility and balance.

Increased wildlife will gain from different habitats in your garden, such as ponds, grass, cornfield flowers and trees and shrubs. Cornfield wild flowers attract butterflies and bees and provide much color.

Some species will work as service stations for passing wildlife such as birds and butterflies, such as buddleia (supports a big number of butterflies and bees), cotoneaster (abundant berries), evening primrose (food for moths), muscaris and lunaria (early nectar flowers), guelder rose, hawthorn, ivy, chaenomeles, willows, michaelmas daisy (late autumn nectar plant) and teasel, dipsacus (pollen plant, birds).

For birds, nest boxes and drinking water (such as in ponds) is very useful. Edible native herbs include chickweed, sorrels, nettles (good for butterflies), ramsons or wild garlic and several types of berries. These might be a preferred choice.

Some of the trees that are associated with increased biodiversity (in UK) are willows, oaks and birches. A single tree of these can harbor more than 300 different species of insects. Other trees good for biodiversity include poplars, hawthorn, alder, crab apple, hazel and beech. Native species such as these, naturally harbor much more biodiversity than exotic species. Exotic species can also harbor many insects such as Norway's spruce, but others will generally contain little insect life such as black locust, walnuts and chestnuts. Therefore, for other countries, it might be that other trees will be better for increased biodiversity, most likely their native species.

Another word of caution with exotic species is if they become overly invasive. Invasive species are second only to habitat destruction as a contribution to extinction and the alarming loss of biodiversity! These are likely to be species which can adapt very successfully to the local climate and propagate by runners, rhizomes or aggressive seed dispersion. Often it can be nitrogen fixing species such as lupins and mimosa. Be careful with other species such as rhododendron, eucalyptus, acacia or black locust.

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1 comment:

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