Biodiversity is the existence of a wide variety of plant and animal species living in their natural environment.
International Biodiversity Day is on 22nd May each year. It was set up by the United Nations to promote actions to support biodiversity across the world.
Biodiversity is one of the most complex features of our planet, and scientists believe it is also one of the most vital.
High levels of biodiversity, which means many different plants and animals living together, is a sign of a healthy environment. When there are more species present, the ecosystem is more stable. This is because there are more possible interactions between species, and therefore a stronger food-web. For example, if for some reason the favoured food supply of one species reduced, if it is living in a highly biodiverse environment, there is a greater chance that it can find another suitable food. In places with high biodiversity, there is a natural balance. Predators eat just enough of their prey animals to leave enough to maintain a population. In a very biodiverse environment, every species will have its place, and its function in the complex web of life.
If one animal or plant becomes extinct, those that depend on it might also die out. But in an ecosystem with high biodiversity, there is a greater chance that others may take its place in the food web, and maintain a balance to prevent a chain of extinctions.
All species rely on the existence of others. We humans are an intrinsic part of earth’s ecosystem. We rely on plants for food and shelter, and in fact to produce the oxygen we need to breathe, and to remove toxic carbon dioxide. Some of us eat animals, but even if we don’t, there are many examples of creatures that are vital to our existence. Without bees and other pollinators, there would be no fruit or nuts. Many rainforest animals are crucial to pollinate and spread the fruit of the huge trees they live among. And of course those are the very trees that produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
Species are being lost at an alarming rate. Scientists believe we are in the sixth extinction phase that the earth has faced. Some believe that the loss of biodiversity is a bigger threat to the planet than climate change.
And it’s the fault of humans. As (possibly) the most sophisticated animal on earth, we can have huge influence on the biodiversity of the earth around us. As our population grows, we are destabilising ecosystems and reducing biodiversity. Many human activities cause damage to ecosystems, with a resulting loss in biodiversity. The worst activities in this respect are felling of trees, especially rain forests, unsustainable hunting and pollution, particularly by plastic.
At Make it Wild we are trying to do our bit to slow the decline in biodiversity, and in a way, this is aim that links all our activities.
We look after our nature reserves in a way that encourages biodiversity. We have planted 18000 trees at Sylvan Nature Reserve, and will be planting more at Bank Woods. With our new woodland, we have encouraged hundreds of different insects, birds and mammals into what was a fairly ‘barren’ field before we planted our trees. We also experience daily the rich and precious biodiversity of our Ancient Woodland.
Plastic pollution is one of the most destructive forms of pollution to nature; and that is why our shop is plastic free. You can Dedicate a tree, or a pond, or a living bouquet – all these unique gifts will support nature.
The picture at the top illustrates our small role in biodiversity. On the left, a ‘monoculture’ – a field with one species, heavily treated with chemicals; hardly any insects, birds or animals. On the right our new woodland at Sylvan Nature Reserve. There are seven different types of tree; many different grasses and wildflowers, and it is simply buzzing with bees and other insects. There are numerous birds nesting in the young trees, and many animals including hare and deer.
Which do you prefer?