With 24 million gardens in the UK spanning 400,000 hectares, there is great potential for making a change in the health and abundance of our wildlife by linking together our green spaces to form a patchwork quilt across England.
The UK hosts a large variety of birds, insects, mammals, and plants. This array of wildlife is essential to maintaining balance in ecosystems as biodiversity means more species can survive in more places. Protecting wildlife is beneficial for us too as it can help combat climate change and can lead to mental health benefits by having thriving wildlife in your garden.
However, currently, wildlife in the UK is decreasing, with 56% of all UK species declining between 1970 and 2013. There are many factors that have led to this, including:
- Decreasing flower counts. This harms specifically pollinators, especially certain bees which are incredibly particular about which species of flowers they pollinate. Therefore, decreasing biodiversity can mean a whole population of bees can be lost.
- Habitat loss. There has been an increase in the amount of farmlands in the UK since the 1970s, these lands previously hosted wildlife and now usually host one species of crop or livestock. This has led to a decrease in habitats for many animals, for example, Farmland birds had 63% of their species showing a decline since 1970.
- Pollution. Water pollution affects a large range of creatures, and only 14% of rivers in England meet the standards for good ecological status. Especially microplastics and toxic algae (made when waste is discharged into a body of water) cause contaminations, which work their way up food chains. Air pollution also is a huge risk to wildlife, especially birds which often inhale soot particles.
Below are lots of links to information pages all about different aspects of wildlife gardening: