Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gardeners must unite to save Britain's wildlife, experts urge

Date:
January 26, 2010
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
Householders in the UK should be looking beyond their own garden fence to protect vulnerable British wildlife, according to scientists.

Hedgehog in grass.
Credit: iStockphoto/Rafal Olkis

To encourage urban biodiversity, neighbours should co-ordinate their gardening efforts to create a network of interlinking habitats where birds, bees and mammals can flourish.

Related Articles


urage urban biodiversity, neighbours should co-ordinate their gardening efforts to create a network of interlinking habitats where birds, bees and mammals can flourish.

"Gardens don't exist in isolation, they link together to form interconnected habitat networks that should be planned and managed in conjunction with parks, nature reserves and the surrounding countryside," said Mark Goddard, PhD student in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds and lead author of the paper.

"One person may plant a tree or create a pond in their own back garden, but the survival of many of the mobile species that live in towns and cities, such as birds and mammals, is dependent on the provision of larger areas of habitat."

Urban green spaces such as gardens and parks are an increasingly important refuge for wildlife as towns and cities encroach further into the countryside. In Leeds alone, private gardens cover 30% of the total urban area making them a valuable resource for native species.

'Wildlife-friendly' gardening has become more popular in recent years and there are now an estimated 4.7 million nest boxes and 3.5 million ponds in the UK*. But, according to the researchers, actions by individuals within the boundary of their own back garden are unlikely to make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of biodiversity alone.

"If neighbours in a street were all to coordinate the management of their gardens in a complementary way, for example by planting a continuous strip of trees throughout a swathe of gardens, the benefits to backyard biodiversity will far outweigh the contribution made by one or two households alone," added Mr Goddard.

Professor Tim Benton, Research Dean in the Faculty of Biological Sciences and co-author of the research, said: "We are increasingly finding that the appropriate area needed to best manage biodiversity is greater than the area managed by individuals - the same is true of farms within the countryside - and so the biggest challenge is to find ways that help neighbours to co-operate.

Dr Andy Dougill, final co-author of and Head of the School of Earth and Environment, added: "The key message is that collective action makes a real difference at the city scale. Such co-operation between neighbours to create a 'wildlife-friendly' habitat across groups of gardens can be encouraged by a range of mechanisms. These include top-down financial incentives such as tax cuts or government grants, or bottom-up, community-driven initiatives such as wildlife garden certification schemes."

The research, which is the cover story of February's Trends in Ecology and Evolution journal, forms part of Mr Goddard's PhD, which looks at how the size, shape and connectivity of gardens affects the diversity of birds, bees and butterflies within them. He is currently working with 90 households across Leeds who are helping in the data collection and survey process. The research is funded by the University of Leeds Earth and Biosphere Institute Scholarship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Davies et al. A national scale inventory of resource provision for biodiversity within domestic gardens. Biological Conservation, 2009; 142 (4): 761 DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.12.016
  2. Goddard et al. Scaling up from gardens: biodiversity conservation in urban environments. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2010; 25 (2): 90 DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.07.016

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Gardeners must unite to save Britain's wildlife, experts urge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120093527.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2010, January 26). Gardeners must unite to save Britain's wildlife, experts urge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120093527.htm
University of Leeds. "Gardeners must unite to save Britain's wildlife, experts urge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120093527.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins