What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the life found in a habitat which can be made up of humans, animals, plants, fungi, microorganisms. The coexisting organisms influence each other in both large scale and smaller ways. We need to implement biodiverse environments and discuss biodiversity more, in order to realise its cascading long-term benefits.
Why should we care?
All these species work together in finely tuned ecosystems to support life for one and other and importantly us!
Due to climate change, human intervention and consumption of natural resources, we are losing biodiversity and unbalancing natural ecosystems. Researchers recorded a 13% decline in average species abundance since 1970. (State-of-Nature-2019-UK-full-report.pdf (nbn.org.uk)
We rely on nature to provide us with food and clean water, for a lot of medicines, and to prevent flooding and other extreme weather effects. (Client Earth)
The Landscape Institute noted that biodiversity improves water quality and food management.
For example, algae growing in streams absorb pollutants, removing it from the water.
A UK study published in 2021 claims that over the last 100 years, 90% of UK wetland habitats have been lost. The decline is due to invasive species, pollution, wastewater discharge and more. There is a growing movement to restore habitats. Benefits we see from this have included improvements to downstream water quality, and reducing the risk of flooding.
The Mayor of London is aiming for over half of the city to be green by 2050. Making cities greener involves introducing more parks, green spaces, gardens, woodlands, rivers and wetlands, as well as street trees and green roofs. This results in increased biodiversity with knock on effects including cleaner air.
How we can increase biodiversity through sustainable design
Championing green infrastructure – as landscape architects we are keen to create biodiverse spaces that connect into the wider green link network.
We connect with the Biodiversity Action Plans of the local authorities that we work closely with. Through this, we make sure we understand local authorities’ targets and include them into schemes. We also follow the Biodiversity Net gain (BNG) system which is government guidance to ensure companies plant a diverse number of plants in an area. The purpose is to improve the condition of environments after human activity.
Check out how we do it
Surface water flooding affected homes, roads and local parks in Pastures Way – Luton. We used a sustainable drainage system (SuDS) to treat the storm water. This involved installing a rain garden, swale, and flood storage wetland. Similarly, Eastcote endured frequent surface water flooding which improved after we installed rain gardens. As a result of the schemes, we cleanerd polluted runoff and we created new habitats for plants, animals and insects.
Old Quebec street is an example of a project where we used plants to improve air quality and reintroduce certain wild
We were the Principal Designer for the Wild West End Garden project located in Old Quebec Street. The purpose of the project was to improve air quality, connect people to nature and repopulate local wildlife.
We considered how millions of people would interact with the garden long term and how it would meet their needs. In addition, we planted 11 new trees such as the Chinese Dogwood tree. We specifically chose ferns and plants that are effective at filtering the air. We then installed seating near the plants allowing people to get up close and personal with nature.
As a result, the garden has a wide variety of shrubs. High priority conservation bird species flocked to the area including the Black Redstart and Starlings. We transformed part of Old Quebec Street into a green space where the public can relax while breathing cleaner air. It also attracts new visitors to the area.
These are just some of the examples of how Project Centre use biodiversity to transform city living and connect people to nature.
Project Centre is dedicated to continuous professional development to ensure we keep up to date with the latest information. Recently we had a presentation from Buglife. They spoke about bees, butterflies and how we can adapt our schemes to further support wildlife. For example, we add street lights in areas which make people feel safe when it’s dark. However, the lights can be turned off when they aren’t needed or if there is no one around. This is to reduce light pollution for flying insects.
We inform clients of the positive steps that can be achieved in addition to upskilling our teams, and improving our lived-in environments. As a result we will be able to improve biodiversity and reverse some of the damage human intervention caused.
If you’d like to speak to us about how we can breathe fresh air into your environment, get in touch today..