7 Tips for building backyard biodiversity

Photo of a moose on the cover of the Environment Week 2013 posterThis Environment Week, we’re putting the spotlight on biodiversity and the simple steps we can all take to protect it.

Biodiversity is all of the living things on earth – humans, plants, animals, birds, fish, insects, and even the things we can’t see.

Together, they form ecosystems. The interaction of living and non-living things within the ecosystem is responsible for building our soil, generating oxygen and moisture, recycling nutrients, and purifying our air and water.

All living things – big and small – play an important role in keeping the ecosystem healthy. Human activities such as pollution, land disturbance, and the spread of invasive species, can affect biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

Backyard biodiversity

The good news is that you can help biodiversity flourish in your own backyard!

Photo of a ladybug on a wildflower

  1. Naturalize your lawn: Reduce your lawn size by planting a variety of grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees. This will decrease the amount of mowing and watering required, while attracting insects, butterflies and birds.
  2. Create a habitat: build a pond to create a home for insects, frogs, and fish. If you don’t have the space, put in a bird bath. They will attract birds, pollinating insects and even chipmunks.
  3. Provide a wild food supply: if you live in the city, consider planting perennial fruit and nut trees, nectar-producing flowers, and berry bushes. These trees and bushes also provide natural shelter.
  4. Replace exotic plants with native species: native plants are a natural part of the ecosystem; they require less water and maintenance, fewer chemicals, and provide habitat for other species.
  5. Reduce your use of chemicals – or use eco-friendly alternatives:  fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides can be harmful to soils, water, insects, birds and fish if used improperly or excessively.
  6. Go organic: incorporate natural materials like compost to build healthy soil, which will grow strong plants that are more resistant to disease, weeds, and pest infestations.
  7. Small spaces: Don’t have a yard? Start indoor composting or create an urban garden on your balcony, living space or roof.

Not sure where to start? Check out one of the many Green Stop workshops or events happening across the province during Environment Week.

Every action counts when it comes to reducing our environmental footprint and protecting biodiversity. The choices we make at home, at work, and in the community, all add up to make a big difference.

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