We all know that environmental conservation is vital to the survival of the planet, but how can we actually make a difference to the species that we are trying to protect? One way is through gardening; creating habitats for endangered species is not something that is only possible through extensive conservation efforts. Instead, it is something that anyone can do on a small scale, in their own backyard – or even apartment balcony.
Gardening for wildlife conservation benefits not only the endangered species themselves but also those who create the habitats. Building these habitats for endangered species can actually be a fun and rewarding experience. Creating a garden that helps protect insects, birds, and other animals can bring a sense of fulfillment knowing you are doing your part to help protect the environment. Today we’ll explain how gardening can improve wildlife conservation efforts and provide tips for creating a wildlife garden successfully.
The Benefits of Gardening for Wildlife Conservation
Gardens can provide crucial habitats for endangered species as they are a source of food, shelter, and breeding ground. Unfortunately, due to rapid urbanization, many natural habitats of wildlife have been diminished beyond repair. By creating a garden that supports endangered species, you can provide them with a new home while also improving local biodiversity.
Another benefit of gardening for wildlife conservation is the importance of planting native species. Native plants of an area give quick access to a known source of food for native insects and birds as they have evolved together. For example, Monarch Butterflies specifically feed on Milkweed. Planting Milkweed in a garden not only attracts Monarch Butterflies but also helps their population thrive since their natural habitat is threatened.
Designing a Wildlife-Friendly Garden
If you are new to gardening or have an established garden that hasn’t been designed primarily to house wildlife, you can still create a suitable habitat for endangered species. Begin by understanding the wildlife in your specific region to learn about their habitat preferences. When creating a wildlife habitat garden, it’s important to incorporate a diverse selection of plants that serve as native species’ food sources or nesting spaces.
Having a variety of native plants is beneficial as some animals have different preferences for their living conditions. It’s important to remember that animals aren’t always keen to live in perfectly manicured, neatly trimmed areas. It will be necessary to leave a few wild areas for them to feel comfortable.
Choosing the right location for your garden is also important. Some animals prefer wetland environments whereas, others require dry areas. If you’ve already established a location, chances are it is already suitable for some form of wildlife habitat. For example, a sunny southeast-facing garden might be the perfect spot for a Wildflower Meadow.
Best Practices for Maintaining a Wildlife-Friendly Garden
Gardening for wildlife conservation requires some unique methods of maintenance. Firstly, it’s crucial to restrict the use of pesticides and herbicides. They may not be selective in their effects and can lead to unintended deaths of pollinators, birds, and other animals. A better alternative is to use natural pest control methods to keep pests and diseases at bay. What’s more, if some plants get damaged or eaten, it’s best to leave them alone. Insects need to eat too and the damaged plants could still grow back.
Water conservation is another important practice, and no longer luxurious. Water conservation can be scaled to any garden size, will save money, and help save the planet by reducing your impact on scarce resources. One way to save water is to collect and store rainwater in barrels, instead of relying on municipal water sources.