All images are reproduced by kind permission of Sue Tranter
On 22nd June 2010 I represented Sambourne Parish Council at The
Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull Local Biodiversity Action Plan
(LBAP) annual conference in Bishop Itchington. Since 2010 has been
declared the International Year of Biodiversity it seems an appropriate
time to consider the relevance to us in Sambourne and how we might
What is Biodiversity?
Biological diversity – or ‘Biodiversity’ – is the term given to the
variety of all living things and their dependence on and interaction
with the different habitats. It embraces all life from microscopic
bacteria to massive marine animals
encompassing millions of individual
species and habitats. The diversity of the natural world
is not just
amazing, it’s also crucial to our existence. Biodiversity gives us many
essentials of life, including oxygen, food, water and medicines. Even our climate is
regulated by biodiversity.
The importance of biodiversity
The Earth's biological resources are vital to humanity's economic and
social development. As a result, there is a growing recognition that
biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present
and future generations. At the same time, the threat to species and
ecosystems has never been as great as it is today. Species extinction
caused by human activities continues at an alarming rate. If too many
become extinct then whole ecosystems can collapse, with severe
consequences for the way we live. Many drugs are extracted from plants
and new discoveries continue to be made. It’s quite possible that a
species could become extinct before its value to medicine has even been
discovered. Bees are essential for food production. Without bees we
Messages from the Conference.
The UK Government has set out the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as a
result of a United Nations Biodiversity conventionThis LBAP is the
local manifestation of the Government initiative.
The theme of this year’s conference was Warwickshire’s grassland and
there was a particularly interesting talk on “Environmental Stewardship
– a key tool to deliver local action for Biodiversity”. Matt Wilmott
(Natural England) described various levels of agri-environment schemes,
where by working with the landowners on farms and brownfield sites,
significant environmental improvements can be achieved – most notably
with farmland birds. Funding has been available to participating
landowners – future funding is hoped for, but of course not guaranteed.
There were also talks on successful butterfly and wild flower
conservation and examples of good practice within local communities.
The conference was valuable in highlighting how even relatively minor
projects can enhance our natural environment.
LBAP gives a strong recommendation that a Parish Plan should major on
Biodiversity in order to ensure that the local environment provides the
best possible habitats to support Biodiversity.
What can we do?
Chris Packham reminded us on BBC’s “Autumn Watch” that our gardens
represent a significant proportion of habitats available for wildlife
in this country. Gardens amount to about 2% of the total land area of
the UK –
equivalent to the size of Suffolk. Information is widely
available on, for example, how to reserve a “wild area”, what
constitutes a hedgehog-friendly garden, how to make and where to
position nest boxes for a variety of bird species, how to make a
“wildlife hotel” that can accommodate small mammals, amphibians and
invertebrates. Any or all of these things will make a valuable
contribution to the natural history and enhance the interest of your
garden. The BBC’s “Autumnwatch” website is a good source of such
I have decided to make nest boxes to be positioned in trees in the
recreation ground and would also like to find a suitable location for a
“wildlife hotel” there. A garden pond is one of the most valuable
habitats you can create. If landowners could leave grass margins
alongside hedges a valuable
home for small mammals, ground-nesting birds and
invertebrates will be created.
Any action, no matter how small, is worthwhile. Everyone, young or old can contribute.
Early in 2011 five nest boxes were installed on trees in the recreation ground. This Spring there is 100% occupancy.