Sambourne Village

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 contribute individually.

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 of the
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 starve.

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 information.

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
many beneficial 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.