This World Environment Day, the United Nations is urging us to learn how all living things on Earth are connected in the web of life and how we can act #ForNature.
Biodiversity in the backyard is one way urban areas can contribute to the health of our ecosystem. Encouraging wildlife into your space has obligations and benefits. After all, you don’t want to encourage birds into the garden, only to have them attacked by your cat. It is possible, however, to provide a safe haven for many insects, our feathered friends, mammals like possums and microbats, and reptiles.
Five key considerations:
- Water is crucial. Last summer’s images of desperately thirsty animals during the drought should be enough of a reason to leave out water supplies. Make sure your water bowl (or saucer or both) is out of reach of predators, and always have it near sheltering trees and shrubs so animals feel secure. Placing a stick in the bowl will give animals an entry and exit point, as will putting in a few larger rocks or pebbles.
- A pond is a great permanent water source for encouraging dragonflies and other insects, as well as supporting frogs, native fish and aquatic crustaceans.
- Many animals nest in tree hollows, fallen logs and dead trees. If you don’t have (Or want) these at your place, use manmade replacements like pipes nesting boxes and insects hotels. Placing these in a range of places – up high and on the ground, will encourage different species.
- A diverse range of plants will encourage many different animals and insects. Choose a mixture of flowers, grasses, pollen and nectar rich plants, seeds and nut bearing plants to include a garden pantry suitable for all your ‘guests’.
- Pets are very territorial about their gardens. Many bluetongue lizards are attacked by dogs, and cats kill 75 million native animals across Australia EVERY night. Keep your cat inside, especially at night, give it at least one bell, and consider specially fenced off ‘nature reserves’ even within your back yard that are away from ‘Fido’.
By Meredith Kirton