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International Day for Biological Diversity

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, 22 MAY 2019

Biological diversity‘ describes the variety and inter-dependability of all living organisms in a given place, be it in a small pond or the wide ocean, in all the forests of the world or a tiny townhouse garden.  This includes diversity within specific species, between different species and between plants and living creatures above and below the ground and water.

This year the International Day for Biodiversity celebrates 26 years of Action for Biodiversity and the efforts and progress made at national and global levels since the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Theme this year is Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health.

With this theme in mind, the aim is to spread awareness of the Global populations critical dependency of our food systems and health on biodiversity and the health of Earth’s Ecosystems. Our nutrition is almost completely dependent on biodiversity.

What can we as gardeners do to ensure a diversity of species and plants and safeguard their fine-tuned symbiosis in gardens large and small?

  1. Most importantly, create good healthy soil that is alive with living creatures by enriching it with good quality compost and using organic fertilisers.
  2. Mulch your garden generously and top it up frequently. This will not only control soil temperatures and curb weeds, but also provide a suitable environment for a host of organisms.
  3. Use only organic and eco-friendly pesticides and herbicides when needed and encourage others to do the same. Many beneficial creatures will soon find a haven in your garden and add to its biodiversity.
  4. Give preference to indigenous and native plants which are better adapted to your local climate, will be more resistant to disease and will attract native wildlife. Consider planting Fynbos and consult our article full of indigenous plant suggestions |HERE|.
  5. Interplant vegetables and oriental plants with herbs to attract more insects.
  6. Plant a variety of flowering and host plants to attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Click |HERE| to learn more about plants to attract bees into your garden.
  7. Using creepers on walls and implementing vertical planting will create another dimension of habitats for living creatures.
  8. Invite wild birds into your garden by providing them with food (birdfeeders, fruiting trees and shrubs and wild grasses), water (birdbaths) and shelter (trees, bird boxes and nesting materials).
  9. Create shelter for the little creatures, like lizards (old wood and natural rocks to sunbathe on and hunt from), frogs and toads (lush, low growing greenery or an upturned pot to hide under), insects (bug hotels, beehives and butterfly houses) and bats (bat houses).
  10. Create a small pond or wetland, if you have a bigger space available. This will attract and home a wide variety of marine and terrestrial creatures.

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