Biodiversity is essential for all of us. A healthy ecosystem can't thrive without it. Luckily, there are plenty of biodiversity projects taking place across the UK this year, each one doing a brilliant job of improving their local area.
Keep reading to find out more about eight projects happening right now, plus how you can get involved.
Earthwatch Europe, an environmental charity based in Oxford, is pioneering a new technique which involves creating tiny forests across the UK – some no bigger than six parking spaces!
Earthwatch planted the UK’s first Tiny Forest in the UK in 2020. Since then the movement has grown to almost 150 forests, bringing together communities, the public sector and businesses. The project aims to create forests that are a community of coexisting organisms (including trees, shrubs, moss, fungi, bacteria, insects and animals).
From Oxford to Belfast, the charity has planted more than 150 tiny forests, aiming to increase that number to 500 by 2030.
Trees for Life is a conservation charity, aiming to create a "revitalised wild forest in the Highlands of Scotland, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive."
They want to restore the globally unique Caledonian Forest, which once covered much of Scotland. The land (having been used for centuries for animal grazing) is being brought back to its full potential by volunteers, who have already planted more than a million native trees. This has created habitats for everything from red squirrels and rare sawflies, to pine martens and ospreys.
They'll soon be opening the world’s first rewilding centre in the forest, so visitors can learn more about what their project does.
If you want to boost biodiversity in your area, but are unsure of where to start, take a look at the advice of national charities. For example, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has plenty of advice and tips on its website to get you started. Better still, they have an active Facebook community where you can connect with others to share ideas.
The iconic Kew Gardens in London is dedicated to bettering biodiversity in the UK. As part of this, Grow Wild offers grants to community leaders to enable them to transform urban spaces into biodiversity hotspots. The project aims to "bring people together to value and enjoy UK-native wildflowers, plants and fungi".
For individuals, wildflower seeds and grow-your-own mushroom kits are also available. If you're looking to further your botanical knowledge, you can find plenty of educational resources on the Grow Wild site.
An untidy walkway once popular with fly-tippers is now a beautiful, plant-filled haven - known as Belfast’s 'Wildflower Alley'.
It's part of a growing movement to rewild unloved urban spaces in the UK, with or without the go-ahead from authorities. The project's motto is: "Ask for forgiveness rather than permission."
Communities are breathing new life into unusual places (from mini roundabouts to abandoned tennis courts) and are calling on others to join them.
A community in Scotland came together to raise £2.2m in order to buy 5,300 acres of land from a duke. Residents of Langholm have since started rewilding the moor to boost biodiversity and create green jobs in the town.
A successful crowdfunding campaign raised the necessary funds to get the project started. Those behind the campaign said: “This is about a grassroots fightback against the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, and helping to create a better future. We are doing something so special here."
The National Trust is creating its largest-ever wildflower grassland project in an effort to help save this threatened habitat, whilst tackling the nature and climate crisis.
The project aims to create pockets of species-rich grassland across 70 miles of the north Devon landscape. To do this, 86 hectares (213 acres) of land have been sown with 1.3 tonnes of specially selected seeds.
Up to 27 acres of land have been earmarked for Hounslow's new Grow for the Future project. The aim is to create community orchards and allotments on vacant land. It has been reported that this is the first time a local authority has officially introduced such a policy.
Each site will be paired with a school and educate children about the process of growing food. Produce from the project will then be donated to families in need. This project is truly a win-win for people and nature.
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