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Forest of Bohemia

Planting for biodiversity

If you have a small space to plant trees and shrubs around your site, e.g. the car park, office or factory entrance, it is an opportunity to do something for biodiversity. By selectively planting native species of plants, which provide a source of food or shelter for some local insects, animals and birds, you will be making a positive contribution to biodiversity

What you can do

1. Plant Native species

Native plants in Britain are those that were already present before the formation of the English Channel. 'Introduced' species or 'alien’ species originate from places other than Britain and have usually been transported here by humans.

As woods and hedgerows disappear, so too do the familiar creatures of the British landscape. All too often this is purely because their habitats - the plants on which they depend for the necessities of life - have been removed.

Insects, birds and other animals cannot survive without the food and shelter that plants provide. Native plants usually offer far more to our native wildlife than introduced plants. This is strikingly illustrated by examining native trees, such as oak or hawthorn, and introduced species like horse chestnut and 'London' plane. Few insects or other invertebrates will be found on the introduced species and its leaves will be virtually untouched, whereas by comparison a native tree harbours innumerable invertebrates.

Planting native species has additional practical advantages as well as benefiting biodiversity:
• Local plants are adapted to local soils and climate and have low maintenance requirements.
• Once established, native plants usually withstand long periods of dry weather.
• Many will grow in difficult areas with little or no need for fertilizer.
• Local plants are the essence of regional identity and preserve the character of the English countryside.

For more information and advice on native species visit:
The Flora for Fauna page from the Natural History Museum Web site to discover the plants local to your area.

The Flora Locale website for a one-stop-shop for information on native plant seed collections, propagation and ecological restoration. Flora locale is a charity that promotes the conservation and enhancement of native flora.

The Native Tree Shop website run by the Woodland Trust allows the public to buy British native trees over the internet.

The local BAP map on the UK BAP website to find the contact details of your local Biodiversity Officer. You should also consider how your action will integrate into the Local Biodiversity Action Plan and UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

2. Monitor biodiversity outcomes

Monitoring the biodiversity impacts of the planting is important for the effective management of planting programmes. For more information on monitoring see the monitoring and reporting page

3. Involve your Employees

Getting employees involved in biodiversity conservation projects could lead to wider conservation benefits with employees engaging with the issues in there free time. See the Employee Engagement page for more information.

Gardening with wildlife in mind is a very positive step that individuals can take. Companies can encourage employees to get involved with conservation issues outside of work. English Nature have produced a leaflet on getting started with planting different habitats. Click here to view the leaflet.

Photo credit: Josef Krecek, Forest of Bohemia

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