World Environment Day is celebrated every 5th of June and the theme for 2020 is Celebrating Biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It encompasses the 8 million species on the planet including plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. Biodiversity is also the diversity ecosystems across the globe, oceans, forests, alpine regions and coral reefs.
Biodiversity is at risk, we are losing species at a rate 1,000 times greater than at any other time in recorded human history. Over one million species face extinction.
Species diversity is the variety of species within an ecosystem or a region. In Australia, more than 80% of plant and animal species are endemic, which means that they only occur naturally in Australia. We usually notice mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and frogs, but they actually make up less than 1% of all animal species.
What can you do to help Biodiversity in your Backyard?
Attract birds to your backyard by creating a garden that will provide food, shelter and nesting materials and sites. Local flowering plants and fruit trees provide birds with nectar and seeds. To provide birds with some protein rich food, use mulch to encourage worms, insects and grubs to thrive. Plant dense prickly native shrubs for shelter, hang up nesting boxes and install a bird bath.
Encourage frogs to come to live and breed in your backyard. Create a small shallow pond in an area that is partly shaded. Include thick ground hugging plants around part of the pond to provide areas of warmer and cooler water. Your pond will need some sunlight to encourage algae and other plants that provide food for tadpoles. Make sure the banks slope gently so that the frogs can get out. Add some rocks and logs to provide shelter for adult frogs.
Not all bugs are pests. Good bugs pollinate plants, break down dead flora and fauna, aerate the soil and provide for other wildlife. They can even help keep harmful pests away. Create an inviting environment for good bugs by planting plenty of native plants, wildflowers and herbs and use chemical-free pest control when the pests do creep in.