Everyone needs a place to live. In our ever expanding cities, people are always finding new places to live but often at someone else’s expense. It’s a competition for space and often it’s the native animals, the frogs, birds and mammals that lose the competition. They lose their natural habitats. But can we keep nature and wildlife around us somehow, can we offset this habitat loss?
Have a think about where you live. What did your neighbourhood look like 10, 50, or 100 years ago?
If you live on the edge of an expanding city or town, like many people do, it’s likely that there was a lot more natural forest, grassland, scrub and bush around then than there is today. If you get a chance, head out to a new residential development as it’s being developed. You’ll see the changes first hand.
It’s a reality – if people want to build towns, shopping centres and houses then they need space to build. Something’s gotta give.
Not many of us like living in a lifeless concrete jungle though. So as our urbanised centres grow, can we keep nature around us somehow? To a certain extent you can and you can do it by improving the liveability of the ‘natural’ habitats around you.
In Australia and elsewhere there are many programs that encourage landowners to improve local habitats for wildlife. For example there’s the Land for Wildlife program and various nature refuge programs. In some places you may be lucky enough to live near a nature reserve for example, Mangatautri or the Cape Otway Conservation area, where you can volunteer to help improve local habitats.
But as we all know, good things start at home. You can make a difference by enhancing the wildlife habitats on your own property. TalkingNature is going to give you some tips on how you can add some artificial habitats to your property that can be used by native wildlife in your garden.
Native animals evolved with native plants and chances are there are many ecological relationships between them. For example, check out the interdependence of the Richmond Birdwing butterfly and a native vine. So, increasing the abundance and diversity of native plants on your property is a great first step towards improving natural habitat quality.
You can also supplement the habitat with artificial ‘homes’ such as nest boxes for birds and arboreal mammals, frog ponds for…dare I say it…frogs, and rock gardens for native reptiles like this land mullet!
You might think that improving wildlife habitats on your property won’t make a difference when you think about the whole suburb or town. The thing is, there are lots of people throughout the suburbs who are improving and restoring wildlife habitats on their properties. Together these properties are like islands in a sea of urban sprawl. They’re visited by birds, mammals and other animals and used as refuges and ‘homes’ as the animals roam the neighbourhood.
So making changes at your place does make a difference because it adds to the network of habitats, provides additional refuges and food sources and shortens the corridors between the islands of wildlife habitat in your suburb.
Have a look around your place, I’m sure you’ll be able to see ways you can enhance the habitat so that you can turn the typical grassy back yard into a diverse wildlife refuge and enjoy your local nature.