Species diversity is integral in maintaining our ecosystems.
All plants, animals, insects and microbes contribute to our planet’s biodiversity with each individual species playing its own unique part.
Without biodiversity, we would not have clean air, water or soil. Our sources of food, raw materials and even our climate is affected by diversity of species, or lack thereof.
Development and the increased modernisation of our lives have caused a decrease in biodiversity worldwide;
- The pressures of urban expansion place an ever-increasing demand on natural resources and available habitat
- Globalisation has led to the spread of invasive species which can outcompete native wildlife
- Pesticides from agriculture can be linked to a decline in 40% of all insect species
Halting biodiversity loss is a huge challenge, particularly in light of climate change, which will exacerbate many of the adverse drivers.
There are numerous pieces of legislation and many site designations in place at a local, national, EU and UN level to help conserve and enhance biodiversity. While ensuring compliance is a great place to start, good sustainable development should take a ‘beyond compliance’ approach that contributes to and promotes biodiversity.
The Sustainable Construction Strategy sets out that all construction projects over £1m should have biodiversity surveys carried out and necessary actions implemented. BREEAM, CEEQUAL, LEED and the Home Quality Mark help contractors to measure and report on biodiversity impacts as part of wider environmental assessments.
In this quick toolbox talk video, review what biodiversity is, why we need to be aware of it in the construction sector, and key species to be aware of if we find them on site.
Enhancing biodiversity on site
Biodiversity enhancement isn’t limited to new developments – refurbishment projects can also take steps to promote biodiversity. Through the incorporation of ecological features and management regimes, spaces can be improved to provide habitat for wildlife.
Initiatives can include;
- Green roofs
- Living walls
- Bird/bat boxes
- Plant low-maintenance native species on site
- Plant butterfly/bee-friendly species on site
- “Bug hotels” and beehives