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How to restore biodiversity in the city?


How to restore biodiversity in the city?

Restoring urban biodiversity is a process that requires an integrated approach, combining different actions at the urban, ecological and social levels. In this article, we will present some effective strategies.

Urban greening

Establishing green roofs and walls

Green roofs and walls are innovative solutions that can make a significant contribution to improving urban biodiversity. Covering roofs and walls with vegetation creates microhabitats for many species of insects, birds and small mammals. Plants absorb pollutants from the air, improving air quality while reducing the urban heat island effect. Introducing green roofs and walls into the urban landscape enhances the aesthetics of public and private spaces, and can also improve the insulation of buildings, reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling.

Planting trees in cities

Planting trees in cities is one of the simplest, yet most effective measures to restore biodiversity and improve the quality of life for residents. Trees in urban spaces not only provide shelter for various species of birds and insects, but also improve air quality, reduce the urban heat island effect and enhance the aesthetics of the surroundings. Regular tree planting campaigns organised by local authorities, schools, community organisations and residents can make a significant contribution to increasing green space in cities.

Creating pocket forests using the Miyawaki method

The Miyawaki method, developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, involves creating pocket forests by planting native tree and shrub species in small urban spaces. The pocket forest grows quickly, reaching its full height in just 20-30 years, and supports high biodiversity through planting density. Such mini-forests can be created in parks, squares, along streets and in other accessible urban spaces.

The One More Tree Foundation actively organises tree planting campaigns and the creation of pocket forests using the Miyawaki method in various cities. Through their initiatives, residents can engage in environmentally friendly activities, learning about the importance of biodiversity and working together for a green, healthy urban environment. Such actions not only contribute to improving local ecosystems, but also build social bonds and raise environmental awareness among participants.

Conservation and habitat creation

Creating nature reserves and urban parks

Nature reserves and urban parks are key elements of green urban infrastructure that can serve as refuges for local species. In cities with high population densities, such areas provide places for recreation and environmental education while protecting natural ecosystems. Urban reserves can include a variety of environments such as forests, meadows, ponds and wetlands, creating diverse habitats for many species.

Restoring natural ecosystems

Restoration is the process of restoring the natural functions of ecosystems that have been damaged or altered by human activities. In cities, this can include the restoration of rivers, wetlands and forests. Examples of such activities include removing concrete channels from rivers to restore natural banks, planting trees along ecological corridors and restoring wetlands that can act as natural water filters and habitats for wildlife.

Ecological corridors

Ecological corridors are connections between different green areas in cities that allow wildlife and plants to migrate. Such corridors may run along rivers, railways, roads or other urban infrastructure. Connecting isolated habitats increases the genetic diversity of populations and enables species to adapt to environmental changes.

Building green corridors along roads and railways

Green corridors along roads and railways can effectively link different green areas in a city, creating a network of connections for wildlife. Such corridors can be equipped with special animal crossings to reduce the risk of collisions with vehicles. Vegetation along these corridors can also reduce air and noise pollution, improving the quality of life for residents.

Promoting plant diversity

Planting native plant species

Native plant species are better adapted to local climate and soil conditions, making them more resistant to disease and drought. Planting native species supports local ecosystems, as such plants are often key sources of food and habitat for local animal species. In addition, native plants can support pollinator insect diversity, which is key to the health of urban ecosystems.

Creating floral meadows

Flower meadows are areas planted with a mix of wildflowers that attract pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and beetles. The creation of floral meadows in urban parks, on public and private land can significantly increase urban biodiversity. These meadows not only support pollinating insects, but also other species such as birds and small mammals that use seeds and insects as food sources. For a professional approach, it is advisable to learn about the technicalities of creating flower meadows or to enlist the help of environmental organisations. One option is the One More Tree Foundation, which organises flower meadow sowing campaigns.

Education and community involvement

Education is key to understanding and supporting biodiversity efforts. Educational programmes can include workshops, seminars, nature tours and other activities that teach local people about the benefits of biodiversity and how to support it. Schools, NGOs and public institutions can collaborate in developing educational programmes for different age groups.

Community projects, such as planting trees together, creating community gardens or cleaning up green spaces, can increase awareness and involvement of local people in biodiversity conservation. Involving the local community in such activities promotes a sense of responsibility for the environment and builds community ties, which is key to the long-term sustainability of environmental projects.

Reducing pollution

Reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides

Chemicals used in agriculture and urban horticulture can negatively affect the health of ecosystems, killing not only pests but also beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides by promoting integrated pest management and alternative methods of pest control, such as natural enemies, can help to increase biodiversity.

Improving air and water quality

Air and water pollution have negative impacts on human and ecosystem health. Initiatives to improve air quality, such as promoting public transport, cycling and electric vehicles, can reduce emissions. Treating rainwater and reducing industrial discharges into rivers and lakes improves water quality, which is crucial for the health of aquatic ecosystems

Forest cleaning campaigns

Regular forest and green space clean-up campaigns organised by local communities, schools and environmental organisations can make a significant contribution to reducing pollution. Such initiatives not only remove litter that can threaten wildlife, but also raise environmental awareness among participants and promote environmental responsibility. Organising forest clean-up days and educational campaigns on waste segregation and recycling can effectively reduce pollution in urban and peri-urban ecosystems.

Sustainable water management

Effective rainwater management can reduce the risk of flooding and improve groundwater quality. Creating systems to retain and use rainwater, such as retention basins, green roofs, rain gardens and permeable paving, helps reduce rainwater runoff and improves urban water management.

The restoration of streams, ponds and other natural water bodies in cities can create valuable habitats for wildlife. By restoring natural banks and removing flow barriers, natural ecosystem processes such as water filtration and habitat for fish, amphibians and waterbirds can be restored.

Monitoring and research

Monitoring the state of urban biodiversity allows rapid response to changes and threats. Regular surveys and species inventories can provide the data needed to make informed environmental decisions. Technologies such as drones, surveillance cameras and environmental sensors can support the monitoring process.

Collaboration with scientists, NGOs and other institutions can provide valuable data and recommendations for urban policy. These organisations can conduct research, educate the public and support projects to protect biodiversity. Cross-sectoral cooperation is crucial for effective urban conservation.

The implementation of the above strategies can make a significant contribution to restoring urban biodiversity, while improving the quality of life for residents and the health of urban ecosystems. Long-term planning, community involvement and continuous monitoring are key to the success of these actions. Promoting sustainable development and green urban management can create a healthier, more sustainable urban environment for current and future generations.