There are lots of affordable options for carrying out relevant biodiversity projects. Whether it’s low-cost, or even no-cost there are actions you can take to enhance biodiversity, and there are plenty of options for small budgets.
Quick and easy options
If you just occupy an office:
Many people assume that biodiversity conservation is only for those organisations that have or are involved in outdoor spaces. But, even without outdoor space, there are plenty of quick and easy ways your organisation can help conserve biodiversity:
- Sponsor a species or habitat and raise funds for a local wildlife trust or charity.
- Sponsor your local wildlife site or club (e.g. a nearby Local Nature Reserve or your local Wildlife Watch club).
- Have a noticeboard to tell staff and visitors what you are doing to encourage biodiversity on site or nearby. You could include a section on wildlife gardening (e.g. the best native species to grow; which plants to grow for butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects; and where to get a compost bin).
- Plant up some window boxes and planters with native species – they’ll both look great and encourage wildlife. Make sure you use peat-free compost in these.
- Hang bird feeders, put up a bird table and fix bird and bat boxes to trees or buildings.
- Have a team conservation day (contact The Conservation Volunteers or Scottish Wildlife Trust for ideas).
If you have some outdoor space:
Grounds management for biodiversity is not necessarily more expensive than standard grounds maintenance. And, in some instances, maintenance costs can be reduced, for example with less grass cutting:
- Don’t keep your grounds too ‘tidy’ – areas of long grass, piles of cut or dead wood and bushy hedges provide excellent wildlife habitats.
- Instead of amenity grassland, sow a wildflower mix. You won’t need to mow it so often!
- Plant native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses whenever possible, although there are some non-native species that are great for wildlife too. Be plant wise and make sure you don’t plant or encourage invasive non-native species.
- Cut meadows and other grassland areas once during spring and once during autumn to encourage flowers to grow and set seed.
- Set up a wildlife garden. You don’t need a lot of space; for example, put in some planters with wildflowers if you only have a small space. Have a look at the advice of the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts and have a go at creating a garden for life.
- Use peat-free products in any planting or landscaping works. And eliminate pesticides and herbicides (or limit their use) in your maintenance schedule.
- Leave some areas unmanaged or undeveloped to vary or retain habitats for species. Bare ground, for example, provides foraging places for species such as hedgehogs, frogs and toads. They all love to eat slugs!
- Make a pond – visit the Freshwater Habitats Trust website and read SEPA’s advice on ponds, pools and lochans.
- Encourage birds by planting trees and shrubs with berries (e.g. rowan, hawthorn, cherry) and diversify your woodland areas by creating glades and sun spots. Many tree species are also important for pollinators such as bumble bees.
- Compost your green waste. Sealed compost bins are cheap and clean and provide an ideal way to recycle everything, from grass cuttings to tea bags. See Recycle for Scotland’s information on composting.
If you use natural resources:
- Source your timber-based products from sustainable managed woodland – look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo.
- Use recycled paper.
- Reduce energy use – low energy light bulbs are a good starting point.
- Recycle and re-use as much as you can so that you produce less waste.
- Encourage staff to cycle or walk to work more – provide safe bike storage and information on safe cycling and walking routes.
Funding biodiversity projects
Some organisations provide funding for biodiversity projects, but these can be short-term initiatives. If you are looking for funding for a project, it is worth having a look at the websites of organisations such as:
Help with developing a project
If you need help with developing a biodiversity project, however small, it might be helpful to contact your
Local branches of wildlife organisations may also be able to help, such as: