Biodiversity is ultimately lost or conserved at the local level and everyone, be they farmer, developer or school pupil can play a part in helping conserve and restore our biodiversity. Wherever we manage, or influence how others manage land of any size or scale - be it in our gardens, estates, parks, playing fields, farms or other open spaces – we can do so in a way that benefits wildlife.
Acting locally to benefit wildlife can also benefit our local economy, our quality of life and our health too. More information on the wider benefits biodiversity.
There are many ways we can take part in helping biodiversity locally. We can provide direct help by managing land, gardens and other spaces in a wildlife-friendly way or influence others through our actions and our purchasing decisions. We can all play a part helping England’s biodiversity.
Biodiversity needs space, diversity and complexity if it is to thrive and this is best achieved at a landscape-scale. Professor Sir John Lawton characterised this as England needing spaces for biodiversity that were ‘bigger, better and more joined-up’ (see Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological networks.
The Government’s new biodiversity strategy Biodiversity 2020 emphasises the importance of landscape-scale action not just for biodiversity but also to improve the provision of ecosystem services and help us adapt to climate change.
One way that Natural England supports landscape-scale working is through the 159 National Character Area profiles that are in the process of being published. These provide information, advice and guidance that can help maximise the benefits of landscape-scale working for biodiversity, communities and the economy.
In 2011 Government published a Natural Environment White Paper setting out its goals and vision for the natural environment followed later that year by Biodiversity 2020 Government’s biodiversity strategy. See our biodiversity strategy pages for more details.
Biodiversity 2020 contains four key outcomes covering priority habitats and ecosystem services, marine, species and people that it is seeking to achieve by 2020.
Organisations across England are working together to help deliver the outcomes of Biodiversity 2020.
At both national and local level partnership working is key to helping to protect and manage biodiversity. A network of Local Nature Partnerships has been established to help local communities to take decisions about their local environment and support biodiversity whilst in many parts of the country Local Biodiversity Partnerships (LBAPs) and other old and new examples of partnership working can be found.
All such partnerships are encouraged to report the work they are doing locally on the Biodiversity Action Reporting System (BARS) website.
A network of twelve Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) has been established to help realise the Government’s vision for landscape-scale partnerships delivering benefits for biodiversity, people and communities. These NIAs will work with existing landscape-scale projects.
Some of England’s wildlife and its most important sites for biodiversity are legally protected. In addition, under the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act all public bodies have a legal duty to ‘have regard’ for biodiversity in their decision-making processes.