Unsurprisingly, London landscapes can host fewer animals, plants and birds than large green, natural spaces. However, by incorporating green features in urban areas we have come a long way in helping to maintain a home for natural species in our cites.
Whilst larger woodland areas and parks provide more opportunities for animals to live, London landscapes have a vital role to play for nature’s urban life. For example, a range of small animals and insects inhabit green roofs and landscaped roundabouts.
Having more diverse green spaces in urban areas can do wonders for a variety of species. In fact, some urban areas have shown to host more wildlife than surrounding countryside areas that are intensively farmed.
Londoner’s love wildlife in their lives
Increased biodiversity has also shown to be very desirable by those living and working in cities. One study found that people would be willing to personally pay to help encourage greater local biodiversity. A wide diversity of species enriches our lives and is a boost to our well-being, a fact that has been highlighted over the recent lockdown. Even if animals don’t spend every season in the city, London landscapes still have a vital role to play in aiding migration.
Birds in London landscapes
Across the span of a year, over 300 species of bird can be found in London. Some are permanent residents, while others migrate from as far afield as Siberia and Saharan Africa. Perhaps known best of all in London is the pigeon. Less well known, however, is that they are the favourite prey of Peregrine Falcons, of which London has the second highest urban population in the world. There are at least 5 nesting on the Battersea Power Station development, and over 30 pairs across the city. Tall buildings with high ledges, extended light hours and an abundance of pigeons (and parakeets) is thought to have lured them.
Urban green spaces act as “wildlife corridors” that allow species to travel between cities to other rural areas. It has been shown, in the UK, that pollinator species, such as bees, are seeing their numbers decline. Habitat loss and pollution are among the factors that have caused this. By providing green areas, we can help sustain pollinators, as well as the variety of plants and flowers they in turn support. Nature is one large cycle, and by making dedicated provision for wildlife the whole ecosystem flourishes.
Wildlife gives back in urban areas
A flourishing biodiversity is a natural pest control system. For example, a single pair of Great Tits and their offspring can consume around 70,000 caterpillars and 20 million insects – i.e. pests – annually. Birds of Prey also play an important role in controlling rodent numbers, although admittedly they have a lot on their plate at the moment – London is home to nearly 20 million rats, who have enjoyed a boom whilst the capital was in lock down.
Wildlife conservation led by landscape design
Increasingly, landscape architects are gearing towards wildlife conservation. This is important as it helps ensure the future of many species currently residing in cities. It has pushed the inclusion of bird and bat boxes, insect hotels and beehives on most new developments. Many of these replicate textures, shapes and dimensions of natural habitats such as trees.
Government has introduced regulations to ensure a building makes a biodiversity net gain contribution to the area. This has seen much more emphasis placed on the external landscapes and green roofs. Larger spaces of wildflower meadow are also on the increase, proving foraging areas for many species.
Creating London’s landscapes
Valley Provincial are proud to have been shaping London’s landscapes for over 40 years. We have created many green spaces across the capital, enjoyed by humans and wildlife alike. If you are looking to create a landscaped space that looks incredible as well as supports urban conservation, please get in touch here.