Biodiversity is under threat everywhere, and mostly from the pressures we humans put on it. Worldwide, millions of people are moving into cities, agriculture is becoming more intensive and putting pressure on native species in Europe. One way of slightly relieving the pressure on local species is by creating ‘Left Spaces’. Left spaces are areas set aside to let native species of living things thrive – from window boxes and balconies through to public parks and unused community spaces, they form mini-ecosystems that provide a home for organisms both large and small. This leaflet will help you create your own left space and join a network of these ecosystems stretching right across Europe.
Creating space for Biodiversity
Despite Europe’s population intensity and agriculture, there’s a surprising amount of land that could be used to encourage native species: from small private spaces in cities to much larger rural areas, there’s a lot of land which is either over-maintained or effectively abandoned. All of it has potential to provide a home to local species of living things – if we get to work and provide the conditions that nature needs to work its magic. We therefore encourage you to investigate the possibilities of setting up let spaces in and around your institution, perhaps in cooperation with local botanical gardens or nurseries. Left spaces are great way to encourage the public to partake in the campaign and make a difference as it is something they can do in their own backyard. Not a participant yet? Click here to join the campaign.
There are also several ways to create a left space in your own backyard. Even if the space is only available for a year the project is still worthwhile. If you have a window box, balcony or private garden, you need to decide how much space you can dedicate to native species and for how long. If you maybe have access to a shared garden or community space, you can put together a group of people to help you maintain a left space. These people could be neighbours, friends and family. You can decide whether to plant native species or wait for them to grow spontaneously. These plants will provide essential ecosystem services, as well as attracting other native wildlife to your garden. Have a look at the list of participants to see if there’s an institution in your area who can help you get started.
By giving native species a little more space, our lives will benefit as well. Let It Grow!