If we want to attract and conserve pollinators and other wildlife, we need to be creating the right conditions for them to flourish. One way of doing this is creating new wildflower meadows and woodland areas that give them much-needed food and shelter.
But in the sea of seed-bombs and newly-minted forestries, it’s important that we don’t forget about our existing nature. Local plant species and wildlife can be negatively impacted by introducing non-native plant species to a new area.
That’s why LNPs across Wales are running Local Places for Nature (LPfN) funded projects that are developing banks of native seeds - so that they’re working with rather than against their local ecosystems.
Take Brecon Beacons LNP’s LPfN funded seed harvester and trailer. Their new machine can travel across the park’s many terrains, gathering wildflower seeds to be planted across other areas of the park.
‘We’ve been applying collected seed to a number of restoration sites including Craig y Fan Ddu, Pen Trumau and Waun Fach,’ elaborates Project Officer Sam Ridge. ‘As the scale of peatland restoration work increases, so does the demand. I hope we can find even more suitable sites for harvesting, maximising its value in future years.’
Or up in Denbighshire, where the LNP have used LPfN funding to set up a new native tree nursery. The tree nursery will provide native trees to community groups free of charge, and will run training and volunteer events to engage people with nature and make sure they understand the implications of planting.
The site will also feature facilities to grow native wildflower plants, expanding on a successful collaboration with the Woodland Skills Centre in Bodfari.
All plants produced at the site will be used to enhance the wildflower meadows currently being managed across Denbighshire, bringing nature closer to the local community. Currently there are 45 acres of wildflower meadow being managed for nature - all using LPfN-funded machinery.
The projects above show that it’s possible to meet planting targets while making sure we aren’t having an adverse affect on our local wildlife. Of course we need to be planting as much as possible, not just to put the brakes on our declining nature, but also on our rapidly changing climate.
But in the race to create new green space, Local Places for Nature funding is ensuring that our new planting drive doesn’t cause problems for the nature we have left.