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How to Increase Biodiversity in Your Own Backyard

What is biodiversity? Biodiversity is the variety of species existing within an ecosystem. This includes plants, animals, and fungi. This is super important because increases in biodiversity boost overall ecosystem productivity and ensure natural sustainability for all life forms. Here is a list of easy ways you can increase biodiversity at home.

1. Ditch the pesticides 

Pesticides are linked to a variety of human health consequences such as hormone disruptions and some cancers. However, the dangers of these chemicals are not limited to only humans as pesticides often contaminate soil, water, and vegetation. They're toxic to birds and insects, ultimately decreasing overall biodiversity. So to increase biodiversity, avoid using harsh chemicals. 

2. Plant native species

Plants that are native to a region are better suited for that location's climate and physical environment. They are able to thrive in those specific environmental conditions and are less susceptible to pests. Oftentimes, native species even have symbiotic relationships with each other, so the more you have, the more they will all benefit. In addition, invasive species grow rapidly and displace natives which can inhibit wildlife presence.

How can you determine which species are native to your area? Texas SmartScape has an awesome resource linked here that allows you to search for plants by region, as well by the factors that are needed to aid in the growth of the species, such as water demand and light requirements. 

3. Befriend (some of) the weeds

Weeds have a bad reputation, but most of the time, they are native species! Weeds can attract and provide food for a wide variety of insects. You can use this handy resource to identify weeds, which provides pictures of the most common weeds from across the state. It will also tell you whether the weed is invasive or native because even though weeds can be great, they're not all native. 

Overall, increasing biodiversity is much more intimidating than it seems. Some very easy changes to the yard and garden maintenance can make a huge difference and will help do your part in creating a more sustainable world.

Interested in learning more beautification and gardening tips? Check out our beautification resource library to continue your education! 

Blog post written by Colton Mitchell, KTB Programs Intern. 


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