Create a Wildlife Habitat Garden in Your Backyard

Whether you have a backyard or a balcony, you can enhance biodiversity by providing a habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and myriad other living things.

| March/April 2003

  • Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison

If you could engage in one activity that would increase biodiversity, reverse species extinction, build soil, improve your neighborhood, provide sensory richness, teach people how ecosystems function, and deliver soul-satisfying fun all at the same time, wouldn’t you do it? Creating a backyard wildlife habitat accomplishes all that and more. If you feel powerless in the face of ecological devastation, here’s where you get your power back.

The great irony of home building—natural or otherwise—is that we create a place for a few humans while destroying the habitat of countless other species. If you build a single house on a large piece of land, the wildlife may eventually adjust around you—if you don’t landscape inhospitably. But in suburbs and cities, the dense buildings, with their concomitant paving and pesticide-laden non-native landscaping, force everything from birds and bees to soil microorganisms to seek happier ground or die out.

Globally, habitat loss is the greatest threat to biodiversity and a major factor in species extinction. As human settlements grow, natural areas become smaller and more fragmented. Migratory birds lose their stopovers, pollinators must travel farther to find food, and amphibians become deformed by contaminated air and water. Urban areas are now the true deserts; natural deserts support far more richness and diversity of flora and fauna than do most backyards.

Fortunately, we can do something about this. Whether you have a backyard or a balcony, you can enhance biodiversity by providing a habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and myriad other living things. This is easier than it may sound; the concepts are simple, the work is best done one step at a time, and a lot of information and support are available.

You are also likely to get back more than you put in: hearing birds sing by day and crickets chirp by night, watching bees and butterflies on their pollinating rounds, seeing sunlight glint off trickling water, and catching the scent of flowers and rich earth nourish us in profound ways. Anything less rich-textured than this natural complexity with which we evolved is unsatisfying to our bodies and beings.

What is a habitat garden?

It might seem that any garden is good for biodiversity. But there is a big difference between a garden of exotics (non- native species) managed with pesticides and fertilizers and a garden of native plants that relies on soil building and natural pest controls and nurtures native wildlife. In fact, the three Eurasian grass species that constitute the bulk of lawns are of little use to most beneficial insects and animals.



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me