Any regular private green space in Sweden could be a valuable part of the biodiversity mosaic

One of Sweden’s largest natural areas could be hidden in private gardens

One of Sweden’s largest natural areas could be hidden in private gardens

And all homeowners would have to do is set aside 10% of their land to grow wild

If Swedish garden owners let 10% of their land plots grow freely and undisturbed, this would essentially create a natural landmass area that is larger than 24 of the country’s 30 national parks. Such was the conclusion presented from a report done by Länsförsäkringar Fastighetsförmedling (real estate agency) and the cultivation company Nelson Garden.

The study of the two companies was motivated by an observation that more and more of their clients have shown interest in doing a part in promoting biodiversity in Sweden. It turns out that together, they could actually represent a formidable collective force to that effect – if they would decide to organize.

The natural park in your backyard

And all homeowners would have to do is…basically nothing. In Sweden, there are about 2 million villas, with an average plot size of 1,700 square meters. If homeowners were to allow 10 percent of that to grow freely, it would create as much as 34,000 hectares of biodiversity.

In fact, if the garden owners dedicated even just 1 percent of their green property to free growing – that would still create a total area that is larger than 17 of the country’s national parks!

Increased biodiversity in the gardens would create so-called green corridors, or ‘stepping stones’, which connect natural areas and make it easier for species to move between suitable habitats. The green corridors are important for many species. They can thus play a greater role than large contiguous protected nature areas.

The authors of the survey then propose three tips for turning one’s garden into such a biodiversity ‘stepping stone’:

  1. Let your lawn become a meadow: Let part of, or the whole, lawn grow wild and become a meadow. Even "weeds" such as dandelions and thistles are beautiful and important. To further increase the species richness, you can sow flowers with a meadow mixture that both you and animals can enjoy.
  2. Add a little water: A water mirror in the garden is a lifesaver for insects and birds, not least during hot summer days. A small bird bath is enough. Feel free to put in some stones that the insects can stand on so that they do not risk drowning.
  3. Grow flowers for bees: When growing in flower beds or pots, choose plants that are appreciated by bees and other pollinators. Try to grow them so that there are flowering plants throughout the season.



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