Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Grow Your Own

By Laura Mumaw

Collaborative wildlife gardening programs engage residents to manage their land and achieve landscape-focused conservation goals.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Involving communities in appreciating and caring for nature is a key goal in most conservation strategies. But how is this achieved, particularly in cities where “nature” is sometimes hard to come by? Wildlife gardening is one commonly suggested solution, but what ingredients make for a successful program?

Although the urban landscape is dominated by human activities and cannot be restored to a wild state, the persistence of native flora and fauna can be fostered. Effective conservation of native species requires sympathetic management of plots of public and private land in a way that protects and improves patches of native habitat (generally on public land). This is enhanced by establishing protective buffers around them and improving connectivity between them through corridors and stepping stones in residential and other land-use areas.

Residents may feel this is the responsibility of experts and parks staff, or that they have little to offer. Yet residential gardens are important: they make up a large proportion of urban land, many community members have them, and they can provide habitat that is important for the survival of native species. Unfortunately there is currently little guidance about how best to involve residents in wildlife gardening and align their work with public land management.

To help fill this hole, we looked at how a...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.