Biodiversity Action Plans
Creating a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for your organisation can help you to plan, manage and monitor the habitats on your site. A Biodiversity Action Plan is a means of managing your resources to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, or wildlife, through developing management plans for your organisation. A BAP is basically a management system for your site and can be integrated into your Environmental Management System. A management system helps to reduce risk and maximise opportunity in a planned way.
Developing a BAP for your landholding provides you with a managed plan that will help you to put the correct procedures in place to conserve biodiversity on your site.
A BAP can be developed in the following way:
Conducting a review of your company’s activities, with regard to biodiversity and resources, your company can examine where change is needed and what impacts your company may be having on the environment. For example, your procurement policy in relation to timber and furniture; recycling and energy efficiency.
A site survey should be carried out to identify what types of habitats and species are present and to determine if these sites or habitats are impacted on by the company’s activities or policies.
Develop an Action Plan
This plan should outline targets and objectives as well as actions and the relevant resources required to achieve objectives. Typically an Action Plan might contain the following:
- Improving site nature conservation
There are many different things you can do to encourage a wider number of species to your site and in doing so increase the attractiveness and biodiversity value of your site.
- Introduce native species
Planting of a mix of native plants and trees will make your site more natural looking, encourage more local wildlife such as birds, insects and small mammals.
- Help your local wildlife
This can be achieved by erecting bird boxes and feeders, bat boxes and bug boxes offering shelter to a wealth of animals.
- Habitat Management
Wetlands for example provide a unique habitat for a wide range of birds, animals and insects. If your site contains any wetland areas it would be well worth the effort to try and develop their ecological potential to enhance biodiversity. If you have any woodland areas there are things you can do to enhance biodiversity. By leaving piles of dead wood lying out over the winter you can provide natural shelter to many insects which in turn will serve as a food source to birds. For managing grassland consider using no fertiliser or leave meadow areas to allow more species to grow. If you use wildflower mix, ensure they are native. Avoid the planting of garden species that could be invasive e.g. Japanese Knotweed and Rhododendrons.
Encouraging staff to become involved in the conservation and development of biodiversity on site will increase staff awareness and morale. It may be possible for staff to get involved with the local community by sharing their experiences of developing conservation and working with native species. By doing this your company / organisation can give something positive back to the community. This would perhaps take the form of a newsletter or open day.
The effectiveness of your BAP should be reviewed regularly and the BAP adjusted/amended as needed to maintain its effectiveness. Records of these periodic reviews should be kept to monitor progress.