The importance of the Earth's biological and natural resources is recognised globally and it is being emphasised more and more through legislation how vital to humanity's economic and social development they are. It is also recognised that the threat to species and ecosystems has never been as great as it is today. Species extinction caused by human activities continues at an alarming rate.
In 1994 the Government at that time published the UK Biodiversity Action Plan in response to signing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the 1992 Rio earth summit. The aim of the plan was to set up a programme for conserving the UK’s biodiversity. This lead to a number of action plans for many of the most threatened species and habitats within the UK. Since that time, organisations have been required to comply with local and national biodiversity initiatives to conserve and enhance the UK’s biodiversity.
A review of the UK BAP priority list in 2007 led to the identification of 1150 species and 65 habitats that meet the BAP criteria at UK level.
At Brunel University we have made a commitment to protect our existing biodiversity, and where possible enhance and improve it.
We have created the Brunel University Biodiversity Action Plan (BUBAP), which has a number of key aims including:
- To identify local priorities, habitat and species and determine the contribution that can be made to the Local and UK Biodiversity action plans
- To protect and conserve habitats and species present all round campus
- To create new areas for wildlife
- To raise awareness of biodiversity to students, staff and the general public
- To encourage people to take an active part within the University community in biodiversity projects
- To enhance the quality of life for staff and students making the University an attractive place to live work and study
- To meet the University’s Environmental compliance-section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006)
The Bicentenary Gardens are situated on the southern edge of the Brunel campus and is home to many species of bird, butterflies and plants.
Resident breeding bird species include greenfinch, linnet, goldfinch, dunnock, song thrush and blackbird. Kestrels can be seen hovering in search of small mammals and insects. In summer willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap and whitethroat join the resident species to breed before returning to Africa for the winter. After the summer migrants have left, you can see wintering redwing and fieldfare feeding on the crops of berries on the bushes.
Twenty species of butterfly have been recorded in this area, and Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Small Skipper butterflies are especially common in late June and July. The buddleia bushes attract good numbers of Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Painted Lady in late July, August and September.
As well as butterflies many other species of insect benefit from this regenerated area of wasteland. With the River Pinn nearby, dragonflies and damselflies – including the impressive Emperor – frequent this area and can be seen on warm summer days hunting for insect prey.
We hope to encourage more wildlife to this area with minimal but careful management.