How to Rewild

Track Your Biodiversity

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Track Your Biodiversity

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Seasonality

What You Can Do

The weather is warmer now, and you’ll find that most plants are in leaf, and may be flowering. It’s the perfect time to keep track of the biodiversity on your project. In fact, this is one of the most important things you can do as a rewilder – protecting existing biodiversity is just as important as creating new, wild spaces.

What to Track

There are so many different species on your land – even on degraded plots. Just look closely and you’ll find myriad species of insect, moss, bird and more. But if you’re starting out, there are a few things which are easier to identify – birds, trees and butterflies.

Birds

With apps like Merlin (sound ID), even a complete birdwatching n00b can now take out their phone and identify a relatively rare species. But it’s always good to confirm the identity with binoculars and/or a telescope. If you have a long lens camera, or a phone with zoom, you may be able to get pics, which you can upload to iNaturalist, to confirm your ID.

Butterflies

iNaturalist can also be useful for confirming butterfly IDs – these species are usually easier to identify in person, even for a beginner, as they’ll sit and give you a good look at their distinctively-patterned wings. Adding your records to iNaturalist will allow scientists to track the decline or recovery of butterflies in your area.

Trees

Big, distinctive objects which don’t move around from year to year, and often have distinctive bark, leaves and form. Trees are ideal for a beginner to the world of botany, and they’re a good indication of how plant diversity is recovering on your land. You can try a plant ID app, or simply use the built-in identification system on Android (Google Lens) and iPhones (tap on the plant icon on a leaf photo). 

Protecting Rarities

If you find a rarity, be sure to record where and when you found it. If it returns the following year, then managing the habitat in sympathy with the species’ needs can help ensure its survival in the local landscape. Experts from a charity like Butterfly Conservation, the Wildlife Trusts or a local birdwatching organisation may be able to offer you land management advice.

‘Protect the best, rewild the rest’ is a good philosophy – creating and maintaining refuges for rare species, then allowing them to spread out into previously degraded land.

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