The Wildlife Trust was set up by local people who wanted to protect the wildlife and green spaces of Birmingham and the Black Country for everyone to enjoy and appreciate them, long before the word biodiversity was coined by the biologist Edward O. Wilson.
Biodiversity is the variety of all living things and the places where they live. From tigers to tiger beetles and from poison arrow frogs in the rain forest to the frog in your pond, they are all part of biodiversity.
Because we are constantly reminded by the media of threats to species like tigers, polar bears, whales and pandas it is easy to think that our local biodiversity isn't very important in the grand scheme of things.
Think again! The biodiversity of Birmingham and the Black Country is important because it's the day to day contact between over two million people who live here and the life-support systems of planet Earth. As well as helping keep our air and water clean and clear our local biodiversity brings joy and colour to our lives, helps us cope with the stresses of city living and even improves our health.
If that's not enough, did you know just how important your local wildlife in Birmingham and the Black Country is in the bigger picture?
- Otters use rivers and canals in Birmingham and all four boroughs of the Black Country. Twenty years ago they were extinct from most of England's rivers.
- Recent research shows that Birmingham and the Black Country has one of the richest and most diverse floras (different types of plant) of any comparable area in the UK.
- The Black Redstart, a small bird related to the Robin is one of the UKs rarest breeding birds. It can be found nesting from Birmingham to Wolverhampton.
- Some of Europe's rarest pondweeds can be found in Walsall's canals.
- The Water Vole has almost completely disappeared from rural England - the rivers and canals of Birmingham and the Black Country are one of its most important strongholds.
- Many of the UK's rarest insects have been found at sites in the area.
- Peregrine Falcons, a rare and spectacular bird of prey breeds here and can be seen hunting pigeons in the skies across the conurbation.
- Over thirty species of mammal, including several rare and protected species, live in Birmingham and the Black Country, more than in many rural areas.
- The Wren's Nest in Dudley was the UK's first urban National Nature Reserve.
- Sutton Park is also a National Nature Reserve, with many rare and unusual plants and insects.
and the list goes on and on!
Please see the latest on the Biodiversity Action Plan for more detail.