Technology and biodiversity are two concepts that are usually viewed as polar opposites. However, the source of technical advances are often inspired from the natural world. Species in particular that have evolved to a certain role or niche provide unique opportunities for us to learn and develop technology and materials. Maintaining high levels of biodiversity will protect the vast range of species and their evolutionary functions, some of which could be utilised to improve our way of life.
Rewilding is an increasingly popular concept which involves restoring large areas back to their natural state, and the reintroduction of species that have recently been extinct. This ranges from the reintroduction of bison, big cats and bears into Europe, as well as smaller reintroductions such as the recent reintroduction of beavers in the UK.
Ecosulis have recently completed a large scale infrastructure project in Lancashire. The primary focus of the job was to climb and inspect mature trees to assess the potential of tree cavities to support roosting bats.
The work was undertaken by Mark Anderton and Ben Mitchell (licensed bat ecologist) and once up in the tree canopy, the principle role of the inspection involved using an endoscope to inspect the full extent of the cavity. The first stage is evidently checking for the presence or absence of roosting bats, although no bats were recorded in this instance.
In 1990, Ecosulis was a family owned business set up by Dave and Ali Green. Ecosulis was run from the family home and grew by addressing clients needs at the time, by offering applied ecological knowledge, technical capability and a strong commercial awareness.
Over the twenty five years since, the business has expanded and has a presence throughout the UK and offices in Bath, Exeter, Monmouth, Chester and London. The HQ is based in a 3,000sq ft Rickyard (seed store) located between Bristol and Bath.
Bristol has been awarded European Green Capital for 2015, and has launched its programme to celebrate this. Features range from recycling initiatives to sustainable architecture and biodiversity. There are a whole range of events that are open to members of the public to get involved. This includes a range of biodiversity enhancements, including floating harbours, details on birdfeeders and lichens and plant collections.
The National Planning Policy Framework requires all schemes to show an ecological enhancement. This can sometimes cause problems when designing masterplans especially if layouts have been fixed before ecological input is sought. It can be very costly to incorporate large areas of green space within fixed layouts if consideration to biodiversity has not been given at the design stage. Early engagement with an ecologist is key, but we have also provided a summary of easy wins and dos/don’ts when designing your development layout.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) is DNA which is collected from water in which plants or animals live rather than from the organism directly. A method has been developed in ponds in the UK to use eDNA to determine presence or absence of Great Crested Newts within a waterbody.