22 May 2023

22 ways to build biodiversity

Celebrate biodiversity in all its form this International Day for Biological Diversity by discovering how you can help protect our most precious natural resource.

By Eddie Johnston

Late summer in the Great Board Walk Borders at Kew

To mark International Day for Biological Diversity, we’re sharing 22 actions you can take to help protect, support and regenerate the incredible biodiversity on your doorstep.

1. Discover what biodiversity really is

To protect and celebrate something, you’ve got to know what it is first! Check out our explainer on biodiversity and why it matters.

2. Get wild and messy in the garden

Let a section of your garden grow wild, which is great for biodiversity, offering food and habitats for many species.

3. Give no-dig gardening a go

Instead of turning over the soil in the winter months, try covering it in compost to mimic the natural process of leaf decomposition, and maintain the soil ecosystem.

4. Grow insect-friendly plants

By growing fragrant colourful flowers, you can make sure that crucial pollinators like bees are regular features in your garden.

A black and yellow bumblebee feeding on a pink white flower
Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) © RBG Kew
A colourful array of flowers in front of trees
The Great Broad Walk Borders at Kew Gardens © RBG Kew

5. Create helpful habitats

Encourage birds to your garden by putting out berries and seeds. You can also help provide homes for bees and other insects with a bee house or bee block.

6. Plant (native) trees, shrubs and plants

Help rebuild depleted natural habitats and biomes by planting trees and plants native to your local area.

Several conifer trees within the Pinetum of Kew Gardens
The Pinetum in Kew Gardens, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

7. Save energy

Every little helps in slowing the progression of human-induced climate change, which amongst other things, causes devastating forest fires that impact biodiversity

8. Support biodiversity-friendly companies

Research the companies behind your favourite plant and fungi products to discover if they’re helping to combat biodiversity loss.

9. Enjoy urban biodiversity

Find biodiversity all around you, in gardens, parks and even grass verges. If you have the time, why not volunteer with a community gardening scheme?

Two women gardening
Denmark Hill Community Garden, Jeff Eden © RBG Kew
A kitchen garden with many green crops, with beans climbing in the background
Edible Science Kew's Kitchen Garden, Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

10. Eat sustainably

Save the planet and reduce the carbon emissions from your plate by eating a wider variety of seasonal fruit and veg.

11. Reduce food waste

With one-third of the world’s food being wasted every year, play your part by reducing food waste and make your own compost mix at home.

Colourful assortment of different vegetables at market stall
Assortment of different vegetables at market © Alexandr Podvalny/Unsplash
Compost being made in the Stable Yard at Kew Gardens
Compost being made in the Stable Yard at Kew Gardens, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

12. Think about furniture

Around a third of all tree species are currently under threat and there is far more illegal wood out in the market than you might expect. When you buy, try to buy second-hand, and if buying new, avoid tropical hardwoods.

13. Become a plant health champion

Discover how you can prevent the spread of invasive species and support responsible plant nurseries.

Wood samples in Wood Anatomy Laboratory
Wood samples in Anatomy Laboratory ©RBG Kew

14. Take pictures not samples

As we say at Kew, plants and fungi are for everyone. If you spot a beautiful flower, leave it where it is for humans and animals to enjoy.

15. Keep an eye out for ash dieback

Ash trees make up a vital part of the UK’s forest ecosystem, but are under threat. Learn to spot the signs, and report any potentially infected trees to TreeAlert.

16. Keep an eye on the winners of the Kew International Medal

Kew’s medal recipients help contribute to our understanding of plants and fungi, a key part of biodiversity. 2022's winner, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, has been in championing the importance of biodiversity conservation for over twenty years, and 2023's winner, Professor Suzanne Simard, has investigated how complex fungal networks affect the health of forests.

17. Don’t forget about fungi!

Fungi make up a huge part of biodiversity, but it can be easy to forget about them beneath our feet! Discover more about our fungal friends.

An illustration of several different kinds of fungi
Illustration of fungi, Tafeln 4 from Naturgetreue abbildungen und beschreibungen der essbaren, schädlichen und verdächtigen schwämme by J. V. Krombholz © RBG Kew

18. Support environmental organisations

Groups including the Zoological Society of London, WWF and the Royal Horticultural Society work to raise awareness and study our natural world to protect its fragile biodiversity.

19. Raise biodiversity awareness

Talking about biodiversity loss with friends and family is a great way to bring attention to the issue, and get more people involved in slowing biodiversity loss both locally and globally.

A man walking through a field of wildflowers
Wakehurst's wildflower meadow, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
Low hanging drone image of intact green forest in Brazil. Small patches of fog lay over the forest
Intact forest Brazil © Alexandre Antonelli/RBG Kew.

20. Discover The Hidden Universe

Kew’s Director of Science Professor Alexandre Antonelli’s new book The Hidden Universe teaches you everything you need to know about biodiversity and why it's the single most important tool to battle climate change.

21. Visit Kew and Wakehurst

Not only will you see the incredible range of biodiversity in our gardens, every time you visit Kew or Wakehurst, you’ll be supporting the research we do to help protect biodiversity worldwide.

22. Celebrate Biodiversity Day

International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated on 22 May every year and is a great opportunity to think about some of the changes we can all make to help build back diversity and protect our precious global ecosystems.

Kew Shop

Browse our range of biodiversity-related products. Every purchase from the Kew Online Shop supports our vital science work, helping to protect biodiversity in all its forms.

An image of the Titan Arum in the Princess of Wales Conservatory

Our future is botanic

Help us protect plants and fungi today, because they are our future.