A small word that means a lot! It simply means the variety of
life. It includes different kinds of ecosystems, habitats and
species such as plants, animals and insects. It also includes other
forms of life such as fungi, algae and bacteria.
|A River Ecosystem
The River Itchen - supporting
including otter and watervole,
different types of fish, and
insects such as
A vibrant array of spring
A silver washed fritillary
What Biodiversity is present in Eastleigh
The borough of Eastleigh may only cover a tiny fraction of the
earth's surface yet it is still very important, particularly for
those that live in it, including all the plants and animals.
Our borough is home to a great variety of different plants and
animals that inhabit our towns, gardens, nature reserves, parks and
farmland. Many are rare, found only in small numbers and in very
specific places such as the otter along the River Itchen and the
dormouse, found in only a few woods. Others are more common such as
hedgehogs, cabbage white butterflies and blackbirds which we can
Every species, be it common or rare, is an important part of the
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity is a measure of nature's health and thus of our own
health because although we are prone to forget, we are still very
much a part of nature.
Biodiversity is important to conserve and increase because:-
- It supports life itself. Most species are dependant on others
for their survival in a complex web of life. If one species is lost
others will inevitably follow
- It provides us with food, medicine, clothing and raw materials
for building and industry
- It helps maintain the environment, providing all life with
clean air, fresh water and fertile soil
- It is valuable for local economies as tourism and recreation
are most popular in attractive and wildlife rich areas
- It has a right to be there and is enjoyed by a great many
A Biodiversity Action Plan for Eastleigh
In May 2002, the Eastleigh Biodiversity Partnership
published 'Wild About Eastleigh' a plan that details the
action required over the next few years to enhance the natural
environment in the Borough. Read more
Habitats in Eastleigh Borough
The whole land surface of Eastleigh borough can be divided up
into different habitats. Habitats range from urban areas to shingle
beaches, woodlands to arable land.
Some habitats are more important to biodiversity than others
because they support a high variety of species or they support rare
species. Click on the links below to find out more about where the
habitats are in the borough and why they are important.
These are woodlands that have
been in existence for at least 400 years and have not been planted
by man, but have instead developed naturally. The trees found in
these woods are mainly oak, ash and beech with the smaller hazel,
field maple and hawthorn growing beneath the larger
About 16% of the land area of
the borough is wooded.50% of the woodland in the borough is planted
by man and composed of conifers or other non-native trees which is
not so important to biodiversity.
Ancient semi-natural woodlands in the borough to visit are Manor
Farm Country Park and Itchen Valley Country Park. Important species
that are found in woodlands are dormouse, lesser-spotted woodpecker
and silver washed fritillary butterfly.
These are grasslands that are
rich in flowers and animals because they have not had fertilisers
or herbicides applied to them. About 33% of the land area of the
borough is grassland, of which only 2% is unimproved.
The rest of the grassland is improved, in that it has had
fertilisers and herbicides applied to it.
This has lead to a decrease
in the plant and animals life the grassland contains. Unimproved
grasslands in the borough to visit are Itchen Valley Country Park
Nature Reserve and West Wood.
Important species that are
found in unimproved grasslands are brown hare, skylark and
Heathland is dominated by heather. It supports many rare species
that are mostly only found in this type of habitat.
Less than 1% of the borough is heathland and only 20% of the
area that was present in 1800 still remains. Heathlands in the
borough to visit are Netley Common and Hamble Common.
Important species that are found in heathlands are Dartford
warbler, grayling butterfly and round-leaved sundew.
Saltmarsh is found along the edge of the sea between dry land
and the sea itself. It is covered by the sea some of the day when
the tide goes in and out. Many specialised species that can
tolerate high salt levels are found in saltmarsh and they are very
important for feeding and breeding wetland birds. Less than 1% of
the borough is saltmarsh and over the past century some has been
lost to development along the coast including marinas. A saltmarsh
in the borough to visit is Mercury Marshes although please note,
there is only very limited access here due to sensitive wildlife
being present. Important species that are found in saltmarsh are
marsh-mallow (a plant), brent goose and dunlin.
Wetlands are formed where water levels are high and include
reedbeds, swamps, marshes, ponds and lakes. Specialised animals and
plants that are adapted to life in wetlands are found nowhere
Less than 1% of the borough is wetland and over the past century
much has been lost as land has been drained for agriculture.
Wetlands in the borough to visit are Lakeside Country Park and
Itchen Valley Nature Reserve.
Important species that are found in wetlands are otter, water
vole and reed warbler.
The River Itchen, that flows
through the north-west corner of the borough is a classic chalk
stream, renowned for its clear waters and variety of wildlife. Much
of the river and its banks are owned and maintained by fishing
clubs who fish for salmon and trout.
Every year, a percentage of
the water is pumped from the river to supply homes and industry.
Places to access the river are along parts of the Itchen Way
Footpath.Important species that are found in chalk rivers are
otter, southern damselfly water vole and Atlantic salmon.