Wildlife Gardening Forum Conference - Lawns, Biodiversity and People

28 June 2012 08:30 - 15:00

Location: Flett Events Theatre, Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD, UK.

Event description

You may wonder why lawns have been singled out for a special themed conference meeting, and possibly feel that the subject is not of great general interest. But lawn management could be one of the Forum's greatest challenges, and one of our biggest opportunities, not just within private gardens, but over the whole fabric of urban green infrastructure.

Lawns are the biggest single habitat component in most gardens, usually covering more than half their area. For most people they are an essential multi-function resource, used for children's play, sitting about in the sun, hanging out the washing and a place to chuck crusts to feed the birds. We may moan about mowing grass, but it is actually quite a quick and easy form of management, frequently popular with techno-centric middle aged men. Whatever we recommend for wildlife, it has got to fit in with what gardeners want.

On the other hand, conventional lawns are not very sustainable. To avoid browning in dry periods, people use prodigious amounts of tap water, even though lawns always bounce back when it finally rains. Some gardeners use large quantities of expensive fertiliser and selective herbicides to keep them green and weed-free. These chemicals have a high carbon footprint, and cause releases of nitrite much in excess of agricultural grassland. Cutting with a petrol lawnmower release much more Carbon Dioxide than the grass lays down as biomass.

These problems will get worse with climate change, to the extent that the lush green English lawn may have to become a thing of the past.

Advance booking is required. The cost per delegate is only £25, which includes a vegetarian friendly lunch and refreshments through the day.  Any surplus will go to build the Forum's (small) reserves.

Organisation details

This event was not organised by the AES. Please contact the event organiser if you have any queries.

Event organiser: Wildlife Gardening Forum

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