Environmental Conservation

Main Papers

Suburban Gardens: England's Most Important Nature Reserve?

Jennifer Owena1 and D. F. Owena1

a1 66 Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, England

Systematic sampling of hoverflies, ichneumonid wasps, and butterflies, in a suburban garden at Leicester, England, has revealed a remarkable diversity of species. Suburban gardens, which support an enormous variety of plants, now cover at least a million acres (405,000 ha) of England and Wales (about 1/37 of the total land area), and if the diversity of insects found in one garden reflects the situation elsewhere, gardens are collectively the most important nature reserve in the country. They are, moreover, in no danger of disappearing; on the contrary they are spreading, yet their potential for conservation has been neglected.