Biodiversity and nature-inclusive building

Tygron intern Reijn van Rooyen, in collaboration with Ward van Laatum from Aveco de Bondt, has developed a plan for a biodiversity indicator in the Tygron platform. In this blog post, he describes the approach and assumptions which he has made. The result is a biodiversity indicator in the Tygron Platform based on information about the little owl: an interesting project that combines opportunities for ecological expertise and the living environment.

This development is in line with the need to make biodiversity the new normal in construction. VolkerWessels , the Province of South Holland and Naturalis worked together on this last year as part of their coalition Kruisbestuivers (cross-pollinators). Their work has resulted in a quick-start guide with practical tips for nature-inclusive design. This guide and more information about Kruisbestuivers can be found at www.kruisbestuivers.nl

From VolkerWessels, Primum and Aveco de Bondt are working together on the further development of a BioTwin: a digital twin with which nature-inclusive designs can be made visible and measurable. Currently, this is being further elaborated in a number of VolkerWessels pilot projects.

Ward van Laatum has developed the first impression of how this could be done. See the explanation of the approach here:

(Video in Dutch only)

As a result of this, I also have started an exploratory project. To reduce the complexity, I chose to highlight one species: the Little Owl. I looked at what it takes to create a living environment for that species within an existing area that would be as attractive as possible. The little owl is traditionally found in the Netherlands and mainly lives in areas with extensive agricultural land use on the outskirts of country-sides. That is why for this project, the selected area was in Wageningen, specifically between the Wageningse Berg and the floodplain of the Rhine.

Figure 1 The selected area (Google Earth, 2020)

Further preconditions were created with the help of the data from Bij12 in the educational document: the Little Owl as well as the Bird Protection in the Netherlands website. I have implemented those preconditions in the Tygron Platform as “measures” which could be applied to the chosen area. This way, the project provides insight into the possibilities of making the project area more attractive for the little owl.

Regarding the preconditions, I first looked at the nest of the little owl, for example, if it is in a hollow tree, in a nest box or between the roof covering. Then, the area around the nest was also realized as part of the little owl’s habitat. Moreover, the Little Owl is only active in a relatively small territory. In addition to the nesting site, the “rest areas” should also be created within the chosen area. The owls use those resting places, also known as roosts, usually to hide, but sometimes they use them to prevent parasites from going into their nests.

For this case, I assumed that there is a radius of around 200m around the nest, where 3 resting places must be provided. In addition to this resting place, the little owl also needs viewing places, from which the little owls can forage. For these viewing areas, I decided to plant willows and tall fruit trees, which are trees that owls generally love. To increase foraging opportunities, the grassland could also be transformed into an owl-friendly grass, where no pesticides are used and is better suited for owls to hunt. A final option is to lower the speed limit in the area, which in turn increases the owl’s chances of survival.

Figure 2. Example of different options to promote biodiversity

(Video in Dutch only)

 

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