Spring is motoring on and the Chelsea Flower Show is in full swing, leading to an surge in uplifting flower and garden-based photos in the newspapers. King's College Cambridge has been been prominent among them, with the focus on its lawn, which has been converted into a wildflower meadow over the last few years. The location is literally iconic, but it is also revealing of a couple of other features that are likely to be core to the increasing adoption of biodiversity-focused projects.
As this picture shows, a key thing is the inclusion of people. Unlike the previously protected pristine lawn, the meadow has a path cut through it. People can get into it and be surrounded by spring flowers and the wildlife feeding off them. Bringing people into contact with nature and able to physically experience the benefits of biodiversity will be something that those considering creating biodiversity projects will want to think about, particularly if they are in a visitor-friendly spot.
The other side of this is the potential for commercialisation. King’s College Wild Flower Meadow Seeds are being offered for sale by the college online and in their shop (there, the majority of the proceeds are going to a student mental health fund, so a good cause) and there are similar offerings from other biodiversity projects.
Biodiversity has been a major talking point this year, with BNG at the top of many minds. The link with decarbonisation and carbon sequestration is very strong, and many projects will have a double benefit.
For land in the right location, the ultimate upside might be projects that work from a biodiversity and carbon perspective, that at least wash their own face commercially, and that bring a benefit to people. That is surely additionality at work.
The aim is to create a "biodiversity-rich ecosystem" in an area that had been lush lawn since the 1720s.