About biodiversity

Explains what biodiversity is, what the Local Biodiversity Action Plan is, and why biodiversity is so important.

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity includes the variety of different species, the variety of places in which species live, known as habitats, and the variety within species.  The term ‘biodiversity’ is subtly different to other similar terms, such as wildlife or nature, as it covers the variety of life in its totality including humans, livestock, crops and man-made habitats.

Biodiversity is essential for sustaining the natural living systems or ecosystems that provide us with food, fuel, health, wealth, and other vital services.

What is a Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP)?

There is a range of international, European and national legislation and policies to protect and enhance biodiversity, stemming from the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity.  The UK Government’s response to this was to produce the UK Biodiversity Action Plan in 1994, which sets out the species and habitats of importance in the UK and the action required to conserve and enhance them.  This has now been superseded by Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services.

The East Riding has a Local Biodiversity Action Plan, the East Riding of Yorkshire Biodiversity Action Plan (ERYBAP), which has been produced by the East Riding of Yorkshire Biodiversity Partnership and adopted by the council and other partners.

Read more about the East Riding of Yorkshire Biodiversity Action Plan.

Why is biodiversity important in the East Riding?

Biodiversity is important because it provides mankind with food, medicine, materials and other essential goods.  It also provides us with many ecosystem services, including the provision of clean air, soil and water and protection from flooding and coastal erosion.

Biodiversity may also potentially help us to adapt to climate change by storing and absorbing carbon and by mopping up some of the damaging effects it may have.  The natural environment provides the East Riding with its sense of place, making it an attractive location for people to live, work and visit, and potentially bringing economic investment from tourism and regeneration.  Apart from the many benefits biodiversity provides, it is also important in its own right.

The East Riding has a rich and varied biodiversity that is nationally and internationally important.  Some well-known examples include the:

  • ancient flood meadows of the Lower Derwent Valley
  • chalk grasslands of the Wolds
  • wetlands of the River Hull Valley
  • mudflats and saltmarshes of the Humber Estuary
  • towering chalk cliffs of Flamborough Headland

The varied habitats of the East Riding support a range of important species such as strongholds for water voles and otters, rare invertebrates including tansy beetle and dingy skipper butterfly, farmland birds such as barn owl and the UK’s largest mainland seabird nesting colony with gannets, kittiwakes, razorbills and puffins.