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Reference: Multimedia

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Gardening with wildlife in mind

By English Nature
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Ref image CDROM database of plants and wildlife to be found within our gardens and information on how to garden for the benefit of wildlife.
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 Citation  
English Nature 2003. Gardening with wildlife in mind. Lewes. The Plant Press.
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 Format  
1 CDROM.
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 Review  
Open quotesThis CDROM is centred on a database of around 800 animals and plantsClose quotesThis CDROM is centred on a database of around 800 animals and plants. All the featured plants are useful for attracting animals into the garden in one way or another and they include both native and introduced species. Most of the animals are, of course, invertebrates since these naturally account for most animals in all habitats and gardens are no exception. There is a decent amount of information on each of the animals and plants including a good photograph, a distribution map (for England only), and the conditions/habitats they prefer.

Open quotesThe real strength of the database lies in the links between the plant and animal recordsClose quotesThe real strength of the database lies in the links between the plant and animal records. So, for example, by looking up the entry for the small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae), you will also see a list of the plants which attract it and you can click on any of these plants to be taken directly to its own entry. Similarly there is a list of animals which prey on this butterfly and the entry for any animal which preys on other animals will include a list of the animals on which it feeds. There are similar links for all the plants. Open quotesHerein lies the great advantage of this kind of medium over a book: you can very quickly locate related information and explore the relationships between the different speciesClose quotesHerein lies the great advantage of this kind of medium over a book: you can very quickly locate related information and explore the relationships between the different species.

Open quotesThe advanced search feature is another great boon of the CDROM formatClose quotesThe advanced search feature is another great boon of the CDROM format. By entering part of the name of a plant or animal, you can quickly locate its entry; but the search provides much more than this. You can, for example, search for plants by conditions tolerated (light/shade and moisture), by type (annual, biennial or perennial), by habitat (e.g. meadow or hedgerow) or by the kind of animals they attract (e.g. small tortoiseshell). Similarly you can search for animals by the type of habitat they prefer, or their likelihood of occurring in the garden (low, medium or high) or by entering the name of an associated plant.

The CDROM also includes a fair bit of information on gardening for wildlife including four sections of creating wildlife habitats: hedges, meadows, ponds & marshes and walls & fences. The forward to this information is given by Chris Baines, author of (How to make a wildlife garden). Open quotesThere are some 200 tips for wildlife gardeners, organised into eight categoriesClose quotesThere are some 200 tips for wildlife gardeners, organised into eight categories (birds, composting, habitat creation, invertebrates, managing lawns, pest control, plants and ponds).

All in all, at around 10, this resource should prove to be a real boon for the wildlife gardener that has access to a PC, particularly when investigating the relationships between various garden plants and animals. The website of the publishers, Plant Press, can be found at http://www.plantpress.com.

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North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Do you live in Merseyside? Interested in its wildlife?