Stimulating biodiversity how do we do that?

Compacted soil

More and more hedges and trees in the park of Ons Buiten die. This is due to increasing compaction of the soil. Compaction happens because soils contain less and less organic substance and as a result contain less soil life and are less aerated. And due to compaction the land is flooded in winter more often. Trees and tree roots are literally suffocating, also at Ons Buiten. This is a global problem that develops very slow and is therefore not noticed.

At Ons Buiten we tackle this problem. We want to turn this deterioration process around and create healthy, airy soils for a rich biodiversity so the park will buzz with life again. In the meanwhile we have replaced a couple of dead hedges by various types of willows. Unlike privets, willows can handle wet conditions. The coming years we will look which of these willows works best and we will do tests to loosen the soil step by step.


At the foot of young trees we often plant fennel. Fennel has a special talent. In arid areas around the Mediterranean Sea, fennel is often the only plant that is still green. In dry periods, fennel can absorb vapour from the atmosphere very well. And fennel has a thick taproot in which water is stored. By planting a small tree near a fennel plant a tree can extract the water from the fennel and thus survive the difficult starting period. This is a method for reforesting trees. We also use fennel at Ons Buiten, so we don't need to water our young trees


Between the plants we cover the ground with mulch. Mulch is organic material, for instance grass clippings or shreds of branches and leaves. With these, we cover the ground as nutrition for soil life. This way, soil life becomes richer and richer and the soil becomes more fertile. We prevent the soil from drying out and we also have to weed less. This means we can spend more time on the service we really find important, while increasing biodiversity at the same time.



In many places of the park we sow clover. Clover is a very convenient ground-cover plant. It protects the soil against the heat of the sun, preventing it from drying out. The flowers are full of nectar, which makes clover interesting for bees. Clover is a member of the leguminous plants which is characterized by the ability to bind nitrogen and transfer it to other plants. But above all, clover ensures we do not have to weed.