Habitat construction should not be considered a replacement for the conservation of naturally existing habitat but can play a key role in helping to conserve biological diversity. Careful plantings can provide expanded habitat for a wide range of species, from soil microlife to insects to mammals. A well-designed landscape area, modeled after healthy, diverse natural forests will spontaneously attract and support biodiversity.
As a general rule, the more forest-like in form and diverse in species a planting is, the more kinds of life it will attract and support.
The following guidelines apply when constructing wildlife habitat: 1) Create a variety of habitat niches for wildlife - overstory, understory, and ground layer; 2) Provide shade. Shady conditions are prevalent in natural forests, and shade fosters a wide range of species, from larger animals to soil microlife; 3) Create "wildlife corridors" - areas or zones of the planting that are not often disturbed or entered by people, leaving them to be colonized naturally; 4) Plant many different kinds of species; 5) Conserve and store water on the land; and 6) Encourage or actively cultivate native plant species as they are more likely to support native life, from soil fauna to birds.