Biodiversit is sometim y e the forgott s e n element of sustainable cam operations pus SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE DESIGN SHOULD IDEALLY INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS: •
Regional/indigenous vegetation that is better able to cope with seasonal changes and thus does not need artificial irrigation.
Where irrigation is needed, infrastructure to harvest and channel rainwater.
Space that supports social interaction and community engagement with natural surroundings.
Land use and maintenance regimes that protect and enhance biodiversity.
The challenge for most universities is to identify biodiversity on their campuses. Only when that is done can they establish protection strategies that allow ecosystems and campus activities to co-exist harmoniously. Several methods can be employed to measure biodiversity:
Biodiversity protection Biodiversity is sometimes the forgotten element of sustainable campus operations as it is often seen as having little to do with the activities of a university. However, as evidenced time and again, the disruption or destruction of key ecosystems can have wider impacts on the health of a regional environment. For example, the loss of natural balance can cause an increase in pest species that then have an adverse effect on the community.
• Formal eco-audits of the campus and its surrounding region. • Engaging the community – train people to identify local species, and then establish a process for them to report sightings or problems1. • Research what is already known – look at what academic research has been done on the biodiversity of the region and/or use the knowledge of long-term residents and (where appropriate) the indigenous community. Yale University: www.sustainability.yale.edu/research-education/citizen-science