MSc Conservation Management student undertaken a hedgerow site condition assessment on EHU south campus (Credit: Sven Batke).

Dr Sven Batke

SustainNET, Edge Hill University

Improving biodiversity on a university campus can be a powerful strategy for enhancing its resilience to climate change. Enhancing the environment not only helps wildlife but also enriches the campus experience for students, staff, and the broader community. In 2022, Edge Hill University (EHU) completed the commission of its first campus Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). The BAP outlines key features and provides a first baseline assessment of the diversity of plants and animals across its 160 acre campus.

Together with its Environmental Sustainability Strategy, EHU is now aiming over the next five to ten years to boost its potential to enhance greenspaces across the campus. Increasing biodiversity can act as a natural buffer against climate-related challenges and evidence has shown that diverse ecosystems are better equipped to withstand extreme weather events such as heatwaves, floods, and storms.

To enable staff and students to effectively implement evidence-based strategies in conservation at EHU, an Operational Management Plan (OMP) was recently completed that underpins the following core principles:

  • Connecting students to nature
  • Connecting and improving habitats across campus and the wider landscape
  • Connecting EHU to the community

The OPM was developed and written as part of an assessment by our MSc Conservation Management students, staff of the Biology Department and the University’s Grounds Team. The 80+ page plan outlines the evaluation of key features, their influencing factors, includes detailed visions and habitat objectives and an action plan, which includes a comprehensive 5-year conservation management schedule that will be implemented by the Grounds Team. The iterative plan will enable EHU for the first time to effectively improve its greenspace conditions, thus improving the resilience of its campus to future changes in climate. The plan will be launched and published sometime in Autumn 2023.

The image below is the Phase 1 habitat survey map of Edge Hill University, showing key site features

Phase 1 habitat survey map, showing key site features (Credit: Modified by Helena Kewley based on fpcr spatial files).