What are the options for increasing biodiversity on campus through increasing native plant species' populations?
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The year 2010 is the International Year for Biodiversity. Biodiversity or lack thereof is a pressing environmental issue as the strength and resilience of ecosystems rely strongly on their diversity of species and populations. Urban ecology has become increasingly foreign which creates issues in biodiversity as many introduced species become too abundant as they generally have few or no natural predators, beating out the native species for resources and monopolizing landscapes. This Greening the Campus Project focuses on the alternative options to the current primarily foreign ecology on Dalhousie University Studley Campus as a tool to improve biodiversity on campus and promote native ecology in urban landscapes. The Studley Campus was chosen because the most complete information on foreign and native plant species is available through the Woody Plant Inventory Preliminary Report created by Matt Follett for the Dalhousie Sustainability Office. Research methods used in the project include literary reviews, face-to-face interviews and nature walks. These methods were used to determine the most effective direction for increasing biodiversity through planting more native plant species on campus. Based on quantitative and qualitative results, it was determined that naturalization of the current Red Oak stand behind Sherriff Hall and the Life Sciences Centre (LSC) would be an ideal candidate for naturalization. This was determined due to the following; 1) potential for a natural corridor to be created between the Red Oak stand and the nearby Halifax Urban Greenbelt on Oxford street, 2) campus aesthetics would not be compromised in this area as it is not a focal point of the University, and 3) because naturalization of this particular area would be an improvement economically and environmentally. The final proposal for this site includes low maintenance, low cost initiatives which would not only be environmentally valuable, but also educationally useful for the science faculties which inhabit the adjacent LSC.