Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is the variety of life and its processes; and it includes the variety of living organisms, and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur. The Exeter campuses comprise an area of 153 hectares comprising a rich range of different habitat and provide a green key link to other habitats of importance in the Exeter area. The grounds are host to a wide variety of amphibians, birds, insects, mammals and reptiles, producing a diverse system of ecological niches, making this a fascinating place to study, work and visit. The University of Exeter manages its estate with this in mind and acknowledges that the campus contains a wide variety of habitats that are important to biodiversity. Specific management examples include:
- Identify specialist measures for vulnerable species. E.g. protection around known badger sites.
- Erect explanatory signs by valuable habitats.
- Reduce the use of residual pesticides e.g. use of bark mulch and natural predators.
- Stimulate natural habitats by leaving ‘eco-strips’ near streams and woodland edges.
- Non-urgent tree felling works to be done outside the bird nesting season and hedges checked for nests.
- Habitat piles left in appropriate areas to provide sources of food, shelter and hibernation sites.
- Bird and bat boxes have been erected at suitable locations throughout the campus and monitored annually.
- Planting schemes will use a variety of plants, trees and shrubs, with varying flowering times to encourage year round wildlife activity. E.g. planting of Rowan and Apple tree species at the rear of Xfi, replacement of damaged trees at Rowancroft Residences with Hazelnut whips and the planting of 70 new standard trees across Streatham and St Luke’s Campus and 250 Tree Whips on the boundaries of both campuses. Over 21,000 additional bulbs have been naturalised at Locations such as Lopes, Ransome Pickard, Birks Bank and the entrance to the University at New North Road. This represents another source of early pollen for the bees.