Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.02
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

Furman University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
2.00 / 2.00 Laura Bain
Associate Director of Sustainability Assessment
David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Furman maintains a protected area home to the federally endangered Bunched Arrowhead plant. The protected area has a viewing deck and signage for educational purposes.


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

Sagittaria fasciculata, known as bunched arrowhead, is a federally protected small herbaceous plant that grows in wetlands. It grows about 15 inches tall and blooms mid-May through July. The bunched arrowhead only grows in seepage soils, particularly in the Piedmont seepage forest ecosystem. This habitat has been largely destroyed due to development and agriculture. Today it exists in a few places in Greenville County, including Furman University’s campus and several locations in Traveler’s Rest. Furman maintains a protected area home to the Bunched Arrowhead. The protected area has a viewing deck and signage for educational purposes.


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

The Furman campus consists of a mixture of forest, lawn, stream, and lake, which produces a mosaic of habitats supporting a wide range of species. The campus is also home to numerous migrating and hibernating species which are seasonally characteristic of the South Carolina Piedmont region. Three hundred campus trees of 64 species have been identified and labeled for public viewing. More than 400 species of vertebrates have been named, as well as 30 species in the order Odonata and 44 Lepidoteran species.

Sagittaria fasciculata, known as bunched arrowhead, is a federally protected small herbaceous plant that grows in wetlands. It grows about 15 inches tall and blooms mid-May through July. The bunched arrowhead only grows in seepage soils, particularly in the Piedmont seepage forest ecosystem. This habitat has been largely destroyed due to development and agriculture. Today it exists in a few places in Greenville County, including Furman University’s campus and several locations in Traveler’s Rest. Furman maintains a protected area home to the Bunched Arrowhead. The protected area has a viewing deck and signage for educational purposes.


The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Biology faculty, students, and classes regularly study campus species and conduct biodiversity surveys on campus. For example, an ecology class conducted a survey of songbird populations in three vegetation zones that now occur around the lake: mowed lawns, regrown vegetation, and the restored wildflower meadows.

An online inventory of Lepidoptera species listings is maintained by retired Furman professor, Dr. John Snyder and an online inventory of dragonflies and damselflies is maintained by Dr. Wade Worthen.

A field guide to the Furman Habitat was published in 2001 and an online inventory of general biodiversity at Furman is maintained by Biology professor, Dr. Wade Worthen.

Multiple student GIS projects investigate aspects of Furman's landcover, habitats, and biodiversity every year.


A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

Assessments cover the entirety of campus and range from a broad scale land cover/change models to very specific habitat and species monitoring, based on student and faculty interest and campus needs.


A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:

Particular attention is paid to preserving and increasing native plant species and forested areas, including the protected areas home to the Bunched Arrowhead plant. The Bunched Arrowhead is protected by a 1981 agreement between Furman and the SCDNR Heritage Trust Program.

Through the Campus Trees committee, faculty, grounds staff, and students come together multiple times each year to discuss campus habitat management and associated educational outreach.

The lake restoration project began in 2009 and seeks to protect water quality in the lake by establishing and preserving areas of naturally vegetated riparian buffers.

Two new wildflower areas were established in 2019 to increase forage opportunities for pollinating insects and birds.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
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Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.