Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 54.05
Liaison Tony Gillund
Submission Date March 23, 2023

STARS v2.2

Purdue University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Tony Gillund
Director of Sustainability
Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability
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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:
Yes – In 2016, Todd’s Creek was relocated from a roadside ditch to a naturalized stream through Purdue’s Horticulture Park. Naturalization of the stream corridor and wetland mitigation were major components of the project, resulting in the creation of 0.06 acres of emergent wetland and 2.4 acres of wetland buffer along the stream. This project is protected by a conservation easement issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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?:
No

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:
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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:
In 2019, a review of the Purdue Arboretum inventory was conducted to assess diversity of the collection. The Purdue Arboretum encompasses all of the woody landscape plants across Purdue University’s main campus in West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, including Horticulture Park on the western end of campus and the Todd’s Creek mitigation area. At the time of the analysis, there were a total of 9,674 trees on campus belonging to 262 species of 76 genera and 34 families accessioned into the Purdue Arboretum as of February 2019. The most common tree species was Red Maple (Acer rubrum) with 414 trees (4.28% of all trees), followed by Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum, 379 trees, 3.92%), and Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus, 374 trees, 3.87%). More than 50% of all trees throughout the entire campus, as well as each zone, were native. Horticulture Park had the highest percent of natives, at 78.79%. Due to the high number of native trees at Horticulture Park and low amount of projected development in this area, the report concluded that Horticulture Park should be protected and maintained in the future, while the other smaller native tree hot spots should be added to campus where possible.

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:
Initial assessment: For the purposes of the assessment, the university divided the campus into 7 zones based on campus geography. The team utilized the Arboretum’s database, excluding any trees noted as having died or been removed, and completed the diversity analysis by calculating abundance, species richness, evenness for all tree species across the entire campus. Tree origin was determined referencing the Purdue Arboretum database, the Morton Arboretum (2019), and the Missouri Botanic Garden (2019). Trees were assigned 1 of 4 categories: Indiana Native, North America, Exotic, or Hybrid. Additionally, the university also identified a set of trees that should be avoided in future plantings due to a potential to become invasive or a lack of support of Lepidopteran species. The university then used a series of GIS analysis tools to determine the density of the native and nonnative trees on campus and protected root zones. While the Purdue Arboretum is already a diverse and valuable resource for native trees on campus, there is still room for improvement. Although increasing the presence of native trees on campus should be a priority, the Arboretum does not necessarily need to remove all nonnative trees. In keeping with its educational mission, select nonnative trees can still serve an educational and aesthetic purpose. Nevertheless, as nonnative trees age out and need to be replaced, decision makers should favor native alternatives. Ongoing assessments: Purdue Arboretum staff monitor the arboretum collection on an annual basis to keep the database up to date, as well as call attention to species that may need to be planted on campus to bolster the collection. Capital projects are required to assess existing trees that may be affected by construction and provide tree preservation plans if deemed necessary. The assessment includes the Purdue Arboretum Director, Arborists, and Campus Planning.

A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):
Annual monitoring by Purdue Arboretum staff covers the entire Arboretum collection. Assessments associated with Capital Projects are conducted on an as needed basis.

A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:
Plans to protect Horticulture Park are reflected in the overall campus master plan (Giant Leaps Campus Master Plan, 2018), and Horticulture Park Master Plan (2022).  In addition, the university is currently executing a tree planting initiative (1869 Tree Planting Master Plan) which will add 3,738 trees to the Arboretum inventory between 2019 and 2024.

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:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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