Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.72
Liaison Kira Stoll
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Berkeley
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.95 / 2.00 Mikayla Tran
SDG & OS Engagement Fellow
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
1,232 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 1,171 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 61 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 1,232 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:
All campus area is managed organically (without inorganic fertilizers, fungicides or pesticides) with the exception of less than 5% of the land where inorganic materials are used selectively to treat wood stumps and newly weeded areas. Selective chemicals are used when there are no effective organic alternatives.

This accounts for the main campus and the hills above campus, the Richmond Field Station and some other off campus owned property. The 1,232 acres does not account for all housing and reserves that also adhere to the IPM and other UC sustainable landscape policies.

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:
All campus area is managed organically (without inorganic fertilizers, fungicides or pesticides) with the exception of less than 5% of the land where inorganic materials are used selectively to treat wood stumps and newly weeded areas. Selective chemicals are used when there are no effective organic alternatives.

UC Berkeley has implemented an Organic Landscape Maintenance program for both Faculty and Memorial Glade. Berkeley’s transition of Memorial and Faculty Glade to organic turf management puts the campus at the cutting edge of a movement taking place throughout the state of California and the country. Eliminating traditional pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in favor of organic practices creates a healthier environment for students and faculty and reduces the campus’ environmental footprint. The “conventional” approach to land management, based around the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, is not as sustainable.

The organic approach we’re implementing at the Glades puts a focus on soil health and starts with a soil test. Working with national turfgrass experts at Osborne Organics, we tested not only the structure, pH, and nutrient content of the soil, but also the biological life it contains. This tells us the type of fertilizer and soil amendments we’ll need to employ to correct nutrient imbalances and foster soil life. These natural inputs are supported by cultural practices, including regular aeration, mowing high, irrigation, and overseeding with the right grass seed. By creating healthy soil, we create turf that crowds out weeds and resists pests and fungal disease. This approach will require a bit of patience, as lawns stressed by conventional products need a period of rest – including from student's feet -- during the transition.


Chemical fertilizers have not been used for the last 2 years; herbicides are not used on RSSP (Residential Student Service Programs) grounds.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
A brief description of the IPM program:
UCB's Integrated Pest Management plan aims to reduce the use of pesticides on all campus grounds. https://facilities.berkeley.edu/operating-units/campus-operations/environmental-services

In May 2019, Herbicide-Free Cal efforts were rewarded when the University of California issued a ban on the use of glyphosate-based herbicides at all UC locations. In a public letter, UC President Janet Napolitano noted that the ban has been instated "due to concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards. The UCOP President has accepted recommendations for a full ban. The Systemwide Pesticide Oversight Committee (SPOC) has replaced the Herbicide Task Force and is implementing the recommendations.


A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:
The campus prioritizes the use of native plants in some parts of campus, but not all. The Landscape Master Plan in Goal 5, Landscape Character, Policy 1 directs the campus to incorporate the principals of sustainable design, construction and maintenance of projects. The campus enjoys a diversity of plant species from around the world. They add interest and support the teaching mission. The area within the three designated Natural Areas and the Strawberry Creek environs emphasize native plants. The campus has a greenhouse in Wellman Courtyard dedicated to the fostering of local native seedling plants to restore the creek zone. Generally, the plant palate emphasizes Mediterranean or temperate climate zone plants that naturalize easily and accept our wet winters and cool but dry summers.

The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden has served as a haven for endangered plants rescued from smugglers, a lab for studying climate change, biomagnetism and hummingbirds’ territorial behavior, a seed bank and a classroom for children. The garden is home to one of the oldest, largest and most diverse collections in the United States.

A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:
The campus has an extensive program to restore the natural hydrology of Strawberry Creek. Many of the the restoration projects have been initiated or supported by students.

The EH&S (Environmental Health & Safety) Surface Water Quality program assists campus in surface water pollution prevention and in the restoration of Strawberry Creek on the central campus. Program activities include providing compliance assistance to campus on watershed management and storm water regulations, sampling and analyzing storm water, assessing sources of storm water pollutants on campus, stenciling storm drains and developing educational guidelines and programs.

The 2020 Long Range Development Plan outlines policies focused on sustainable hydrology and water use. For example, Section 15: HILL CAMPUS FRAMEWORK states a policy to "Manage the Hill Campus landscape to reduce fire and flood risk and restore native vegetation and hydrology patterns.

Vegetated bioswale systems at University Village & Clark Kerr Campus are incorporated into the landscaping around the buildings. In addition, drought tolerant landscaping is prioritized across RSSP (Residential Student Service Programs) whenever possible.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:
The campus composts its green waste. Through the fire management program, materials are mulched and kept in place as ground cover.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:
Sustainable landscape design is featured throughout sustainable buildings on the UC Berkeley campus:

Jacobs Hall (LEED™ Platinum) is cited in particular for its energy-efficient design. The four-level, 24,000-square-foot building features solar panels that provide 60 percent of its energy. Large operable windows allow for natural ventilation and lighting. Inside, ceiling fans provide comfort during warm weather, along with an intentionally undersized “bump cooling” unit that kicks in on the hottest days. Efficient hydronic radiators provide heat. The building’s design team also devised a creative solution to use surplus hot and chilled water from Soda Hall next door. Jacobs Hall’s exterior features shading panels tailored to the south, east and west exposures, with high-performance window glass and cool roofing. Although relatively bright lighting is required for Jacobs Hall’s maker spaces, efficient fixtures and controls help to manage lighting energy use.

The Li Ka Shing Center (LEED™ Gold) incorporates sustainable features throughout — from its auditorium’s green roof (planted with vegetation attractive to native butterflies and bees, selected with input from the UC Botanical Garden) to reclaimed-wood paneling (harvested from a local demolished warehouse) and low-emitting office carpeting and rubber lab floors.

Both sites are featured on our Green Campus Walking Tour: https://sustainability.berkeley.edu/engage/green-campus-walking-tour

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:
Herbicide-Free UC’s mission is to stop the use of toxic herbicides across all University of California campuses.

This campaign has three major components:
- Groundskeeper Support & Engagement
- Student Education
- Research

Herbicide-Free UC teaches students how to cultivate the necessary relationships with groundskeepers and learn the landscape needs of the campus, as well as what specific information and resources groundskeepers need in order to reduce herbicide usage. The campaign also provides resources in the form of data, student support and financial support, as well as training and instruction for groundskeepers in alternative maintenance methods that promote sustainability. In order to institutionalize these efforts across the UC system, the campaign offers support to develop a consensus-based language for university policy as well as a system-wide best practices guide for campus units implementing this policy.


UC Berkeley is an affiliate of Bee Campus USA, an initiative of the Xerces Society that aims to foster ongoing dialogue to raise awareness of the role pollinators play in our communities and how each of us can take action to create healthy habitat. In light of UC Berkeley's longstanding history of leadership in the field of pollinators and pollination, we are proud to be the 5th California campus and the 80th campus in the nation to be certified.

For more information on landscape services operations: https://facilities.berkeley.edu/operating-units/campus-operations/landscape-services-operations

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The information in this field was provided by Facilities Services, Operations.

The information in this field was provided by Facilities Services, Operations.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.