Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 62.77
Liaison Lindsay Crum
Submission Date June 29, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Yale University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Brianne Mullen
Urban Sustainability Program Associate
Yale Office of 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, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

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

The Bowen Forest covers 462 acres (184 ha, 0.7 sq. mi.) in the town of Mt. Holly in Windsor County, Vermont. This forest is mainly northern hardwood with some spruce plantations. It is located in a saddle near Okemo Mountain. The Bowen Memorial Forest was given to the School in 1924, and it is the only Yale Forest which we are obligated to retain forever: the deed for this forest states that it must be “kept as a forest”. Edward and Elma Bowen donated the Bowen Forest in memory of their son Joseph Brown Bowen. Joseph Bowen was a graduate of the Forestry School (MF, ‘17) and died in service during World War I. There has been active logging on the Bowen Forest since the late 1950’s. Most of the forest is in northern hardwoods (beech, sugar maple, yellow birch), with some spruce and fir as well.

Crowell Forest is 285 acres (117 ha., 0.4 sq. mi.) in Dummerston, Vermont in Windham County and consists of two tracts about one mile apart. Robert Crowell donated the first 200-acre tract in April 1985 and the second 85 acre parcel in October 1986. Both tracts are primarily hardwood forests, with some stands of old-field white pine. In January 1996, Yale conveyed a conservation easement on the second 85 acre tract to the Vermont Land Trust.

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

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

The Yale Forests collects continuous forest inventory to track long-term changes in forest-wide standing tree volumes. Woody and non-woody vegetation at Yale Myers Forest is currently monitored through a series of 400 permanent plots located throughout the forest. These plots were developed in 1986 as part of a long-term research effort to track floristic changes in relation to forest management practices, and are re-sampled on an approximately 10 year cycle. When identified during these periodic vegetation inventories, in consultation with Yale School Forests staff as well as state and regional biodiversity experts, areas that contain rare, threatened and endangered plant species are incorporated into our reserve system. Studies of bird, fish, and amphibian populations are also underway.

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Yale's Grounds Maintenance team has established seven urban meadows in the Science Hill area of Central Campus. This program began with a pilot project in 2012 to identify potential no-mow zones around campus to produce benefits such as soil retention, temperature regulation, and increased biodiversity. Grounds Maintenance is continually working to identify potential new areas to expand this program.

Yale's urban meadows are designed to promote natural regeneration, leading to increased biodiversity, improved water quality, and a reduction in stormwater runoff and soil erosion. In addition, less frequent mowing reduces fuel and equipment usage, saving money and improving air quality. This form of landscaping encourages grass and other plants to grow tall, with greater numbers of wildflowers and other native plants. Taller and more diverse vegetation improves habitat conditions for native species of plants and wildlife, including birds and butterflies.

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

Overall, our amphibian studies, coupled with studies of nearby areas outside Yale Myers show that the Forest succeeding in acting as a protected area. In addition, the fish the species present are consistent with well-maintained fast and slow moving stream environments.

Grounds Maintenance and staff from the Peabody Museum of Natural History lead tours of the urban meadows for staff, students, and other community members to learn about the benefits of these spaces and identify various bird, tree, plant, and other species. This continuing education will help to preserve these areas while increasing awareness of biodiversity around campus.
The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies owns 10,880 acres of forestland in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont that are managed by the School Forests Program. The largest single piece of land, the Yale Myers Forest comprises almost 8000 acres and is managed as a sustainable working forest. It is used for educational purposes and managed for ecosystem services. Extensive information can be found at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies website.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.