Biodiversity, climate and the use of forest resources are three areas often set against each other when we discuss forests. At our faculty, all three are our concern. Proposing solutions for just one area is so much easier than finding solutions for the whole. But we need to work both nationally and locally, with wholes and parts. Our competence can help avoid us working in silos and instead discuss these three issues, so important for the future, as one.
Right now, the “Biodiversity Campus Challenge”, which is about finding as many species as possible on SLU campuses, is taking place. The challenge will run until 30 June. I encourage all of you to take part in the activities and report the species you find on campus to the Swedish Species Observation System. We’re competing against 17 other European universities!
We’re also improving the conditions for biodiversity on our campuses. In Umeå, we’re cooperating with Umeå University, Akademiska hus and the county council to improve the dispersal paths through campus, providing more meadows, more dead wood, more pollinator-friendly plants etc.
At Ultuna, overgrowth has been cleared and areas of high biodiversity have been identified for further work. There’s a trial breeding pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) for planting on campus as this plant is red-listed and characteristic of Ultuna. A large part of Ultuna, Årike Fyris, is now a nature reserve where SLU owns part of the land but Uppsala municipality is responsible for maintenance.
In Alnarp, they’re renovating water environments for biodiversity, and in Skinnskatteberg, they’re working on making the freshwater pearl mussel feel at home in the watercourse that meanders through the area. There are many good examples from campuses other than SLU’s, with constructed wetlands, fruit-bearing trees and shrubs and fewer hard surfaces. We need to improve biodiversity in our local environment; this also provides us with enjoyable spaces for de-stressing. I encourage you all to contact your infrastructure councils and ask about ways to increase biodiversity on our campuses!
In Umeå, SLU’s environmental certification means we’re part of Umeå municipality’s climate roadmap which connects nicely to the commitments our certificate brings with it. As part of our certification, we’re co-arranging the “Open Data Climate Challenge” this summer and autumn. This is an opportunity for students and staff from SLU and other universities as well as the general public to contribute innovative ideas and applications that support climate action. SLU’s open data, as well as more data from Umeå municipality, are available to use.
Summer is approaching and we all have a lot to do before taking our annual leave. We must all help each other slow down, prioritise and decide which tasks can wait. Make sure there’s time between meetings for us to catch our breath and change focus. Don’t schedule meetings longer than an hour. Often, 45–50 minutes will do. Use email carefully, ask colleagues for help, and make sure to spend time outdoors and unwind. Enjoy the diversity of our campuses and think about how we can improve it. Relaxation and recovery are important, and we all have something that truly provides us with this – whatever it is, make sure you make time for it this season.
Wishing you a pleasant summer,
Pernilla Christensen, deputy dean