The University of Poitiers has made biodiversity and the preservation of natural spaces a strategic axis for structuring the management and re-appropriation of outdoor spaces. This includes the implementation of a green and blue framework on the various campuses and the implementation of environmentally friendly developments.
Enhancing outdoor spaces and developing green areas
The University of Poitiers became aware of biodiversity issues early on, in particular through the university botanical garden, which served as a laboratory for sustainable and diversified management actions on campus. But beyond this specific place, campus management is more complex because of the intensity of uses that generate negative impacts on biodiversity.
Campuses are integrated into larger territories, agglomerations, and it is on this scale that green areas are defined (i.e. the network of ecological continuities). The campuses aim to become bridges between peripheral areas and also refuges for plant and animal biodiversity. The University has carried out partial biodiversity inventories, with the aim of measuring the impact of its activity on its environment, adapting its management and identifying areas with high biodiversity potential in terms of flora and fauna.
These inventories have made it possible to enhance and re-appropriate biodiversity on the various campuses using a sensitive and landscaped approach:
Creation of biodiversity islands Of the 40 hectares (≈ almost 100 acres) of green areas on campus, more than 7 hectares are either left fallow or are cut late to preserve islets of biodiversity where fauna can rest and reproduce, and where remarkable plant species such as orchids are preserved.
Installation of nesting boxes for various diurnal and nocturnal species The campus is registered as an ornithological refuge with the French League for the Protection of Birds (Ligue de la Protection des Oiseaux).
Regular removal of tarmac areas in favor of more natural surfaces For example, when parking lots are being renovated, grassed parking spaces, delimited by ditches or hollows for plantation, have been created. This was particularly the case with the redevelopment of the car parks in sector C (sport and IUT) and D (Medicine), at a cost of €2 million.
Some roads have also been simply removed (e.g. Allée Jean Monnet will be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists and partly grassed over).
Diverse planting and favoring local and resistant species
Today the campus has more than 200 different plant species, of unequal quality and with mainly low and very high strata. The bird mapping carried out by the EBI laboratory has revealed the absence of an intermediate stratum which is essential for certain species and which is also necessary to neutralize the obstacles posed by high buildings on campus. The ongoing redevelopment is making it possible to fill this gap by planting suitable shrubs and entomofauna hedges.
Developing the blue pathway to improve water flow and preserve wetland biodiversity
The identification and restoration of the blue pathway on each campus, in line with the specificity of each territory, also corresponds to the need for ecological continuity relating to watercourses and wetlands.
Several actions have, and will be, carried out to recreate water courses:
The frequent removal of soil impermeability zones linked to tarmac areas and roads, through natural redevelopment. This is the case when renovating carparks or removing some traffic lanes.
Ditches and hollows should be landscaped during new developments to allow water to drain naturally and to allow wetland species to find the ideal conditions for their preservation and development
Creation of floodable areas, as a structuring landscape axis
Disconnection of buildings from the rainwater network to promote groundwater refill
Changing practices in order to move towards sustainable, and diversified, pesticide free management
For the past 10 years, the University has taken strong measures to promote biodiversity by abandoning all pesticides and chemical fertilizers for the treatment of its green spaces and access paths.
Today, pollution control has led the University to opt for 100% eco-labelled cleaning products for its premises and green areas. 100% of outsourced markets integrate sustainable and differentiated management, free of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Poitiers University management of green spaces is based on a differentiated management approach, (i.e. maintenance that is not only sustainable but adapted to the category of surfaces); from building entrances and high-traffic areas to fallow areas (which constitute reservoirs of biodiversity), and intermediate areas with late mowing.
The University Botanical Garden - Domaine du Deffend
Discover this incredible 33-hectare site located in the town of Mignaloux-Beauvoir, near the Poitiers campus. This garden, open to the public, offers an arboretum, an orchard, a rose garden, a vegetable garden and an area devoted to medicinal plants.