A habitat assessment of the campus of University College Dublin
Management of urban habitats and subsequently their wildlife is ever important as urban areas are increasing and demand for valuable ecosystem services is growing. Before any protection and maintenance can proceed, knowledge of the system must be collected. To study the biodiversity of UCD campus, a habitat map was constructed using GIS and Fossitt code classification. In addition, the woods on campus were surveyed in detail since scoping showed these woodlands to be the most widespread semi-natural habitat on campus. A campus visit was also organized with UCD Estate Services to understand current management of the campus. 24 habitat types were found on campus with the woodland habitats being the largest wildlife habitat found on the grounds. At least 38 woodland species were recorded across various genera and the species diversity was found to be moderately high with high evenness for campus. Together these results show that the biodiversity of the woodlands is quite high in comparison to other urban areas. It was additionally found that much work is being done on campus currently to enhance biodiversity in this urban setting. This baseline information along with a study into current management of campus gave foundation for recommending management of the campus woodlands and grasslands. In conclusion, UCD campus is an urban area with a high biodiversity that through the continuation of management for biodiversity, along with the recommendations outlined here, is sure to continue being an important ‘coldspot’ biodiversity area. Despite lacking a lengthy list of species, it provides important ecosystem functions for the campus and it is recommended to protect and enhance the current biodiversity in order to maintain these functions.