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Biodiversity in the middle of the University Park

A group of committed students and employees from Bioscience has, in collaboration with AU Finance and Estates Projects and Developments, begun a project to let nature roam free in two selected areas of the University Park – for the benefit of biodiversity as well as the users of the park.

2019.08.23 | Signe Opstrup

At the bottom of the map – marked in blue – you can see the two areas in the University Park which will be dedicated to biodiversity.

What has for a long time been a great wish in a broad circle of biologists has now become a reality. The general idea is to create small islands in the University Park where wild flora and fauna can grow and live freely and serve as a daily reminder to users of the park of the importance of biological diversity.

So far, two areas have been selected. One area, which is in its early stages, is situated close to the Department of Bioscience (building 1540, by Ny Munkegade). The other area will be established next spring along the watercourse behind the Lakeside Lecture Theatres. To begin with, it is the initiators, who go by the name ‘Fuldt Flor’ (meaning ‘full bloom’), that will be preparing and running the planting.

Anders S. Barfod, associate professor at Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience, and one of the initiators, explains:

“The goal for these areas is to increase the biodiversity on campus and promote one of the UN’s sustainable development goals ‘Life on Land’. We also want to give students and researchers a unique opportunity to follow a biologically diverse ecosystem up close – which will undoubtedly help promote scientific curiosity which is at the centre of our research. With a rich variety of wild plants and animals just outside the window, a lot of exciting possibilities for our teaching activities also emerge. Additionally, we hope to involve a lot of employees and students and give them a feeling of co-ownership of the beautiful University Park.”

Barfod also thinks that the biodiverse areas in the University Park will have a positive affect on the mental well-being of the users of the park:

“Recently published studies show that nature has a positive influence on our mental well-being. And so, I hope that the users of the park will make use of the areas for relaxation and inspiration. We don’t have anything against lawns, which clearly serve a purpose, e.g. in connection with big events, but one thing does not exclude the other.”

The areas dedicated to biodiversity are in their infancy, but biodiversity at AU in general is nothing new, says head of building services, Peter Bachmann Vestergaard:

“The university also has areas with wild nature at the experimental field at Påskehøjgård in Ølsted and by the Ole Rømer Observatory in Højbjerg. But it is new thing that we now get to have biodiversity in the middle of the University Park,” he says.


  • Two areas in the University Park have been selected to function as touchstones for the promotion of biodiversity.
  • One of the areas is now in use – the other will begin in Spring 2020.
  • It is the first time that AU lets nature roam free in selected areas, but for several years the university has been running plantations of wild plants at the experimental field at Påskehøjgård in Ølsted and at the Ole Rømer Observatory in Højbjerg.
  • The Parks and Gardens Section at AU is very concerned with developing a greener campus, and therefore they stopped using herbicides to combat weeds in 2000.
  • They increasingly use electric machines instead of diesel-powered machines on the AU grounds for tasks such as sweeping, clearing snow and spreading salt. 

Additional information

  • If you would like to know more, you are welcome to contact:

    • Anders S. Barfod, associate professor at Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience: anders.barfod@bios.au.dk.
    • Peter Bachmann Vestergaard, Head of Building Services, BSS Estates Facilities and the Parks and Gardens Section: pbv@au.dk

  • Read more about sustainability at AU at www.au.dk/sustainability 
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