Utrecht University plants 6,000 indigenous trees and shrubs to enhance biodiversity
This week, in the meadows of Utrecht Science Park, Anton Pijpers, chairman of the Executive Board of Utrecht University, dug the first shovel into the ground where more than 6,000 indigenous bushes and trees will be planted. This green strip of the university will form a new 400 meter-long ‘hedgerow’, which will contribute to the biodiversity of the area, and restore the connection with the Amelisweerd forest.
In total, more than 6,000 specimens of indigenous shrub and tree species will be planted, including hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, elder, willow, white alder and wild rose. Given the relatively warm soil and the sufficient amount of rainwater, autumn is the ideal season for planting new vegetation. This week, Anton Pijpers, Hans de Jong (project assistant at Real Estate & Campus) and Matthijs Willemse (employee at De Tolakker), put the first hawthorns, maples and black elder bushes in the ground. The planting process will be continued throughout the upcoming period.
What is a hedgerow?
A 'hedgerow' is a boundary fence, consisting of a series of trees and shrubs planted close to each other, serving an ecological function. The hedgerow creates new habitats, walking routes and flight paths in the area for all sorts of animal species. For example, birds can nest in the trees while the host plants attract desirable insects. Bats, who mostly live off insects, also benefit from this. They catch their prey during their flying trips along treetops, hedgerows and other kinds of upright vegetation. The shelter provided by the new bushes and trees also creates safer walking routes for animals, allowing roe deer, for example, to search for food in peace and quiet.
Utrecht Science Park (USP), which is managed by Utrecht University, consists of 350 hectares and is surrounded by natural areas on three sides. We believe it is important to invest in the biodiversity of this unique area. With the construction of this hedgerow we improve the quality of the present nature and the connection with the Amelisweerd forest
About the location
Together with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, a location was chosen in the meadow of the USP, south of the Toulouselaan, where the biologist’s forest ‘De Driehoek’ ends on the north side. There used to be a similar boundary fence at this place. However, it has disappeared over time. With this initiative, the hedgerow will be reconstructed in a more extensive form, with an approximate length of four hundred meters and an approximate width of five meters.
Investing in biodiversity
Utrecht University is continuously working to strengthen national, international and regional biodiversity. In 2020 the university became a partner in the national Delta Plan for Biodiversity Restoration. With its own 350-hectare site, Utrecht Science Park, one of the university's strategic objectives is to enhance the quality of the green space in its own area and to link it more effectively to neighbouring natural areas. The creation of hedgerows and the planting of indigenous trees and shrubs make a significant contribution to this goal.
Want to know more about biodiversity at Utrecht University? Visit the Biodiversity page to find out more. Or contact Dorinne Raaimakers, Project Leader Biodiversity.