The Campus Biodiversity Initiative: Research and Demonstration (CBIRD) serves as an interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder hub for connecting students, academics, practitioners and the wider community in collaborative applied research to advance scalable urban biodiversity ideas, policies and actions on campus.

CBIRD is UBC’s platform for biodiversity partnership, enhancement, conservation and stewardship through applied research, community engagement, and the growth of a thriving biodiversity network.

Urban Forestry Management Policy Recommendation Project. Partnered with Campus & Community Planning, two undergraduate students from the Faculty of Forestry completed the very first scoping review of existing campus tree retention and protection policies, and offered valuable urban forestry management recommendations for future university policy development.
UBC Farm Interpretive Signage Project. In this project, students from the Faculty of Land and Food Systems developed the content and design for a series of biodiversity interpretive signs at the UBC Farm
Top three popular sign locations at the Farm using a heatmap

New urban forest research report:

CBIRD is launching a new student research report: UBC Vancouver Campus in a Changing Climate: Urban Forest Edition. This report showcases student-led applied research and community efforts recently completed to help establish a baseline assessment of the campus urban forest.

Download the full report here.

Understanding our Urban Forest

As communities adapt to impacts of COVID-19, outdoor green spaces are becoming increasingly important for health and wellbeing. Urban forests and green infrastructure are expected to be key assets in urban planning as cities around the world commit to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

This new Urban Forest report highlights relevant student-led research and interdisciplinary collaborations regarding the UBC Vancouver campus' urban forest and biodiversity. The UBC Vancouver campus provides a unique opportunity for piloting different applied research and learning projects using campus land, natural resources, and other physical and planning assets.

Report resources

Contact and Questions

Please contact the SEEDS Sustainability Program with any questions, and if you would like a printed copy of the report.

By participating in a CBIRD collaboration, you can:

  • Join an interdisciplinary platform to collaborate on applied research and initiatives to generate scalable solutions that conserve and enhance campus urban biodiversity, eco-human health and wellbeing, and advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Integrate urban biodiversity goals into current and emerging urban forestry, biodiversity, and climate related policies, plans and frameworks, and neighbourhood plans and guidelines

  • Bring your ideas to enhance, conserve, and steward campus urban biodiversity to life

  • Contribute to community engagement in urban biodiversity and eco-human health and wellbeing

  • Strengthen your knowledge, from diverse disciplines and perspectives, about urban biodiversity challenges and solutions. 

  • Build your network and make interdisciplinary connections with campus operational practitioners, faculty members, students and community 

  • Create positive and meaningful change

About

Together with the Faculty of Science and UBC Sustainability Program,  CBIRD launched in 2016 as a new interdisciplinary initiative funded by a Teaching & Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grant to expand its work in advancing sustainability and applied research on the Vancouver campus to a new thematic area — biodiversity. 

CBIRD has evolved into a thriving initiative that includes a governance structure with interdisciplinary faculty and cross-campus operational partners, formalized applied research clusters, and well-established alignment with campus plans, policies and practices to enhance, conserve, & steward campus urban biodiversity through meaningful engagement and mutual learning.
 

WHO WE ARE

CBIRD is led by a Steering Committee including cross-campus representation from 6 UBC’s faculties and schools, 17 academic and operational departments who together with the extended networks of the committee’s individual members provide interdisciplinary expertise and guidance on formulation of urban biodiversity, forestry and climate related planning and practices, feedback on strategic priorities and initiatives, input on initiative progression, and promoting the communication of outcomes. 

Action Teams serve as engaged experts from the CBIRD Steering Committee who support the implementation of priorities. A CBIRD Ecosystem Services Action Team is responsible for the scoping, development of content and research contributions that will inform future policy and practices on campus.

View our UBC Campus Biodiversity Knowledge Networks to see a visualization of CBIRD Steering Committee, Action Teams and affiliated networks, and learn more about the people behind this work. 

VISION  

To enhance, conserve, & steward campus urban biodiversity through meaningful engagement and mutual learning, and advance sustainability education and student-led research. Through applied whole-systems thinking, CBIRD serves as an interdisciplinary partnership platform to enable this vision to unfold for net positive outcomes for human and ecological health.  

MISSION

To inform policy and practice that enhances biodiversity through research, education, campus and wider community engagement, and demonstration.

GOALS

  1. Inform and advance policies and plans which address and respond to key urban biodiversity issues 
     
  2. Advise and co-develop scalable solutions that inform practices for tackling the urban biodiversity crises through local research projects and partnerships
     
  3. Create applied student research and impactful learning opportunities and interdisciplinary partnerships that utilize the Campus as Living Laboratory 
     
  4. Cultivate biodiversity stewards through increasing public awareness and knowledge, demonstration projects, citizen science and biodiversity celebrations
     
  5. Strengthen UBC’s leadership in urban biodiversity conservation and stewardship considering future climate conditions
     

RESEARCH FOCUS AREAS 

  • Develop a baseline of UBC Vancouver biodiversity assets.
     
  • Develop an integrated valuation of biodiversity on the UBC Vancouver Campus.
     
  • Identify key threats and vulnerability factors to biodiversity loss at the campus scale.
     

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT A GLANCE

CBIRD has engaged over 400 students, 50 faculty, 60 staff and community partners through 40+ courses in over 70 student-led research projects.
Since CBIRD’s inception in 2016-17 academic year, key accomplishments include:  
 

Formalized governance structure includes a Campus Urban Biodiversity (CUBS) Plan, interdisciplinary cross-campus CBIRD Steering Committee, and supporting Action Teams who provide interdisciplinary expertise and guidance on formulation of urban biodiversity, forestry and climate related planning and practices, feedback on strategic priorities and initiatives, input on initiative progression, and promoting the communication of outcomes. 

The Ecosystem Services Action Team takes the lead on informing campus biodiversity planning and policies, including developing Climate Ready Planting Guidelines and Ecosystem Services Requirements within the Capital Project Approval Process.   

Knowledge exchange events and outreach activities, including thematic Biodiversity Showcases which provide opportunities to disseminate and mobilize initiative accomplishments, learnings and collaborations with UBC student and faculty researchers, instructors, stewards, and external practitioners/community members. 

  • CBIRD’s most recent Biodiversity Showcase - Biodiversity for Resilient Communities brought together a network of biodiversity researchers, stewards and engaged students for an evening of socializing and mutual learning and to share some of the work that’s been done both here at UBC and in the Region to support biodiversity. The event had three thematic focus areas: (1) Biodiversity Knows no Boundaries (emphasis on regional alignment and collaboration); (2). Biodiversity and Green Buildings (greening the grey); 3). The Role of Community Engagement and Citizen Science in Cultivating Biodiversity Stewards (grassroot caretakers). Speakers included practitioners from City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and UBC faculty and student researchers. The event led to identification of key learnings to inform future urban biodiversity research and collaborations. 

Publicly accessible web resources including: 

  • Campus Urban Biodiversity Resources Map provides centralized information about urban biodiversity research initiatives and groups, people, and landscape features, such as gardens and trees, on the UBC Vancouver campus It’s a tool to help people learn more about UBC’s urban biodiversity, collaborate and share resources, and ultimately promotes urban campus biodiversity conservation. 
     
  • Campus Biodiversity Knowledge Networks Map that provides centralized information about UBC people (practitioners, researchers, instructors, students), networks and initiatives connected to urban biodiversity conservation and stewardship.
     
  • Biodiversity Report.

Baseline Urban Biodiversity Assets: 

  • Faced with a rapidly growing on-campus population, UBC Vancouver is working to meet the challenge of reducing its environmental footprint while continuing to provide essential services. Baselining the state of campus biodiversity assets is thus essential for future planning. Forestry student research used a combination of GIS and remote sensing to assess campus grey & green infrastructure, tree species composition & diversity, solar radiation and canopy coverage. Useful insights on the state of the campus ecosystem, and data for UBC’s biodiversity and forest planning were produced.  

Integrated Valuation of Biodiversity:

  • ​​The UBC Vancouver campus is defined by its natural beauty. Using the 7P framework (place, prominence, prospectus, people, promotion, price, and program), eleven SCARP students examined where students place biodiversity among the factors they value about campus, and how greenspaces affect student recruitment and retention. Research revealed ‘place’ ranked as the highest factor in student recruitment and retention, a close linkage between greenspaces and student wellbeing, providing insights into the extent to which greenspace fits into broader campus values and will be used to inform future campus policies and development strategies.  
     

READY TO CONNECT AND EXPLORE A CBIRD COLLABORATION?

Contact us with questions, inquiries on how to get involved in CBIRD, or to take a look at our current opportunities through the SEEDS Sustainability Program

Liska Richer | Manager, SEEDS Sustainability Program | Campus + Community Planning 

Emma Luker | Planning Analyst | Campus + Community Planning 

EMAIL SEEDS