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What Are the European Legal Duties to Conserve Biodiversity in University Campuses?

Tzoulas, K and James, P and Price, E and Wheater, P (2014) What Are the European Legal Duties to Conserve Biodiversity in University Campuses? In: Integrating Sustainability Thinking in Science and Engineering Curricula. Springer, pp. 413-424. ISBN 978-3-319-09474-8

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Abstract

Biodiversity is a key element of sustainable development in university campuses. However, integrating biodiversity in campuses requires strategic planning, beyond minimum compliance with protected species and habitats legislation. This leads to the questions: which university functions impact on biodiversity and what obligations are there under European environmental law for universities to consider biodiversity strategically? University functions and their consequent impacts were classified thematically into four and seven categories respectively. These categories were used to systematically search the Environmental Legislation Update Service and EUR-Lex for relevant legislation, which was also classified. Universities undertake capital projects, building alterations, grounds maintenance, and outdoor activities. These functions may cause loss, damage, disturbance, introductions, pollution to, and overuse of, biodiversity. Legislation applying to these impacts spans wildlife, plant health, planning, and pollution prevention disciplines. The interdisciplinary legal framework for biodiversity presents compliance and integration challenges, such as overlooking legislation or duplicating efforts. This article will help those involved in university management, teaching and research to identify and integrate in their work the relevant legal obligations on biodiversity.

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