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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 45.25
Liaison David Tedder
Submission Date Oct. 16, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Kentucky
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Shane Tedder
Sustainability Coordinator
Office oF Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

A brief description of any legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance on institution owned or managed land:

The University of Kentucky Robinson Forest is a ~15,000 acre research, teaching, and demonstration forest. The “main block” contains ~10,000 acres of contiguous forest land and has been legislatively designated as lands unsuitable for surface mining.


Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:
Yes

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:
Yes

The methodology(-ies) used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Periodic assessment for federal and state threatened and endangered species occurrence is conducted utilizing the Natural Heritage Program Database administered by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. Both major watersheds of the main block are designated as Outstanding State Resource Waters and periodic monitoring of aquatic biota is conducted by the Kentucky Division of Water. Terrestrial flora is assessed and monitored over a ten cycle utilizing a grid of permanent continuous forest inventory plots. Archeologic assessment of the main block of Robinson Forest was completed by the UK Department of Archeology and archeologic features mapped. Research and monitoring projects are ongoing and opportunistically used to assess and monitor populations of selected aquatic biota, avian species, salamanders, reptiles, and mammals.


A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

The KSNPC report lists all occurrences of rare, threatened, endangered, or special concern species and communities within given buffer areas including:
• Sharp-shinned hawk – State listed as species of special concern
• Rafinesque’s big-eared bat – State listed as species of special concern
• Mountain midget crayfish – State listed as Threatened
• Coal skink – State listed as Threatened
• Kentucky arrow darter – State listed as threatened, Federal Candidate
Further the main block contains one known minor hibernacula.


A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

The streams within the main block of Robinson Forest are under continued water quality monitoring and the land base is protected from land disturbance known to negatively impact biota of local streams. Forest management activities are conducted using Best Management Practices for Water Quality Management. The main block of the forest is managed consistent with Forest Stewardship Council certification standards. The minor hibernacula is located in a non-destructive sampling area of the forest and hibernacula ingress protocols are in place to limit or eliminate disease spread into the hibernacula. Aquatic sampling protocols are in place to limit the spread of invasive pathogen to the watersheds that can occur during aquatic monitoring and research programs. Research and demonstration projects are required to adhere to terrestrial invasive species monitoring and protocols.


The website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity policies and programs(s) is available:

A management plan for Robinson Forest is in draft form at this time. Once finalized, it will be available for review via the UK Department of Forestry's website located at the link above.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.