Our campus is part of a larger, interconnected ecosystem. The actions we take ripple through the natural environment.
Harvard is committed to protecting and enhancing the ecosystems and green spaces the University owns, manages, or impacts, in order to improve regional biodiversity and personal well-being. View our Plan
Harvard is committed to maintaining at least 75% of the University's landscaped areas with an organic landscaping program by 2020. The University is also developing Sustainable Landscaping Standards.
Harvard Campus Services' organic landscaping program was initially launched as a pilot program in 2008. In the first year of implementation, the program saved two million gallons of water in Harvard Yard alone—a 30% reduction. Today, organic landscaping covers over 90 acres of Harvard's campus.
Organic landscaping at Harvard
Through the use of compost teas and other innovative practices the organic landscaping program encourages the systems created by nature: healthy soils supporting healthy plants.
Campus Services partners with the Arnold Arboretum to compost the majority of their landscape waste. The landscape waste is transported to the Arboretum and then composted using a variety of recipes. The finished product in the form of mature compost is applied as top dressing or in the form of compost teas. Older compost is screened and used as soil amendments. The majority of Autumn leaf waste is ground with the wood chips that are accumulated during the dormant pruning season to produce approximately 200 yards of organic mulch which is applied during spring cleanups.
Learn more about Harvard's organic landscaping program as seen on "This Old House."
Incorporating sustainability goals into facility, district, and campus planning is a necessary component of creating a healthy, resilient community.
Green spaces, stormwater management, and resilient, native plant species across the campus ensure and support a robust landscape that will adequately respond to future environmental change.
Harvard Business School currently boasts seven green roofs. Not only are green roofs excellent for storm water management (absorbing up to 70% of rainfall and preventing runoff into the Charles River and sewer systems, thereby reducing concentrations of phosphorous and nitrogen from entering the water ways), but green roofs can also reduce Heat Island Effect and building energy consumption, by serving as an effective roof insulator.
Conservation and Education
We are committed to prioritizing conservation, research, and education at Harvard-owned green spaces including the Harvard Forest and the Arnold Arboretum.
These two assets encompass 4,000 acres of forest and landscape used for active climate change research and discovery. Across campus, students and staff are also keeping bees and learning about the role and importance of bees in the local ecosystem.