The University of Orléans is committed to promoting biodiversity and raising awareness towards ecological gestures so that it can ensure a pleasant and healthy environment for all, conducive to the flourishing of life.
The UO has chosen not to use pesticides for more than 15 years and to favour late mowing in order to preserve its biodiversity and reduce its environmental impact.
The National Forests Office (ONF) regularly evaluates the UO’s forest park to make an inventory of dead or diseased trees and to identify pruning areas for security reasons, which leads to cutting sessions each year. After the intense droughts of the past few years, 2021-2022 will also see the cutting of about 20 trees.
The UO has started a reforestation plan based on the expertise of our green spaces maintenance staff and professional nursery owners to choose tree species that are compatible with global warming. In 2021, more than 80 trees of deciduous and evergreen tree varieties (oak trees, birch trees, lime trees, cedar trees…) as well as fruit trees (apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees…) were planted in November. These trees are biodiversity actors, but also provide shaded and convivial zones with the future laying of wooden picnic tables.
Since we cannot increase our energy expenditures, we are also currently planning to reforest around buildings. Plants limit the excessive absorption of heat radiation by materials; therefore, they serve as solar filters. Associated to the creation of islands of freshness, they are one of the various solutions to lower the temperature during heat waves. This plan, with mature trees, could lower temperatures by 2 or 3°C.
Eco-pasture at the University
The University of Orléans has chosen to use eco-pasture for the clearing of brushwood and the lawn mowing. Indeed, it is a natural maintenance technique using the pasture of herbivorous animals, which makes it an alternative solution to the mechanical maintenance of green spaces. Many advantages are associated to this practice since il helps reducing green waste caused by mowing and it contributes to the natural fertilizing of the ground, which benfits both the fauna and flora. In an environmental perspective, eco-pasture also enabls to reduce the use of fuel and the pollution that comes with it.
This ecological measure was implemented on 10 November 2022 on the Orléans campus in the undergrowth between the Physics/Chemistry building and the 3IA building of the College of Science and Technology. The flock of around 20 sheep will then move via shepherds to identified areas on the campus.
Eco-pasture will be an educational tool to raise awareness on biodiversity and will be a more economical and ecological solution for the maintenance of our green spaces.
The University's Flowering Plan
Since November, more than 60,000 flower bulbs (narcissus, crocus) have been mechanically planted on the Orleans campus. With a blossoming period of more than 10 weeks between February and May, this plan will continue with a new wave of plantations in 2022, as well as the creation small plots of flowering fallow land covering more than 1000 m2. This massive increase in our flowered surfaces will be a new food source for insects and will attract a larger biodiversity.
The Tribu-Terre association, which gathers students and staff from the departments of the UO, handles the permaculture garden. The aim is to provide a framework for learning and practicing permaculture techniques, in an easily accessible and open-to-all space (next to the Bouillon). Activities vary: preparation and maintenance of the terrain, cultivation of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and organisation of educational and cultural events on themes linked to permaculture.