Biodiversity PPC

Frannie Adams ‘21, Ann-Marsha Alexis ‘22, Aaliyah Beckford ‘23, Tulani Reeves-Miller ‘21


Exploring the implications of tree species diversity as green infrastructure in urban and suburban built environments


The Biodiversity team was interested in learning more about the possible benefits of trees as they relate to their individual communities and the biodiversity within them. They approached this interest with an understanding that increased urbanization is prompting a crucial initiative to preserve and restore biodiversity in our many varied built environments. In doing their research, the team hoped their work can inform people on ways they can contribute to making their local environments sustainable for all life forms.


Throughout the summer, the team explored how trees can support biodiversity in localized urban and suburban environments, and consequently support green infrastructure initiatives. To do this, the team undertook extensive field work identifying trees and other species in their communities. They also used tools such as iNaturalist and ArcGIS Online to better understand the effect of trees on our local environments in relation to their ability to mitigate urban heat, support wildlife, and impact air quality. 

The Biodiversity team was able to characterize tree biodiversity in their neighborhoods, as well as discover local threats to tree biodiversity such as disease and the proliferation of certain invasive species like Norway Maple. They also were able to connect to their local landscapes in meaningful ways, from beginning to see their neighborhoods as “part of nature,” to feeling a sense of connectedness to the plants around them.


Check out the Biodiversity Team’s final presentation, Exploring the implications of tree species diversity as green infrastructure in urban and suburban built environments.

This student project is part of the Paulson Place Challenge remote Summer 2020 program.
Collaborators/Advisors: Amy Banzaert (Engineering), James Battat (Physics), Dan Brabander (Geosciences), Louisa Crane (Paulson Initative), Jocelyne Dolce (Biological Sciences), Nolan Flynn (Chemistry), Kristina Jones (Botanic Gardens), Suzanne Langridge (Paulson Initiative), Ayana McCoy (Science Center), Jenn Yang (Botanic Gardens).