/ Modified mar 11, 2014 9 a.m.

UA Campus Has Collection of Plants for Education, Research

University Arboretum provides science-based knowledge using woody plants, cactus to address state needs, including environmental ones.

(VIDEO: AZPM)

The main University of Arizona campus has nearly 9,000 woody plans and cactus on record, representing about 550 species from six continents.

There are many trees throughout campus with significant history, including some who have been in campus since its origins.

"In the early years of the university, during territorial period, one of the major needs in the state was economic growth," said Tanya Quist, Ph.D., director of the UA Campus Arboretum. "Many of our faculty in the College of Agriculture travelled worldwide to bring back plants that could perhaps be introduced here as an agricultural commodity."

As a land grant school, the UA has a responsibility to provide science-based knowledge that addresses the state's needs, such as the increasing demand for water use and environmental impact in the state's urbanized centers.

"The measurable economic benefits that trees provide are only realized when a tree matures to about ten years of age," Quist said. "Most urban trees are not selected, installed or cared for well enough to realize these benefits, so I would like to promote stewardship practices that allow our investment in the landscape to give us a return on our investment."

The UA campus' landscape also provides opportunities to model practices that could later guide other urban areas. It keeps records on each tree it plants, which would not only help make better decisions, but can also be applied to other urban tree care plants.

Campus Arboretum aims to educate the community by taking all the education resources on urban landscape and plant health and sharing the knowledge on their website and through free tree tours.

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