Research Projects


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Solving global challenges one student at a time - The UA Campus Arboretum is built upon the historical priorities of the Land Grant Institution to encourage land stewardship. Today we continue our commitment to research which promotes sustainable land management and conservation of plant biodiversity and natural resources.







Despite advances in technology in capturing botanical detail, scientific illustration retains its value as an effective medium and educational resource simply because it encapsulates all important views and detail magnification in one small panel. Furthermore, botanical illustrations are masterfully created and exquisitely beautiful! When compiled into a collection representing the flora of an area, the illustrations are called a florilegia, which serve as a historical and scientific record of the species diversity. 


K-12 school students with help from researchers at the University of Arizona have published a paper in the American Journal of Botany that may help better climate models. Their work reveals that the shrinking of dried leaves, if unaccounted for, may make climate models less reliable. A summary of the article with mention of the UA Campus Arboretum can be found at:

Trees provide ecosystem services that sustain environmental and human health. Yet, despite their significant contributions, their value is difficult to define. In the Spring of 2012, students working for the Campus Arboretum completed an inventory of all trees on campus. Data collected was processed using  i-Tree software to calculate their total economic contributions. This data will not only establish priorities and direct more sustainable collections planning but will also provide a means to more effectively advocate for preservation of trees using quantitative data. For a short introduction to the project, see page 12-18 of the UA Climate Action Plan. Alternatively, you may read a short summary here or view the full report.

Asher Haug-Baltzell, an undergraduate in Plant Sciences, completed a reserach project for honors credit in PLS330 (Plant Propagation) in the Fall of 2011 to determine if seedling media could be optimized with the addition of composted worm casings to produce more vigorous plants resistant to transplant shock upon transfer to standard NFT hydroponics systems.

2000 trees lining the main streets intersecting campus were measured in this 2006 study to determine their enivronmental and economic contributions. Results will estimate the total contributions of the Campus Arboretum trees to the overall health of Tucson's urban forest. A summary of the results can be found in a  2008 memo and in the Fall 2008 Campus Arboretum newsletter.