SDG 15 Life on Land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

sdg15 life on land
World-leading soil science, ecology and biodiversity experts
Abundant 'living lab' in Tauranga for scientific exploration
Western science + mātauranga Māori indigenous knowledge
sdg15 soil carbon content leaf

Offerings & Research

Our rich offerings for undergraduate and graduate students to learn about life above land in areas including geographyearth scienceshydrologyecology and biodiversitysoil sciencegeology, and environmental sciences.


Professor Louis Schipper and the team at WaiBER who are progressing a raft of research projects focused on increasing soil carbon content and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

sdg15 iceberg climate change

Deep South Challenge & Policy

Associate Professor Sandy Morrison who is a lead researcher in the Deep South Challenge focused on exploring how indigenous knowledge, alongside science, can help prepare communities for climate change impacts.


Our Environmental Sustainability Policy which adds further detail to our Sustainability Plan.

sdg15 tui biodiversity


Dr Kiri Wallace’s work as the co-leader of the BioHeritage Eco-index team helping to reverse biodiversity decline in New Zealand and re-create ecosystems in our cities using a social justice lens.

Greening our cities when we need it most

Professor Bruce Clarkson secured $10 million in 2021 for a research project called Restoring Urban Nature, courtesy of funding from the Ministry of Business,Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The project aims to restore Indigenous ecosystems and develop high-quality green spaces in urban landscapes and suburban backyards. The multidisciplinary project builds on Professor Clarkson’s previous project People, Cities and Nature, another five-year MBIE-funded programme which has transformed urban spaces in the Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki regions. Professor Clarkson’s work was also recognised when he was awarded the prestigious Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal in recognition of his work restoring Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park. Over 16 years, he was the driving force in transforming the 65.5 hectare council-owned site from farm paddocks into an internationally acclaimed regenerating native forest, wetland and a lake ecosystem rich in biodiversity.

Biodiversity on Campus

We have 2,500+ trees on our Hamilton Campus and 70+ New Zealand ferns. Our 65-hectare Hamilton campus is home to a wide variety of native and exotic flora and fauna including several groves of kahikatea and many other native trees, including rimu, tītoki, kauri, tōtara, miro, rewarewa, kōwhai, tī kōuka (cabbage tree), kāpuka (grisellinia), nīkau, and kānuka.

Monitoring the health of our environment with Artificial Intelligence

We have combined our longstanding expertise in data science and environmental science to keep better tabs on the state of our natural environment, so authorities can make informed decisions before it's too late. The MBIE-funded, $13 million project TAIAO, led by Professor Albert Bifet, collates environmental data from around the country and makes it available to scientists, ultimately so informed decisions can be made more quickly. The computer programme performs a range of tasks including detect algal blooms on waterways with minimal human involvement. It also checks DOC predator cameras and helps map at-risk trees using satellite imagery.

Soil scientists reveal real risks of draining peatlands

Boggy, peat soils across large portions of the Waikato region are among the densest natural carbon stores in New Zealand. However, efforts to drain these areas to make the land farmable has led to massive carbon emissions and will continue to do so for years to come. Soil science experts Professor Louis Schipper and Associate Professor Dave Campbell have been focused on the many aspects of this ‘wicked problem’ and say while re-flooding the peatlands would stem carbon dioxide losses, it would not fix the problem in its entirety. The duo were featured as part of Stuff’s Forever Project in 2021, a national media campaign focused on climate change solutions. They are key members of a team called WaiBER at the University of Waikato, who are progressing a raft of research projects focused on increasing soil carbon content and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.