Post-Wild Plant Schemes for Urban Biodiversity

Thomas Rainer, ASLA  provided a keynote address to the recent Florida Chapter, ASLA conference that was a synopsis of his recent collaboration on “Planting in a Post-Wild World” (Timber Press).  While I have yet to read the book, it appears he is arguing for greater biodiversity in our landscapes.  Based upon his relatively brief presentation, I believe his book’s greatest contribution to the practice of planting design is our need to expand our plant palettes to mimic the way plants exist and behave in their natural settings.  He goes into some detail about the “social” character of plants and how different species need to occupy varying strata, or layers, of a site or niche.

Hopefully, the book also provides a detailed list of plants that are appropriate for different soil conditions.  As a conceptual work it is certainly challenging and inspiring, but just as some exotic planting designs fail because of an absence of plants that accept the specific soil conditions, etc. of a site; one can’t simply go to a meadow and transplant any plant to fit a more natural, layered planting scheme.

If the goal of this new paradigm is to increase biodiversity in the urban environment, there is much more thought to be pursued.  One might want to call an environment with humans, roaches, rats and fleas biologically diverse, because there are several species existing in the same environment.  When biodiversity was mentioned in the presentation, the focus seemed to be upon “botanical” diversity.  If our goal is to create opportunities for true ecological biodiversity within the urban setting, where crickets, frogs, aphids, and butterflies join the rats and roaches; communities must avoid environmental fragmentation and plant communities that support the insects, birds, etc. must be established and maintained.

August 8, 2016 at 2:35 am Leave a comment

Pruning to Retain Beauty and Structural Integrity

Port Orleans crape bosque

The attached PDF explores the pros and cons of unnecessary pruning practices and their effects on the integrity of our landscapes.  As with many other landscape architects, I often see the character of a designed landscape mutilated by thoughtless maintenance procedures.  The attached article may shine some light on the dilemma.

Crape Pruning Etc

June 4, 2016 at 10:17 pm 1 comment

Conflicts Between Natural & Man-Made Infrastructures

Until we seriously consider the needs of these natural, green infrastructure elements, I’m afraid we’ll continue to design communities with unnecessary conflicts between the natural and man-made infrastructures. <a href="”> Read More…

Continue Reading October 20, 2013 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment

Language of Ecological Degradation

I was reviewing some CNU materials and found a piece titled “Sprawl Wrecks the Landscape”. This may be a benign choice of words in most respects. However I was struck that we often are concerned with the aesthetic blight that accompanies development; but we are really not in touch with the affects on plant and animal life. If we see trees, rolling hills or wetland prairies being destroyed we may have little comprehension of the loss of habitat and beneficial species that keep biomass recycled, etc.   If this is true, what do we do about it?

September 22, 2009 at 7:19 pm Leave a comment

Security and Climate

I attended the recent USF forum on National Security, Energy and Climate, with former featuring former Senators John Warner (R-VA), Bob Graham (D-FL), Vice Admiral Dennis McGinnis and Thomas Crisman. They share the affect of climate change and energy dependence shared by the general population and the military.  This includes the unrest and chaos that will occur when coastal areas are flooded around the world and the national energy grid is affected. Hopefully, having the military establishment on board with a goal to do better community planning (even if it is based upon national security).  It is good to know that the military needs coincide more with the general public than any particular power. They indicate that the security of the world depends upon energy independence and preparing for the many negative  ramifications of sea level rise. They know we are not prepared.

September 2, 2009 at 6:04 pm Leave a comment

Methane and Global Warming

I’d like to hear some thoughts about whether fauna are creating more methane today or in the past and how that might affect global warming

August 28, 2009 at 1:46 am 2 comments

Native Plants for Your Site

Understanding whether a plant species grows naturally in your environment could make native plants a success in your landscape.

Continue Reading April 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm 2 comments

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