How do you measure biodiversity, and why should landscape architects and planners care? What are the essential issues, the clearest terminology, and the most effective methods for biodiversity planning and design? How can they play a role in biodiversity conservation in a manner compatible with other goals? These are critical questions that Jack Ahern, Elizabeth Leduc, and Mary Lee York answer in this timely and useful book.
Real-world case studies showcase biodiversity protection and restoration projects, both large and small, across the U.S.: the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle,Washington; the Crosswinds Marsh Wetlands Mitigation Project in Wayne County, Michigan; the Florida Statewide Greenway System; and the Fort Devens Stormwater Project in Ayer, Massachusetts. Ahern shows how an interdisciplinary approach led by planners and designers with conservation biologists, restoration ecologists, and natural and social scientists can yield successful results and sustainable practices. Minimizing habitat loss and degradation-the principal causes of biodiversity decline-are at the heart of the planning and design processes and provide landscape architects and planners a chance to achieve their professional goals while taking a leading role in the environmental community.
Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are special places known for their distinctive flora, including pine-oak forests, sandplain grasslands, and sand dunes peppered with bearberry shrubs. Unfortunately, this unique sense of place is under threat. In recent decades, contemporary landscape practices have come to depend on environmentally stressful fertilizers and irrigation systems, replacing this sensitive ecoregion’s native flora with generic turfgrasses and popular commercial nursery trees and shrubs that could exist anywhere.
Design with Nature on Cape Cod and the Islands seeks to reverse this damaging trend by offering landscape professionals, local officials, and homeowners a sustainable approach to landscape design based on the ecoregion’s native plants and plant communities. Presenting detailed discussions of Cape Cod’s natural history, Jack Ahern focuses on the principal plant communities that define its landscape character and that are well adapted to local soils and growing conditions, including climate change. The book also includes strategies for ecological planting design and a portfolio of photographs of active ecologically designed landscapes.
This practical handbook bridges the gap between those scientists who study landscapes and the planners and conservationists who must then decide how best to preserve and build environmentally-sound habitats. Until now, only a small portion of the relevant science has influenced the decision-making arenas where the future of our landscapes is debated and decided.
The authors explain specific tools and concepts to measure a landscape's structure, form, and change over time. Metrics studied include patch richness, class area proportion, patch number and density, mean patch size, shape, radius of gyration, contagion, edge contrast, nearest neighbor distance, and proximity. These measures will help planners and conservationists make better land use decisions for the future.