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Über dieses Buch

Today, there is a growing demand for designed landscapes—from public parks to backyards—to be not only beautiful and functional, but also sustainable. With Principles of Ecological Landscape Design, Travis Beck gives professionals and students the first book to translate the science of ecology into design practice.

This groundbreaking work explains key ecological concepts and their application to the design and management of sustainable landscapes. It covers topics from biogeography and plant selection to global change. Beck draws on real world cases where professionals have put ecological principles to use in the built landscape.

For constructed landscapes to perform as we need them to, we must get their underlying ecology right. Principles of Ecological Landscape Design provides the tools to do just that.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

0. Right Plant, Right Place: Biogeography and Plant Selection

Abstract
Here, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation. More than seven billion humans dominate the planet in ways we never have before. Our ever-expanding megalopolises creep out into landscapes cut over for timber, mined for fuel, bisected by roads, grazed by livestock, drained and plowed for farming, put back to cover, abandoned and regrown, parceled for houses, or opened for recreation. Even the most pristine wilderness areas are subject to our legislated forbearance. The rain that falls on them is enriched and polluted by our activities elsewhere, and the climate they live under is shifting by our hand.
Travis Beck

1. Right Plant, Right Place: Biogeography and Plant Selection

Abstract
It is often said that the secret to good horticulture is putting the right plant in the right place. By matching plants to their intended environment, a designer helps to ensure that the plants will be healthy, grow well, and need a minimum of care. Too
Travis Beck

2. Beyond Massing: Working with Plant Populations and Communities

Abstract
So far we have discussed how factors such as climate, microclimate, and place of origin influence why individual plants grow where they do in nature and how those factors should influence our selection of plants for the landscape. Of course, in nature and in the built environment plants rarely grow alone. They grow with other plants, both from their own species and from others.
Travis Beck

3. The Struggle for Coexistence: On Competition and Assembling Tight Communities

Abstract
From an aesthetic standpoint, the criteria are familiar. In Perennial Companions: 100 Dazzling Plant Combinations for Every Season, Tom Fischer (2009: 9) reviewed the conventional approach: “One of the greatest pleasures-and challenges—of gardening is combining plants to form pleasing juxtapositions of color, form, and texture.”
Travis Beck

4. Complex Creations: Designing and Managing Ecosystems

Abstract
A dragonfly flits over the sun-mirrored surface of a pond, snapping at hatching mosquitoes before coming to rest on an overhanging rush. This is an ecosystem: animals, plants, and their physical environment linked together in the exchange of
Travis Beck

5. Maintaining the World as We Know It: Biodiversity for High-Functioning Landscapes

Abstract
Consider the once great prairie. Ranging from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the ragged edge of the eastern deciduous forest, the American prairie encompassed an array of different communities and ecosystems, including shortgrass prairie, sand prairie, pothole wetlands, and oak savanna. Each of these ecosystems was filled with a panoply of plant and animal life (fig. 5.1). A recent 24-hour bioblitz on the American Prairie Preserve in Montana turned up 480 species, including 26 fungi and 76 birds (Billings Gazette 2011). Diverse prairies are found mostly in preserves these days or between the headstones of settlers’ cemeteries. As the country pursued its manifest destiny, prairie gave way to farmlands, ranches, interstate highways, and sprawling subdivisions. Its interwoven plant communities became millions of acres of corn, wheat, sunflowers, and bluegrass lawns.
Travis Beck

6. The Stuff of Life: Promoting Living Soils and Healthy Waters

Abstract
One of the most incredible ecosystems has long remained invisible, though it is right beneath our feet. In the landscaping world there has been a tendency to treat soil as a crude substrate into which to stick plants, as if it were the chunk of foam at the base of a florist’s creation. Most gardeners are taught to assess a few simple criteria: soil texture, pH, amount of organic matter, and nutrient levels. If a soil is in the proper range for all of these, it is good to go. If not, adjust as needed. This approach fails to recognize the complexity of the soil ecosystem and all the ways that, if we can keep that ecosystem humming, it will do important work for us.
Travis Beck

7. The Birds and the Bees: Integrating Other Organisms

Abstract
Ecological landscapes are full of life. The myriad organisms that inhabit living soil are just the beginning. Spores settle on every leaf. Insects crawl along stems, while birds hop, strut, and chatter. Animals, like plants, have diversified to inhabit most every climate. They have further diversified to exploit different plants in each environment, and even different parts of those plants, and also other animals. This explains why, if we accept Robert May's (2000) estimates of the number of species on Earth, there are 300,000 plants and more than five million animals. Most of these animals are insects, and most of them have yet to be identified.
Travis Beck

8. When Lightning Strikes: Counting on Disturbance, Planning for Succession

Abstract
In July 1988 lightning flashed deep within Yellowstone National Park. Grass browned to a crisp by the driest summer on record burst into flame. Needles crackled as the fire climbed nearby lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta) and spread from crown to crown. The wind rose, pushing fire and the acrid smell of smoke ahead of it. From a distance, the fire rumbled like a train. Closer, it roared like a jet engine, sucking in air to feed 200-foot towers of flame, spewing forth columns of smoke and embers that landed as far as 2 miles away (Billings Gazette 1995). Fifty fires started in the park that summer. By the time winter's snows put out the last pockets, more than a third of the park had been burned (National Park Service 2006). Debate raged: Was the blaze a natural stand-replacing fire, such as had last occurred in the eighteenth century, or had it been caused by decades of fire suppression? What was unmistakable as soon as the next summer, however, was that the forest was coming back. Wildflowers bloomed in the nutrient-rich ash. Millions of tightly sealed lodgepole pine cones had burst open in the flames, releasing their seeds. In between the charred trunks of their parents, these seeds sprouted into a new forest (fig. 8.1).
Travis Beck

9. An Ever-Shifting Mosaic: Landscape Ecology Applied

Abstract
Landscapes are filled with patterns. Consider figure 9.1, a satellite image of the Mississippi River as it flows along the border of Arkansas and Mississippi south of Memphis, Tennessee. Equally striking are the sinuous course of the river and the grid of farms that surround it. Landscape patterns result from processes-in this case the erosion and deposition of sediments along the river's banks and the clearing of land for agriculture along property lines determined by the Public Land Survey System. Patterns also influence processes. The array of oxbow lakes formed from the river's meanders creates a series of wetlands that guide the movement of waterfowl through the region. The checkerboard of farms isolates small pockets of woods whose microclimates are influenced by their proximity to open fields. Neither of these two dominant landscape elements can be understood without reference to the other. The farmlands along the river are subject to periodic flooding. The river, in turn, is filled with water, sediment, and nutrients that run off the fields. It can be useful to break a landscape into discrete ecosystems with clear boundaries for the purposes of analysis (see chap. 4), but landscape ecology recognizes that ecosystems are in fact open systems. What flows into an ecosystem can be as important in determining the qualities of that ecosystem as what takes place within its boundaries. No single entity can be understood without considering its relationship to what is nearby. Furthermore, the spatial pattern in which those entities are arranged is important to how a landscape works.
Travis Beck

10. No Time Like the Present: Creating Landscapes for an Era of Global Change

Abstract
For millennia humans have interacted with the physical environment and other living organisms to shape ecosystems and landscapes. As our population has skyrocketed, our development of land accelerated, our consumption of energy, fresh water, and other resources risen, and our production of toxic chemicals, synthetic fixation of nitrogen, and release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere surged, we have become more and more entangled in the workings of the biogeochemical system that is the planet Earth.
Travis Beck

Backmatter

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