Mixing ecological science into landscape architecture

Sixteen years ago, I was working in an environmental company run by a botanist and an architect. The major focus was designing constructed wetlands, and the company staff included a mix of ecologists, architects, and landscape architects. One project involved treating acid sludge leachate from a decommissioned mine, and one of my roles was to restore an eroded slope. I found five enormous rocks on the site during excavation and placed them across the steep bank. Later, at the community day when the wetlands were opened for public viewing, a running race was held in which five men – designated as the land's future caretakers, and each with chisel and hammer in hand – raced the mile of the constructed wetland to claim their favorite rock and mark it with their name. Such small events as these are one delight of working with both ecology and landscape architecture. – MG

Landscape architecture (henceforth LA) is a design profession that engages with the intersections of the natural world and the built environment to create a huge variety of places and to engage with environmental problems caused by human actions (Figure 1). Clients and the general public are no longer just interested in the aesthetics of landscaped areas – they are also increasingly concerned about ecological performance. For this reason, the skills of scientists (including those of ecologists) are growing in value within the LA profession.

To read the rest of this article in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, please click here.

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