There once was a time when developers didn’t clear-cut, when houses were built among the trees, and the natural landscapes were preserved. That’s the way it was done, because back then we were just as excited about the land as the house. Today, older neighborhoods have massive 100-year old trees dotting their landscapes, but not so within newer communities.
We were told it’s easier and less expensive to clear-cut, build, and then put back the trees and shrubs. However, we’re now learning there’s a cost associated with this approach, simply because we’re not putting back the natives and we’re not putting back enough plants to replicate the biodiversity needed to support a functional landscape. Also, bear in mind, our national parks and open spaces just don’t cut it. There’s too many of us and not enough functional landscape left.
Within one generation, the cost associated with clear-cutting has been reallocated. We now chew up resources to re-educate the public about ecosystem services and the benefits of biodiversity. We burn resources to redesign and re-landscape for biodiversity. And there’s also a cost associated with installing sterile landscapes and then doing nothing to fix them… fewer functional landscapes.
It’s not because we don’t care. We just haven’t understood the long-term implications, and we don’t know what we don’t know. The research regarding the benefits of using native plants and the ecosystem services they provide is ongoing and just beginning to unfold. However, we can start the conversation with our neighbors and our local planning officials by becoming better educated and inviting the researchers, such as Doug Tallamy, Jules Bruck and their colleagues, to speak within our local communities. With more information, conversation, and careful planning, we can preserve and plant more functional landscapes.
Welcome to my journal. For over 15 years I have created original landscape plans to help homeowners increase property value and really enjoy their yards. I approach every project as an unique opportunity to develop a work of living art, one that will require minimal care and age beautifully with time. In this journal, I will share some of my field experiences and tricks of the trade with you. Please join the conversation and thanks for visiting.