Planting design for ecological resilience and sense of place under climate change

   Strategies for landscape regeneration are culturally and
ecologically complex. Landscape
architects face the challenge of designing for landscape regeneration in the
face of unpredictable changes brought by climate change. Under global warming, a shift in plant growth
zones has been established worldwide. As
plant species move to new locations that better meet their ecological requirements,
urban ecosystems and the people who live in them will attempt to adjust. Landscape
architects can be instrumental in this adjustment.

   Here I propose an adaptive strategy for climate change that
supports ecosystem health and protects human sense of place during times of
transition. The adaptation strategy begins by rating locally appropriate plant
species on ecological criteria for plasticity, functional redundancy, response
diversity, and structural diversity. A plant palette is then developed within
the confines set by ecological value, aesthetic goals and cultural
considerations such sense of place and history.

   A graphic example of the strategy is given for an adaptive
planting design that supports pollinators and birds.

   Collective application of this landscape urbanism strategy
at smaller scales across an urban/regional landscape has the potential to protect
and expand nature corridors that are resilient to climate change and to provide
a low cost version of assisted migration. The approach itself is not specific
to place or scale. It is suitable for
new development, retrofits, and landscape restoration. It does not require extensive training or
bring added expense to apply.

  • Website :
  • Project start : 2009
  • Project end : 2012
  • Contact Person : MaryCarol Hunter
  • Funding Agency : US Forest Service and University of Michigan?s School of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Location : United States, Ann Arbor, lat : 42.252917783301970000 - lng : -83.693847656250000000 address : 2300-2378 Jeanne Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA; United States, Ann Arbor, lat : 42.277197638782170000 - lng : -83.736484050750730000 address : 440 Church Street, University of Michigan - Central Campus, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA