Research | Land and Community Design Case Study Books

Biodiversity Planning & Design

Jack Ahern, Elizabeth Leduc, & Mary Lee York

This publication 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 and minimize habitat loss and degradation.

According to the authors, “The state of biodiversity is of increasing concern around the world. There is considerable agreement among scientists that habitat loss and degradation are among the leading causes of global biodiversity decline. Renowned entomologist and champion of biodiversity awareness E.O. Wilson (1988) claims, ‘Overall we are locked into a race. We must hurry to acquire the knowledge on which a wise policy of conservation and development can be based for centuries to come.’”

If habitat loss is the leading cause of biodiversity decline, it follows that planning and design will be essential in any viable solution by directly conserving, protecting, or managing landscapes and habitats.

As part of its case study series LAF sponsored this issue-based research into how landscape architects and planners have addressed the issue of biodiversity in their work. This case study was conducted to learn: how biodiversity fits with other goals in professional planning and design work; the role(s) of landscape architects and planners in interdisciplinary teams; and strategies for moving forward with biodiversity planning and design when faced with uncertainty and incomplete knowledge. 

The study includes five biodiversity planning and design projects arranged into a comparative, issue-based case study representing a range of scales and geographic locations across the United States. They include: the Woodland Park Zoo long-range plan by Jones & Jones, Architects and Landscape Architects, Ltd. in Seattle, Washington; a wetland restoration project by Carol R. Johnson and Associates in Devens, Massachusetts; the Crosswinds Marsh Wetland Mitigation Project in Wayne Country, Michigan, by the Smith Group/JJR from Ann Arbor Michigan; the Willamette River Basin Study in Oregon by University of Oregon landscape architect David Hulse and colleagues and the Florida Statewide Greenways System Planning Project by the University of Florida Department of Landscape Architecture.

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