Can anyone out there recommend sites that would have somewhat scholarly papers on the use of native plants. I am looking for advocates of this practice and those who feel it is nonsense. I'm not looking for books, looking for papers. This for a side project that I am starting and would like to have as much information as possible.

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Henry, try these articles on my educational website.They look at the "pro" as well as the "con" research

You may find what you need

http://plantworldnews.com/category/native-plants/

Thank you Professor! I just looked over the articles on your web page, looks like a good place to start.

Doug Talamy cites papers, of his own and of his grad students, in his books. They document the research upon which his conclusions are based.

Thanks Connie, I'll check out what they have to say.

Karen Blumer wrote the book on Native Plants of Long Island and is a big native plant advocate - she would be happy to talk to you about  her perspective, I would think, Henry.. Also for people to interview, if you like doing that, Carol Franklin at Andropoggon, or Yaqui, who works there, might be good interviews. Lots of good experience there, and Carol taught Plants and Design at UPenn, which ONLY taught natives..I think I can come up with a couple more, I like the project!! Will give your question some more thought.

Heidi

I'm really only interested in the anti native aspect. There are so many folks who advocate only for natives. I know about Franklin. She did a planting that was native on the way to the Philly airport, it was silly.

Hm. Cursory review of internet reveals NOBODY. But we all know that any landscaper greening up the malls of new jersey or long island has his standard plant list, of which probably NONE are natives.. Interesting research problem.

But also, like I said, native plant nazi's on the west coast are few and far between. Here we just irrigate it and plant whatever the heck we feel like. Drought or context be damned..

So I feel a bit nostalgic for the lovely natives of the east coast, and the lovely native plant communities, like beech-oak forest, successional field, estuarine wetland. So different and so pretty, all of them.....

Still, a good and interesting research project. Still thinking..

Anything on the Sustainable Sites research list?  I know Lady Bird Johnson does mostly 'native' but SS has 'site appropriate' to include natives and non-natives.  I recall several of our plants instructors challenging us to understand the difference between indigenous plants and nursery developed (grafted, genetically modified and bred, varieties that are xbreeds), as well as understanding the potential implication in relation to the political history (we were in a former confederate state, but also awareness of racial and immigration policy implications - i can't seem to recall who writes about this, but there is a body of literature on it)

I'm not one to be anti-native, but some non-natives work great, particularly for hardiness and forms unavailable among natives (though there seems to be a lot of development in ornamental varieties of natives recently, for better or for worse).

Yes, that is an articulate article, Henry. Good find..

I am under the distinct impression that some regular commentors on this site are distinctly anti-native plant, anti-LEED certification types:  I am surprised they have  not chimed in.

Trace, I'm thinking that they don't want to deal with the PC crowd. At this point I don't really care about that bunch. Seinfeld  got it right.

I don't think there is an anti-native crowd so much as there are people who are not hung up on using only natives. It is not so much a philosophy as it is a practical matter. Using all natives is more limiting than using native only.

Like most things in our profession, a lot of it is market driven. If I used native only planting I would be limited to working for environmental restoration companies for employment or having to become an environmental restoration design/build in order to survive - all legitimate businesses, but a harder market to crack than full landscape site planning with both ornamental plantings and native restoration. The latter is what I do - sometimes with an environmental restoration design/build taking on just the restoration/mitigation portion of the project (most of my projects are within 100' of coastal wetland resources, or freshwater wetlands, or are within coastal flood zones).

I am required to use native plants, usually native woody plants, both for mitigation (conversion of previously developed areas to native habitat) and in areas within 50' of a wetland resource.

While some regions of the country have very attractive native plants that can be used for aesthetic plant compositions, we are very limited to plants that form compositions that are not very attractive. The exceptions are Clethra alnifolia and Ilex glabra which we use cultivars of in the ornamental plantings as well.

Our market has an appetite for hydrangeas, roses, ornamental grasses, and lots of summer color. If you are trying to make a living designing residential or commercial landscapes using all natives in my market, you will have plenty of time for golf, fishing, boating, and a part time job to pay your greens fees and make friends who have boats.

I use hundreds of native plants in plans every month. I have even designed a landscape on a LEED Gold rated home.

My opinion, based on observation from deep within both the landscape side and civil site planning side of THIS market that I'm in (Cape Cod), is that you have to be more than a landscape designer or landscape architect to viably make a living using all natives. You have to, at minimum,  be an Environmental Consultant with a deep knowledge of Conservation Regulations that can represent and advocate for clients developing projects in environmentally sensitive areas. More likely you will have to be that AND build what you design. It takes a long time to build your credibility to do that and to build a network to be referred that work. It is a great business if you can get it established. I obviously have colleagues doing that - most have a biology or botany background rather than a design background.

I will check with one or two of them to see if they have any recommendations for scholarly papers for you to look at. I would suggest contacting Conservation Agents at municipalities in your area for such references. They are good location specific resource that is more comfortable taking time to respond than someone in a business that may fear competition.

The only argument that I can see about not using all natives is purely aesthetic. The fact is that I'm in the business of aesthetics. Make no mistake, native habitat is an aspect of aesthetics as well. This is not an EITHER/OR thing. Natives and non-invasive ornamentals is the mainstream. Responsible aesthetic development is a good thing and using it as a mechanism through regulation to restore native habitat is a win/win situation for both property owners and the environment.

We are very fortunate in my area that we have very strong Conservation Commissions and high enough real estate values in the more sensitive areas that has robust re-development activity that actually does make restoration of previously degraded habitats happen all of the time. Some only see the new house (replacing a smaller older one) and don't see that a new vegetated buffer now replaces a lawn that went to the edge of a pond. If the house was not rebuilt, the lawn would still cut off cover corridor along the edge of the pond, get fertilized, and not provide nesting and food sources.

 

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