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Abstract Detail

Reproductive Processes

Bass, Heather [1], Belaire, Amy [2], Venhaus, Heather [3], Barfield, Keri [4].

The effects of landscape design on pollinator abundance, water use, and net carbon footprint.

All landscapes, whether urban, suburban, or rural, have the potential to provide ecosystem services. Although landscaping with native plants is becoming increasingly popular, little is known about how site-scale design and management choices affect ecosystem services. With this ongoing research project, we address the following questions: (1) Which landscape choices result in reduced water usage, and how much water can be saved? (2) Which landscape choices benefit pollinators in urban landscapes, and what is the magnitude of effect on native pollinator diversity, abundance, and visitation rates? (3) Which landscape choices are most effective for minimizing net carbon footprint of designed landscapes? To address these questions we identified a range of landscape design and management strategies, and explored how those affect pollinators, water use, and carbon footprint. Preliminary data show that some small landscape design decisions could promote and enhance ecosystem services in urban landscapes. Research plots containing native plants best adapted to dry soil conditions were able to go without supplemental irrigation for an average of 25 days. In some cases, the water needs of the plots were entirely supplied by rainfall, with no supplemental irrigation required. Plots with greater native plant richness saw a greater abundance of unique pollinator taxa and overall abundance of pollinators per plot varied widely within one observation period. These data suggest that pollinators do respond differentially to landscape design at small spatial scales. Landscape maintenance time varied widely among plots and carbon footprint associated with landscape maintenance increased with greater turf-grass cover. Early findings demonstrate that intentional design decisions in urban systems can result in high-performing landscapes that remain aesthetically pleasing while minimizing water use, maximizing benefits to pollinators, and reducing carbon emissions associated with urban landscape construction and maintenance.

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Related Links:
High Performance Landscapes Project Website

1 - Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Research, 1700 University Drive, Fort Worth, TX, 76107, USA
2 - St. Edward's University, Wild Basin Creative Research, 805 North Capitol of Texas Highway, Austin, TX, 78746, USA
3 - Regenerative Environmental Design, Austin, TX, USA
4 - Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Operations, 1700 University Drive, Fort Worth, TX, 76107, USA

carbon footprint
water use
urban landscape
landscape design

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 30, Reproductive Processes
Location: Fort Worth Ballroom 7/Omni Hotel
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM
Number: 30013
Abstract ID:165
Candidate for Awards:None

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