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Developing Healthy Landscapes

An unhealthy environment should not be the price of a beautiful landscape. Inappropriate plant choices and inadequate soil preparation can lead to a reliance on excessive use of water and on toxic chemicals to resolve problems. Ecological landscaping encourages practices that promote a healthy environment through conservation of resources, respect for biodiversity, and ecologically-sound techniques.

Figure 1. Soils in Los Angeles 
 

The Needs Assessment of Los Angeles Soils: Current Status, Community Needs, and Future Directions

By Yujuan Chen, Ph.D. 

Soil is the brown infrastructure for Los Angeles. It has great potential to mitigate current and future climate impacts by sequestering carbon, improving water supply and water quality, supporting plant growth, enhancing food production, and maintaining healthy communities. This study aims to understand the current status of LA soils, identify soil issues, and work with partners to provide a framework to move forward. 

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Harms Woods is a restored woodland in Glenview, IL.
 

Can the Soil Seed Bank Save Us?

By Nathan Lamb

Imagine two woodlands. Both have deciduous, fire-adapted trees overhead. One has widely spaced trees, and sunlight reaches a diverse community of grasses, sedges, and forbs. The other has a dense thicket of invasive shrubs that shades out all but the earliest spring ephemerals. Will removing the invasive shrubs and exposing the bare soil trigger a profusion of native plants, restoring the diverse community that lived there hundreds of years ago? 

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Colorful Produce 

Proper Nutrition for Increased Activity Levels

By Samantha McCarthy

In landscape and gardening design, spring means a change from a more sedentary winter lifestyle to a sudden increase in physical activity. This quick transition can be a challenge for the body, so optimizing your nutrition throughout the Spring and Summer can help you feel better, increase energy levels, and prevent inflammation and pain in the joints. 

 

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JP_seagrass_feat-1028x579 (1) 

The Beauty of Blue Carbon

By Hilary Stevens

Coastal wetlands are a valuable component of our landscape for many reasons. They provide habitat to many species that are important for fisheries and recreation. They reduce wave energy and help mitigate coastal flooding.  It turns out that they also help control the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by trapping carbon dioxide in plants and in soils.

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Figure 4:  Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
 

Climate Change and Invasive Species

By Carrie Brown-Lima

Invasive species are on the rise as trade and travel accelerate the introduction and spread of new species in a way never seen before. Simultaneously, our climate is changing at an unprecedented rate resulting in climate extremes. While these two phenomena are each daunting challenge to biodiversity, their impacts can act synergistically and present additional hurdles for conservation and sustainability. 

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Beauty in nature abounds, it is always present no manner how quickly we think the world is spinning.   

COVID’s Pendulum

By Trevor Smith

Goodbye 2020 and good riddance!!! Though we are not out of the woods yet, I couldn’t help but feel a weight lifted as the ball fell at the stroke of midnight. 2020 started like any other year, with hope and possibility. The anticipation of a new season combined with knowing how crazy things would be in spring felt like I was on a rollercoaster about to hit that big drop. All I could do was hold on as the world rushed past. Little did we know that drop would be less like a rollercoaster and more akin to Niagara Falls. 

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Update: Plastic Pots Used in the Green Industry

By Marie Chieppo

In 2019, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) sustainability committee asked me to research and write about plastic horticultural pots use and disposal methods. Because plastic is so easy to use, billions of plastic pots were being produced without a blueprint for what would happen as demand increased. Unfortunately, we’ve produced so much plastic that we can’t possibly recycle it all.

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