Habitat and Biodiversity
By Kongjian Yu
译 萨拉•雅各布斯 张健
When I first read Life on Earth by Edword Osborne Wilson over 20 years ago, I was enlivened by his words: “In the expanding enterprise, landscape design will play a decisive role. Where environments have been mostly humanized, biological diversity can still be sustained at high levels by the ingenious placement of woodlots, hedgerows, watersheds, reservoirs and artificial ponds and lakes. Master plans will meld not just economic efficiency and beauty but also the preservation of species and races.” Wilson’s statement has continued to inspire me and bring confidence to my commitment to healing the earth through landscape architecture. His words also increased my awareness of the potential of landscape architecture, helping to guide my professional practice.
There are three consensuses about biodiversity: genetic diversity, species diversity, and habitat diversity.
Biodiversity can refer, at the scale of the gene, to the individual differences within a single species. For example, there is no same two poplars on earth, despite being the most common tree. In many ways, humans are the best example of the diversity at the genetic level. There are nearly six billion people on the earth, with no two the same. It is the genetic diversity that gives each species the potential to thrive and adapt to changing environments. Cloning, despite replicating genes, does not contribute to biodiversity. Rather, it dramatically cuts off biodiversity, causing species to lose their ability to adapt to the environment. I am not, however, fearful of modern technology, yet I cannot help hating such technology that is against natural law!
Biodiversity at species level is most understandable. Simply, there are millions of species living on earth. However, this awareness has not curtailed our long history of destroying biodiversity. Often, a species’ right to life depends on their usefulness to humans, our likes or dislikes. The harvesting of ivory, rhino horn, shark fin, or bear paw can, and often does, result in the death of those animals. Weapon of mass destruction, such as pesticides, antibiotics, or flamethrowers are widely used only as human pest control. I have seen creatures innocently killed, such as oncomelania in water (the host of aquatic blood-sucking insects), the grasshopper in fields, the hamster in the earth and the sparrow in the sky. My childhood memories of a fertile homeland where all species live in free competition is now nothing but dead silence. At the same time, humans go to great efforts to save the species they like. “Flagship species,” most of which are charismatic species, such as the Giant Panda, are proposed by ecologists with a good intention of arousing public’s awareness of species and habitat conservation and given priority within conservation measures. Even these efforts are now being challenged as people go to great lengths to protect panda habitats and breeding grounds while ignoring greater species diversity within the same valley, the Yangtze River!
Habitat is where creatures reproduce, live, and grow, the diversity of these landscapes is the foundation of species and gene biodiversity. Habitat is the sum of our environments, where subtle changes in subtle factors impact living things. Human activity has resulted in huge changes in habitat, on par with global change that occurred in the era of the dinosaurs! Worldwide climate change, regional-scale urban expansion, the construction of brutal gray infrastructure, increasingly mechanized agricultural production, the large-scale clearing of primeval forests, and the mono-cultivation of energy crops such as oil palm are all examples of activities actively destroying habitat at an alarming rate!
With knowledge of what causes biodiversity reduction, we can go back to Wilson’s words, that landscape design will play a decisive role in biodiversity conservation. With this in mind, landscape architecture must incorporate the following principles and strategies:
First, we must design with nature. Beginning with planning, this will require establishing ecological security patterns at both the regional and state level. Working between people and land, landscape architects must use less land. This will require first protecting, and then resorting, biodiversity through identification and conservation of critical habitats.
Second, landscape architects must, where possible, use local and native species during ecological restorations, particularly large-scale urban and rural afforestation, avoiding exotic species invasion and intensive use of cultivated species.
Finally, landscape architects must assume the task of ecological design as it applies to hydraulic engineering, transportation infrastructure, agriculture and forestry, and urban development. While none of these activities are designed to kill biodiversity, without proper planning and design they can be incredibility environmental destructive. Various methods, such as the ponds system of historic water conservancy projects, organic farming systems, sustainable management of forestry, and adaptive settlement with hilly land and flood have shown that by combining science and art, landscape architecture can produce life, rather than take life, helping achieve a shared world.
Translated by Sara JACOBS Angus ZHANG
The Effect of Landscape Patterns on Avian Communities during Summer Months in Beijing’s Urban Parks
作者：谢世林，逯非，曹垒，周伟奇，欧阳志云 Shilin XIE, Fei LU, Lei CAO, Weiqi ZHOU, Zhiyun OUYANG
Parks are among the most important green spaces in urban landscapes, making them hotspots for urban biodiversity research. The scale and spatial patterns of these urban landscapes suggest best practices for avian communities. This study considers the landscape patterns of Beijing’s urban parks and their relationship to avian species abundance and density. The study analyzed high-resolution satellite images, with an accuracy of one meter, from 29 urban parks during the summer months. The research showed the average size of Beijing’s urban parks to be small (with an average size of 13.9 hm2), with woodland landscapes as the most common landscape typology (with an average of 74.7%). In the analyzed parks, the patch density was high, with an average density of 8.63 per hectare, while the contagion index was low, with a 63 on average. Additionally, the number of avian species found in each sample park was low, with only 13.2 recorded on average. Spearman correlation analysis showed that avian species abundance were positively correlated with park areas, along with the landscape contagion and the proportion of woodland landscape, and negatively correlated with patch density, SHDI, and SHEI. Finally, the analysis showed a correlation between small patch size and low species diversity. The conclusions drawn can help provide guidance and reference for avian urban park planning and design.
Urban Park; Landscape Pattern; Avian Community; Biodiversity; Landscape Design; Beijing
Restoration and Optimization of a Wetland Landscape Based on Natural Succession of Vegetation — A Case Study of Harbin Cultural Center Wetland Park
作者：刘航 Hang LIU
Harbin Cultural Center Wetland Park was constructed on a degraded urban wetland, with a primary goal of restoring the vegetative landscape of the site — secondary wetland communities consisting of marsh, native herbs, and moisture tolerant trees and shrubs — ultimately establishing and maintaining ecological succession of vegetation communities from aquatic to arenaceous habitats, while celebrating the natural landscape characteristics of the site. This paper reports mainly on the improvement of ecological performance in the park three years after its construction. It also reviews the exploratory plan for landscape protection, construction, and restoration of the wetland park. In addition, this paper demonstrates the unique qualities of the project which distinguish it from common wetland parks, making it a helpful reference for the construction of other urban wetland parks in China.
Natural Wetland; Plant Community; Vegetation Restoration; Ecological Performance; Urban Public Space
Fragmentation —The Biggest Obstacle for Biodiversity Conservation
作者：李迪华 Dihua LI
Habitat and biodiversity conservation has become an important issue across the world. Phenomena such as dropping species numbers, disappearing habitat, and biodiversity loss continue to emerge under the impact of the rapid urbanization and climate change. This paper aims to discuss the problem of fragmentation caused by the disconnect awareness and instruction during the process of habitat and biodiversity conservation. The paper also attempts to diagnose the status quo and challenges China faces in habitat and biodiversity conservation and point out the pressing transformation of responsibilities and roles of designers.
Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation; Fragmentation; Public Attention; Media; Urban Ecology; Eco-design
Green Infrastructure and Urban Biodiversity
作者：沃维克·萨瓦斯 Warwick SAVVAS
Due to the pressures of urbanization, land clearing and climate change we are losing urban habitats at an alarming rate. Green infrastructure has a large role to play in biodiversity conservation in Australia. ASPECT Studios and their collaborators from a wide range try to provide ecosystem services in artificial environments through a green infrastructure approach, and by doing so contribute to biodiversity values in our cities.
Green Infrastructure; Urban Biodiversity; Planning Palette Design; Evidence-based Design; Novel Ecosystem
Urban Watershed Framework Plan for Conway, Arkansas: A Reconciliation Landscape
作者：阿肯色大学社区设计中心 University of Arkansas Community Design Center
The city and the watershed are distinct systems of flow that generate shape and structure across the landscape to maximize their intrinsic objectives. How can city form fix the watershed? The framework plan is a U.S. EPA-funded initiative to mitigate severe water management problems in the sub-watershed incorporating Conway, Arkansas. The sub-watershed contains polluted headwater streams exhibiting advanced urban stream syndrome contributing to the decline of Lake Conway downstream.
The framework plan employs green infrastructure incorporating urban rain terrains (based on holding water) and riparian corridors (based on drainage) that deliver ecosystem services. A portfolio of modulated infrastructural retrofits are value-added to conventional infrastructure. The approach provides a novel set of transferable planning tools for urban watersheds, combining a sponge city gradient, a water treatment technologies spectrum, the 17 ecosystem services, and six adaptive infrastructure types. The approach builds a representative cityscape expressive of place-based urban water management.
Green Infrastructure; Watershed Plan; Urban Planning; Sponge City; Habitats; Biodiversity
Shanghai Zhangjiabang Urban Design and Landscape Master Plan
作者：Sasaki设计事务所 Sasaki Associates, Inc.
Shanghai spreads across the expansive alluvial floodplain of the Yangtze River delta. Considerable urbanization over the past century has led to environmental degradation and a dramatic reduction of natural habitat in this ecologically complex landscape. Zhangjiabang Park is designed within this context, focusing on the relationship between humans and nature within the ever-expanding megacity. Zhangjiabang is one of eight “green wedges” proposed throughout Shanghai to improve access to nature and, when completed, will be the city’s largest public park. It is an ambitious project, seeking to enhance the city’s microclimate, contribute to regional biodiversity, and improve the quality of life for Shanghai’s 26 million inhabitants.
Restore Ecology; Enhance Microclimate; Habitat; Biodiversity
Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, Texas
作者：Design Workshop设计事务所，Reed Hilderbrand设计事务所 Design Workshop, Inc., Reed Hilderbrand
The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is devastated by weather extremes from drought to hurricanes. Fundamental to the Arboretum’s renewal is an exhaustive assessment of the site’s natural and cultural heritage, diagnosis of the climate change impacts, and extensive stakeholder engagement. The plan outlines a more resilient evolution for the Arboretum and is a model for regions facing similar threats.
Resiliency; Renewal; Habitats; Biodiversity
Weishan Lake National Wetland Park, Shandong
作者：陶练 Lian TAO
Rapid urbanization is now being experienced in China's third- and fourth-tier cities, raising questions of how to balance urban development with natural resources protection. The integration of nature into expanding urban environments is one of the largest challenges facing those cities. Weishan Lake National Wetland Park is an example of how low-impact design strategies can protect wetlands and purify water while functioning as a natural buffer for the city. Conserving the existing wetland and enhancing service facilities can also provide educational experiences and ecological tourism that will help communicate the city’s identity. Meanwhile, the project moves the wetland into urban public spaces in order to build an integrated regional network of ecological and green infrastructure that will contribute to regional ecological improvement while transforming the city into a unique wetland destination.
Wetland; Ecology; Habitat; Biodiversity; Low-Impact Design
作者：朱莉·D·内特尔顿 Julie D. NETTLETON
Thousands of years ago, ancient aeolian sands were deposited in the Sydney Basin. A rich diversity of heathland and woodland plants thrived in the impoverished soil and coastal climate, along with many small native animals, birds and insects. This ecological community known as Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) is now listed as critically endangered. My work focuses on a site called North Head Sanctuary, one of the last remaining pockets of ESBS, in the heart of suburban Sydney. Although I grew up in the area, it was not until I became a botanical artist that I understood its fragile beauty and significance. There was no epiphany. Rather, it was a slow but compelling dawning as I saw the site with new and wiser eyes. With its very existence slipping towards extinction, the urgency to keep something of what we still have, and tell its unique story, is what inspires and drives me. This article will discuss my journey of discovery, inspiration, and what shapes the uniqueness of my work.
Botanical Art; Australian Native Plants; Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub; Endangered Species
The Cries of a City’s Trill
作者：克里斯蒂娜·利·吉洛斯 Christina Leigh GEROS
Jakarta — the bustling capital city of Indonesia — is home to roughly 28 million people. From local to global, cultural practices and trade have long been shaped by the flora and fauna of the Indonesian archipelago — one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Over the past three decades the city of Jakarta has sustained the highest rate of urbanization of any single metropolitan district in the world generating an urban ecology that is constantly redefining the relationships upon which it is built. Through the aural, visual, and olfactory expressions of these complexities, the constructed narratives of human to nonhuman communities reveal themselves in the boundaries and vectors both latent and exposed — both spatial and sensorial — within the city. As a Fulbright National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow living in Jakarta, my architecturally-driven approach to the analysis of ecological and political forces that shape and are shaped by the urban environment has been pierced by the song of some of our smallest and most vibrant companions — exposing a narrative of city-building that pre-dates the city as we know it and as essential to our understanding of cities as a minor science is to a major science.
Jakarta; Major Science; Minor Science; Urbanization; Birds