URBAN ECOLOGY NOTEBOOK
By examination of a project site, existing areas can often be associated with certain ecological conditions from the regional native landscape. In a technical sense, each identified zone can be considered an ecotope, as understood from the landscape ecology discipline.
Once a site’s “ecotopes” are identified, a bundle of corresponding practices, plants and materials, which have developed through extensive scholarly work + experience, can be deployed in the design process. Effective ecological associations are crucial to making the built landscape product perform at a higher level, in less time with fewer inputs.
describe ecological characteristics commonly found within the urban context
1. the smallest ecologically distinct landscape features in a landscape mapping and classification system. As such, they represent relatively homogeneous, spatially explicit landscape functional units that are useful for stratifying landscapes into ecologically distinct features for the measurement and mapping of landscape structure, function and change.
Also known as the Texas Hill Country, the Edwards Plateau rises from the Balcones Fault to the Chihuahuan Desert as a highly biodiverse region of open savanna, scattered with trees, grasses, perennial wildflowers + cactus.
From the Texan Santa Fé Expedition, “rolling and beautiful prairies occasionally relieved by the slight skirting of timber which fringes the margins of small streams, or by a grove of timber so regularly spaced by Nature that it would almost seem the hand of man assisted. A country magnificently checkered with alternate prairie and woodland.”
Post Oak Savannah
Interweaving with the Blackland Prairie, this region is characterized by the presence of scattered mottes of the eponymous Post Oak, separated by rolling prairies of tall grasses and wilflowers. This park-like environment is a transisitonal area between the east Texas woodlands and the expansive grasslands farther west.
Coastal Prairies + Marshes
This narrow but highly diverse region that stretches from Northern Mexico to Louisiana is a patchwork of wetlands, dunes, grasslands, and tree-lined waterways.