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Home > Natural Resources > Biodiversity Strategies for Natural Resources Sustainability > Plants and Habitat Conservation for Natural Resources Preservation

Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks for Ecological Landscaping

Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks Draft 2008, the most comprehensive set of national guidelines yet developed for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of landscapes

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Your feedback is requested: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks Draft 2008, the most comprehensive set of national guidelines yet developed for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of landscapes is available for download at www.sustainablesites.org, and an online feedback form has been created for users to help improve the guidelines. Public comments are accepted until January 20, 2009.

COMPARING COSTS of Conventional vs. Sustainable Landscaping Impact

Direct comparisons of the cost of using sustainable land practices instead of traditional land practices are just beginning to be made. The case study of two gardens in Santa Monica, California—is one of the few projects that attempts to track costs for both a sustainable site and a control site that uses traditional practices.

Although initial installation costs of the sustainable native garden were higher than the traditional garden, the native garden, according to one Santa Monica city official, requires "80 percent less water, half the maintenance, and has half the green waste of the traditional."

Sustainable Landscaping Guidelines

These guidelines will enable built landscapes to support natural ecological functions by protecting existing ecosystems and regenerating ecological capacity where it has been lost. The report includes more than 50 prerequisites and credit options that cover everything from initial site selection to construction and maintenance.

This report focuses on measuring how a site can protect, restore and regenerate ecosystem services – benefits provided by natural ecosystems such as cleaning air and water, climate regulation and human health benefits. This report contains over 50 draft prerequisites and credits that cover all stages of the site development process from site selection to landscape maintenance.

Included in this overview of guiding principles for ecological landscaping are:

  • AN ECOSYSTEM SERVICES PRIMER
  • At Work in the Background 1
  • Cycles that Protect and Sustain
  • Ecosystems at Risk
  • The Need for Action
  • Global Interdependence
  • THE ECONOMICS OF HEALTHY ECOSYSTEMS
  • The Cost of Unsustainable Practices
  • Accounting for Direct and Indirect Benefits
  • Taking the Long View
  • Responding to a Carbon Economy
  • Valuing the Human Relationship with Nature
  • Comparing Costs
  • TOWARD MEASURES OF SUSTAINABILITY
  • Identifying Criteria for a Sustainable Site
  • Making Transformation Practical and Achievable
  • Interrelated Credits
  • The Big Picture

The report represents thousands of hours with input from 37 technical advisors in hydrology, vegetation, soils, materials and human health and well being. These credits were tailored to apply to any landscape, with or without buildings.

For information, contact info@sustainablesites.org



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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