urban rewilding

Urban rewilding encourages biodiversity and ecological function in urban and peri-urban landscapes; while simultaneously reconnecting people to nature. 

 

We offer services that cover all aspects of a rewilding project: from the design and planning stage, through implementation and project managing, concluding with surefire long-term maintenance planning.  

 

Our approach is pragmatic and flexible; making it possible to meet the needs of all stakeholders involved, while attaining the highest results possible as site conditions allow. 

 

We work with NGOs, landowners, farmers, state agencies, and any other party interested in rewilding projects. 

What makes urban rewilding different from a traditional restoration approach?

 

Urban rewilding includes any initiative or program that seeks to encourage biodiversity, ecosystem function, and the persistence of native species in a range of urban settings, including on private and public land. Importantly, we argue, it encompasses the occupation of urban environments by native species, as well as the presence of ecologies that have resulted from human modification through urbanization.

 - Cecily Maller, et al.

 

In highly altered, human occupied landscapes, there are many factors that can make it impossible to restore land to a historical baseline: microclimates are hotter; soil is shallow, polluted, compacted and often saline and alkaline; hydrological conditions are transformed with impermeable surfaces and wetland channelization; air pollution prevents important foundation species from thriving; plantings are kept in a perpetual state of early succession due to land management regimens.  

 

For those reasons, urban rewilding does not attempt to restore land back to a historical baseline. Rather, site conditions act as the main driver of a project; while maintenance regimens, stakeholders expectations, community interest, and budget restraints are other primary drivers. 

 

A range of historical native plant communities are used as templates to steer the trajectory of a project. Some communities used as templates directly confront the extremely altered site conditions (e.g. floodplain, cliff, scree, dune, alvar pavement communities), while other plant communities are used to confront maintenance regimens and aesthetic expectations (e.g. savanna, long-grass prairie, short-grass prairie communities). Because these projects take place in highly visible areas, aesthetics can be an important consideration, especially when a project becomes controversial with neighboring communities. 

 

A strong relationship should be made between neighboring communities and practitioners. Ignoring ecological disservices will result in tension, delays, and ultimately lessen a project’s development. This should be viewed as an opportunity for collaborative learning, as some of the key benefits of urban rewilding addresses social-ecological issues: human-nature dichotomy, nature-deficit disorder and ecological boredom.  

 

A more flexible approach employing rewilding; rather than restoring to a historical baseline while ignoring urban ecology; will result with more successful projects to provide important social-ecological services from which all species will benefit. 

©2018 by olson design

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