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Old 01-12-2009, 10:37 AM   #1
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Default How green is your garden? New report on Sustainable Sites

The New York Times Jan. 8 article on sustainable gardening contains exciting news. The full link to the article is below. With all the interest now in green buildings, here's a template for green landscaping around those green buildings, even emphasizing native plants.

Even in this frozen state, the garden serves as a model for the Sustainable Sites Initiative, introduced in November by the United States Botanic Garden, the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
The 179-page report, produced after three years of research by a diverse group of architects, landscape architects, ecologists and engineers, includes proposed guidelines for creating sustainable landscapes, as well as diverse examples of successful restoration projects, from Point Fraser, in Perth, Australia, where a toxic wetland full of heavy metals now supports native plants and wildlife, to the Queens Botanical Garden, in Flushing, N.Y., where harvested rainwater feeds into ornamental water gardens, and gray water from sinks, dishwaters and showers is cleansed by plants and used to flush toilets.
The report also includes a point system for rating a landscape, much like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, which rates the sustainability of buildings. The LEED system, created by the United States Green Building Council, a private group of architects, engineers, builders, manufacturers and others, has been around since 1993. But its ratings — even platinum, the highest one, so sought-after by green builders — focus much more on buildings than on the land around them.

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Old 01-12-2009, 02:51 PM   #2
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Location: Virginia, USA

I've seen several programs on this subject on several gardening shows and a several documentary like programs on the Green channel. I find it fascinating and amazing. What a nifty idea!
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:05 PM   #3
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You are always so good at finding these informative articles.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; we will understand only what we have been taught."
-Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:26 PM   #4
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Perhaps many of you are already aware of this website (and some of you may have even worked on this project), but it is new and very exciting to me. Sustainable Sites Initiative
The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.
The report The Case for Sustainable Landscapes is available on line.
...provides a set of arguments—economic, environmental, and social—for the adoption of sustainable land practices, additional background on the science behind the performance criteria in the guidelines and performance benchmarks, the purpose and principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and a sampling of some of the case studies the Initiative has followed.
There is also a 233 page guide (!) called The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 available for download.

Below, the guiding principles of a sustainable site (from a pdf on the website):
Do no harm
Make no changes to the site that will degrade the surrounding environment. Promote projects on sites where previous disturbance or development presents an opportunity to regenerate ecosystem
services through sustainable design.

Precautionary principle
Be cautious in making decisions that could create risk to human and environmental health. Some actions can cause irreversible damage. Examine a full range of alternatives—including no action—and be open to contributions from all affected parties.

Design with nature and culture
Create and implement designs that are responsive to economic, environmental, and cultural conditions with respect to the local, regional, and global context.

Use a decision-making hierarchy of preservation,
conservation, and regeneration
Maximize and mimic the benefits of ecosystem services by preserving existing environmental features, conserving resources in a sustainable manner, and regenerating lost or damaged ecosystem services.

Provide regenerative systems as
intergenerational equity
Provide future generations with a sustainable environment supported by regenerative systems and endowed with regenerative resources.

Support a living process
Continuously re-evaluate assumptions and values and adapt to demographic and environmental change.

Use a systems thinking approach
Understand and value the relationships in an ecosystem and use an approach that reflects and sustains ecosystem services; re-establish the
integral and essential relationship between natural processes and human activity.

Use a collaborative and ethical approach
Encourage direct and open communication among colleagues, clients, manufacturers, and users to link long-term sustainability with ethical

Maintain integrity in leadership and research
Implement transparent and participatory leadership, develop research with technical rigor, and communicate new findings in a clear, consistent, and timely manner.

Foster environmental stewardship
In all aspects of land development and management, foster an ethic of environmental stewardship—an understanding that responsible management of healthy ecosystems improves the quality of life for present and future generations.

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Old 01-07-2010, 11:49 AM   #5
Unicellular Fungi
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It is very encouraging seeing the American Society of Landscape Architects taking baby steps in the right direction.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; we will understand only what we have been taught."
-Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:40 AM   #6
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Default Ssi

I saw the ASLA's CEO give a wonderful presentation on the SSI at the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council's annual meeting in December. People so often think of sustainability as something that happens in the kitchen around the recycling and composting containers and forget why we are doing this in the first place!
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:47 AM   #7
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You have some good points about how people view sustainability. I don't know if you've run into her but there's a member here named Hedgerowe who is active in the Chesapeake Bay.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Dr. Seuss
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conservation, conservation gardening, garden, green, green gardening, native plants, new york times, report, sites, society of landscape architects, sustainability, sustainable, sustainable gardening, sustainable landscaping

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