The Green Leap: A Primer for Conserving Biodiversity in Subdivision Development

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The Green Leap not only offers essential information for constructing new developments but also helps existing communities retrofit homes, yards, and neighborhoods to better serve both people and nature.

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Thomas J. Planning for Biodiversity. Sheila Peck. A host of contractors and sub-contractors, with a variety of equipment and heavy earthwork machines, can wreak havoc. Examples include:. Even if the design and construction phases went well, over the long term, successful biodiversity conservation is dependent on how people manage their homes, yards, and neighborhoods. The below actions can dramatically compromise the biological integrity of a green community:.

How do we create functional, biodiverse communities? First, a range of stakeholders must understand the dynamic relationship among the three phases of development: design, construction, and postconstruction. Policy makers, planners, regulators, and green certification agencies must not only create the enabling conditions for a good design, but set in motion incentives and regulations to promote good construction and postconstruction practices.

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Built environment professionals including landscape architects, contractors, civil engineers, etc. Most importantly, each of us needs to know how to evaluate the "greenness" of a community in order influence future green developments. Collectively, through purchasing power, negative and positive feedback will help raise the bar on what is a green development.

I am utterly convinced the way forward is dependent on creating working models of "green" developments, from whole subdivisions to individual yards, in each county and neighborhood across the country. Do not underestimate the power of a local example. Nothing speaks more to increasing the uptake of alternative designs and management practices than examples that people can see and discuss. I have found building that first, local green subdivision helps to showcase green development practices and provide a catalyst for future developers to adopt new practices.

This book contains a host of strategies and case studies to create model conservation developments. The time is ripe for action; the current low in the housing market allows some breathing room to discuss and set in motion new ways for communities to grow. The leap towards a new path is not complicated, but it will take a concerted effort from a variety of folks. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Earthwork machines run over the root zones of conserved trees, effectively killing the trees Construction vehicles park or drive through natural areas, compacting the soil and even spreading invasive exotic plants Silt fences are improperly installed and managed, causing nutrients and sediments to choke nearby wetlands Chemicals and materials on site are improperly managed, changing soil chemistry and killing conserved vegetation.

Large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides applied on yards, causing the pollution of waterbodies and killing non-target species e. Homeowners remove native plant landscaping and replace with turfgrass and exotic plants Conserved areas are compromised by improper recreation activities, such as people riding ATVs throughout a designated conserved area.

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