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Why go native? Landscaping for biodiversity and sustainability education

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to illustrate that campus and urban landscaping has important connections to biodiversity conservation, perceptions of natural heritage, sense-of-place, ecological literacy and the role of campus landscapes in the larger community. It also aims to show how campus landscapes express values and perform as a teaching, research and outreach resource. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper was written as a literature review applied to a case study. Drawing on E.O. Wilson's idea that society must assign the same value to natural heritage as it does cultural heritage to successfully safeguard biodiversity for the long haul, the paper argues that by altering key elements of human landscapes in strategic places ‐ campus landscapes in this case ‐ to reflect a deep appreciation of natural heritage, we can help shift worldviews to foster real sustainability. It also raises a set of questions based on popular perceptions and some challenges based on the broad literature, then shows how the case study performed in addressing the questions and meeting the challenges. Findings ‐ Stetson University's project helped push the campus' nascent green movement beyond the remedial and reactive approaches too often seen in most regions to a proactive, holistic campaign. Practical implications ‐ The paper should inspire other campuses and organizations to proactively manage landscapes for natural heritage education, biodiversity conservation, and sustainability, just as the featured case study has done in its larger community. Originality/value ‐ In the world of campus sustainability, biodiversity often takes a backseat to energy use, resource consumption and waste management. The paper calls attention to this shortcoming and in so doing hopefully will encourage research and applied projects to address the biodiversity crisis and the role that universities play.

Keywords: Landscaping; Sustainable development; United States of America; Universities

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370710726661

Publication date: 2007-04-17

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