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VEGETATION AND

SITE PLANNING

PLANTS AND PEOPLE

The human race could


not exist without plants,
yet their importance is
persistently ignored by
government, their
officials, developers and
individuals when they
make decisions about

Plants are vital to human life because:

They provide oxygen we need to breath

They provide food we eat

They provide the habitats to support wildlife and


domesticated animals

They provide the soul from erosion

They control the rate at which rainwater is made


available to the soil and underground water supplies

They make soil fertile by providing humus and


returning nutrients to the soil and influencing soil
structure

They make the climate more moderate locally and


they also have major impact through the great
forest on world and regional climates

Plants are fragile living organisms and if


too many are removed it can lead some
areas to environmental catastrophies.

Until recently plants were given a low


priority by those involved in site
development. Now, it is at least partly
recognized that the conservation of plants
where possible, should apply on all sites.

Particularly in cities it has been regarded


as justifies to eradicate plants totally from
a site.

Only recent have site planners and


developers begun to understand that
plants are more than decorative elements
in cities for they have too often been seen
as useful in improving the visual quality of
the city. Now people are becoming aware
that plants have an even greater
influence over environmental health in
the city than they have over the visual
environment.

They perform many functions which


make life in the city more bearable. For
instance they modify:

Microclimate

Reduce glare

They create shade

They influence the movement of air through


the city and through its unbuilt areas

They remove dust particles and cleanse the


air of other impurities

And increase the possibility of privacy

In addition, through the wildlife they


support, plants provide signs of the link
between man and nature which, as the
Urban Wildlife movements of many
European countries attest, is seen as of
growing importance by city dwellers in
the developed countries. Perhaps
because in the modern industrial city
populations are furthest removed from
ultimate man or nature interface of
having to work the land for food, they
seem to be seeking to renew the link
with nature in a new way within the city.

PLANTS AND SITE


PLANNING

Site planner must collect very detailed


information about the plants that grown on and
around the projects area so that they can
understand the role that plats do and could
play in the site layout proposal.

The site planners has to understand the role of


plants in the environment:

That plants can never be neglected by any


site planner intent on producing an
environmentally sensitive layout.

That plants selection can never be arbitrary


because all plants are site specific in their
requirements for growth and survival.

There are sites where the use of plants is


inappropriate but, to be able to identify
where these are, the planner has to
understand how plants are used in a
wider areas than that covered by the
project and, therefore, must always look
beyond the immediate area of the site.

The decision to preserve existing plants or


to induce new ones should be arbitrary. It
should relate to the area in which the site
is located as well as to the character of
the project. The positioning of the planted
areas, the species used, whether the
plants are native or exotic, will be
determined by the site plan design. The

PLANTS ARE LIVING


THINGS

Within development projects plants


have rarely been understood as living
elements in the landscape.

Too often trees are regarded as


sculptures, which will survive
whatever happens around them. It
appears probable that this lack of
understanding of the trees, as a living
elements requiring certain conditions
for survival, is a reason for every high
death rate among newly planted trees
in recent development schemes .

Planting is often carried out in totally


unsustainable soils, wit no proper
preparation of the ground and with no
aftercare. Perhaps due to the increasing
public understanding of the natural
environment, the way site planners and
developers regarded plants to be
changing. Public and political attitudes,
however, need to change faster, if the
continued erosion of natural vegetation
and particularly decline in the number
of mature trees is to be halted.

PLANT COMMUNITIES

To those unfamiliar with plants is


often appears that plants grow
haphazardly. this impression of
randomness is emphasized in Britain
where, because of the mild climate,
plants from all over the world
flourish in parks and garden. In is
generally only when, as site
planners, we become concerned to
conserve nature and the integrity of
a landscape, or to keep the cost of
landscape maintenance to a
minimum that we realized the

Where it is the intention to conserve


nature or produce a naturalistic
landscape, it is necessary to work
with plant communities. Native
vegetation will support the greatest
range of native wildlife. It also has
the added advantage that if fits the
local landscape, it looks right-its
form(shape) is characteristic of local
landscape, its colours blend with the
local landscape, it is appropriate to
use the native species of plants.

In addition, native vegetation has


the advantage of being more
resistant than exotic species to the
plant growth problems associated
with local fungi, aphids and plant
disease. It is, therefore, sensible to
use it where possible to minimize
the long-term management cost
associated with the care of all
landscapes.

Major Factors influencing the


characteristics of plant community

In a small country like Britain there


are distinct vegetation changes in
different parts of the countryside.
These vegetation changes are
because plants only tolerant of a
certain range of conditions, some a
wide range others a narrow range.
Survival are determined by local
climate and soil and influenced by the
way in which people have tended the
land in the past and present.

Plant Communities are change by the


past and present actions of urban and
rural populations.

Woodland felled

Wetland drained

Agriculture has been mechanized

Artificial fertilizes used

Grazing regimes change

Towns built

Bogs drained

In order to produce natural-looking


landscapes and to conserve the local
wildlife, the site planner has to know:

the range of plants that are locally important and


to understand how they can be grouped together
in communities, to function as support for
different types of wildlife.

Needs to recognize the scarcity of natural and


semi-natural vegetation in various parts of the
world and to ensure that any areas worthy of
retention as a scarce resource occurring within
the project site are conserve.

Also need to consider the impact of development


within the project area on any adjacent or nearby
areas of rare vegetation or plant communities.

For these reasons a detailed survey


of plants immediately around the
site is required. This information also
gives the site planner who is working
on the plantless site an idea of
which plants might be appropriate in
relation to the local natural
environment.