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Frederick R.

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A Historical and Comparative Synthesis

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Ndubisi, Forster
Ecological planning : a historical and comparative synthesis / Forster Ndubisi ; foreword by
Frederick R. Steiner.
p. cm. (Center books on contemporary landscape design)
Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
ISBN --- (hardcover)
. Ecological landscape design. . Landscape assessment. . Landscape ecology. I. Title.
II. Series.
SB. .N

A catalog record for this book is available from the British Library.

F O R E WO R D, by Frederick R. Steiner ix
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S xiii

Human Actions and Natural Processes

Basic Concepts 4
The Nature of the Discourse 6


Evolution of a Paradigm
Awakening 10
The Formative Era 13
Consolidation 16

Development of Ecological Concepts 17

Techniques for Combining Spatial Information


Acceptance 22
Era of Diversity 28
Eciency and Accuracy of Information Management
Functioning of Landscapes 29
Culture in Ecological Planning 31



A P P R O A C H 34
The Landscape-Suitability Approaches 35
Landscape-Suitability Approach 37



The Gestalt Method 37

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Capability System 38
The Angus Hills, or Physiographic-Unit, Method 39
The Philip Lewis, or Resource-Pattern, Method 42
The McHarg, or University of Pennsylvania, Suitability Method
Other Methods 47



A P P R O A C H 53
Substantive and Procedural Themes
Ecological Concepts 54


Substantive Concepts in Landscape Suitability

Procedural Issues 57

Types of Landscape-Suitability Methods



Landscape-Unit and Landscape-Classication Methods 63

Landscape-Resource Survey and Assessment Methods 71
Allocation-Evaluation Methods 83
Strategic Suitability Methods 95


Alternative Approaches to Ecological Planning 102
Applied Human Ecology: Major Concerns 103
A Conceptual Foundation 105
Perspectives on Human-Environment Interactions 108
Cultural Adaptation 108
Place Constructs 112
Procedural Directives and Applications 114
Hazleton Human-Ecological-Planning Study 114
Kennett-Region Human-Ecological-Planning Study 116
McHargs Human-Ecological-Planning Method 117
New Jersey Pinelands Study 121
Human Ecology for Land-Use Planning 124
The Living Landscape: A Human-Ecology Bias 126

Selected Applications of Place Constructs


A Culture-Sensitive Model: The Burwash Native Canadian

Community-Design Study 126
Other Studies 130


Applied-Ecosystem Planning
Key Concepts 137



The Ecosystem Concept 137

General Systems Theory 138
Ecosystem Dynamics and Behavior 139
Ecosystem Response to Stress 140

Subgroups of Applied-Ecosystem Methods 142

Ecosystem-Land-Classication Methods 142
Variations of the Natural-History Classication
The Compartment-Flow Classication 144
The Energy-Flux Classication 145




Ecosystem-Evaluation Methods

Holistic-Ecosystem-Management Methods


A P P R O A C H 166
A Historical Summary 168
Landscape Ecology and Ecological Planning: Major Connections 171
Basic Concepts 173
Ecosystem Functions at the Landscape Scale 173
Ordering of Landscape-Ecology Knowledge 175
Bridging Concepts 177
Ecotope Assemblages 177
The Patch-Corridor-Matrix Spatial Framework 179
Hydrological Landscape Structure 181
Habitat Networks 182
Landscape-Ecology-Based Spatial Guidelines 183
Landscape-Ecological Planning: Procedural Directives and Applications
Selected Uses of Ecotope Assemblages 186
Uses of the Patch-Corridor-Matrix Spatial Frameworks 189
Uses of Habitat Networks 192
Landscape-Ecology-and-Optimization Method (LANDEP) 193



Index-Based Assessment Methods

Model-Based Methods 155



A N D L A N D S C A P E P E R C E P T I O N 197
A Brief History


Sources of Contemporary Landscape Values 199

Public Policy and Landscape Values 201
Studies of Landscape Perception and Assessment 202

Paradigms of Landscape Values and Perception

The Professional Paradigm 204
The Behavioral Paradigm 205
The Humanistic Paradigm 208
Selected Methods and Applications 208


Studies Based on the Professional Paradigm 209

Studies Based on the Behavioral Paradigm 211
Studies Based on the Psychophysical Model of the Behavioral
Paradigm 212
Studies Based on the Cognitive Model of the Behavioral
Paradigm 214
Studies Based on the Humanistic Paradigm 216


P L A N N I N G 220
Substantive and Procedural Theory in Ecological Planning
A Tentative Classication 221
Major Concerns 223
Organizing Principles 224




Human and Cultural Processes 226

Procedural Directives 228
Quantitative versus Qualitative Techniques
Outputs 232



N O T E S 241
I N D E X 281




Ecological planning, or at least its theoretical branch, has advanced rapidly in

North America. The time is propitious for a book on its history. Forster Ndubisi
provides a wonderful synthesis of that history, as well as a description of the current state of ecological planning, and sets the stage for future developments in the
eld. Landscape-ecological planning is a dynamic area that has emerged during
the past fty years in the ecotone between the disciplines of landscape architecture and planning, with particularly strong inuences from ecology, especially
landscape ecology, human ecology, and community ecology.
Ecological design involves using knowledge about how we interact with our environments to form objects and spaces with skill and artistry. Ecological planning is
the application of knowledge about places in decision making and particularly in
sustainable action. These are better terms for describing the creation of sustainable communities than environmental design and environmental planning because
whereas environment refers to our surroundings, ecology is concerned with relationships and interrelationships within a living landscape.
In general, environmental planning has gained wider acceptance in the United
States than ecological planning for at least three reasons. First, environmental design
and environmental planning are terms that have enjoyed much popularity within the
inuential California academic circles since the s. For example, the University
of CaliforniaBerkeley, the University of CaliforniaDavis, the California State
Polytechnic UniversityPomona, and the California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo have colleges or schools of environmental design, and California
Berkeley oers a Ph.D. in environmental planning. Second, the National Enviix


ronmental Policy Act of mandated the use of the environmental design arts
in federal decision making. As a result, the term environmental design became institutionalized within the federal bureaucracy. Third, the concepts of environmental design and environmental planning evolved from architecture and planning. The design disciplines have a long history in both intervention in and
manipulation of our surroundings, as well as the creation of places. Architects
give form to built urban environments. Planners suggest policy options for human
settlements. Environments have a strong visual connotation. Architects are comfortable with visual aesthetics.
Ecology, the understanding of interactions, is more unsettling, even subversive.
Ecological thinking is challenging. It forces us to rethink our view of economics
and business. It suggests dierent ways to plan and design. It also confronts our
values and religious beliefs, although all faiths address human connections to the
natural world and stewardship responsibilities for future generations.
In contrast to environmental design and planning, ecological design and planning developed in the United States within academic programs of landscape architecture. The discipline of landscape architecture originated in the mid-nineteenth
century in agricultural and horticulture colleges. These colleges were established
as a result of land-grant legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in .
This law, the Morrill-Wade Act, provided land grants to the states to establish public agricultural and technical colleges. A strong supporter of this system was the
pioneer landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who was involved in the planning of the campuses for several land-grant colleges. Subsequently, Olmsteds
sons, Frederick Jr. and John, subsequently carried on this tradition of campus planning, especially at growing land-grant schools.
A second development in landscape-architecture education was the establishment of a landscape-architecture program with close ties to architecture at Harvard University in . In contrast to the program in the land-grant colleges,
which emphasized agriculture and horticulture, Harvards program emphasized
design. Under the leadership of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and John Nolen, Harvard initiated a city-planning program in the early twentieth century. Many American universities followed Harvards example of closely aligning landscape architecture with architecture and planning. As a result, two traditions in landscape
architecture were established, one emphasizing rural concerns and natural resources, the other focusing on design and urban planning.
Ecological design and planning represents a fusion of those traditions. Ian
McHarg began a graduate program in landscape architecture and planning after
the Harvard model at the University of Pennsylvania in . Largely inuenced
by his intellectual mentor, Lewis Mumford, McHarg began advocating the use of
ecology as a basis for design in the early s. To accomplish his goal of merging
design with ecology, McHarg infused a faculty of designers with natural and
social scientists. To complement the design program, McHarg established a
regional-planning program with a strong Mumford-ecological orientation. Many



programs in landscape architecture and planning both in the United States and
abroad were inuenced by McHargs approach.
McHargs synthesis was inspired, but ecological planning remains an unnished, evolving eld. Much work is needed to advance theory and develop
methods. The quest to plan with nature is important. Sustainable development requires ecological planning. We need to do more than manipulate our surroundings; we must change how we interact with our environments, other living creatures, and one another. We cannot lay the foundation for a sustainable future
without an understanding of how we interact with our physical, biological, and
built environments. Such an understanding is also necessary if we are to go beyond sustainability and create regenerative communities.
Because ecological planning is both an unnished and an important discipline,
it is an exciting discipline for young people. With so much to do, a young person
entering the eld can make valuable contributions. Forster Ndubisi describes
where we have come from and our current status.
Forster Ndubisi is an ideal author for a book on the status of ecological planning. Like many engaged in advancing ecological planning, Professor Ndubisi is
both a theorist and a practitioner. More accurately, he is an academic practitioner
who selects real-life planning projects that will advance the eld. He has undertaken a series of research-oriented planning exercises, rst in Canada, then in
Georgia, and now in Washington State. Forster Ndubisi is a reective practitioner
who brings to each endeavor a knowledge of the past to advance the art and science of ecological planning. This book collects that knowledge and will help others to build on his careful and thoughtful understanding of the past and hope for
the future.
frederick r. steiner
Austin, Texas


I am very grateful to the many people who made signicant contributions to the
development of this manuscript. I would like to thank my former and current research assistants at both the University of Georgia and Washington State University: Kris Larson, Rajesh George, Nicole Alexander, Michelle Hanna, Courtney
Dunlap, and especially Devin Fitzpatrick. Matt Rapelje deserves special mention
for redrawing most of the illustrations.
Frederick R. Steiner, former professor and director of planning and landscape
architecture at Arizona State University and now dean, College of Architecture at
the University of Texas, Austin, persuaded me to work on the manuscript and reviewed earlier versions of the entire manuscript. I also beneted greatly from the
insightful reviews and criticisms of Bob Scarfo, professor of landscape architecture at Washington State University, and Frank Golley, emeritus research professor of ecology at the University of Georgia. I thank former colleagues at the
School of Environmental Design, The University of Georgia, for their valuable
comments: Darrel Morrison, Ian Firth, Catherine Howett, William Mann, and
Bruce Ferguson.
I owe particular thanks to Melody Matthews for her invaluable contribution in
getting this manuscript into shape. Others who deserve special credit are Ruby
Latham, Kristie Wardrop, and Cathy Greif. Many of my friends and current colleaguesfar more that I can name hereprovided help and advice in preparing
this manuscript: Sheila Vanvoorhis, Kerry Brooks, and Sonya Ala. I also thank
George F. Thompson, president of the Center for American Places, for his support
and encouragement and for reviewing very rough drafts of this manuscript.



Lastly, I am indebted to my family, especially my parents Dr. Bennett Ndubisi

and Mary Ndubisi for their encouragement and support, my daughter Danielle
for her patience, and my wife June for her review of earlier versions of this


A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends to do otherwise. a l d o l e o p o l d, 1 94 9

In the nineteenth century, visionary thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry
David Thoreau, John Muir, Frederick Law Olmsted, and George Perkins Marsh
alerted us to the eects of human abuses of the landscape. In the same tradition,
Aldo Leopold, the University of Wisconsin wildlife biologist, laid the ethical foundation governing the relationships between humans and nature in his seminal
work, A Sand County Almanac, rst published in . Yet, as we look around us today, we are disturbed that landscapes that serve as life-support systems for humans
and other organisms continue to be progressively degraded to accommodate our
daily needs for food, work, shelter, and recreation. This landscape degradation is
a global phenomenon (Fig. I.).
In the Club of Rome issued The Limits of Growth, a widely read book that
alerted us to the devastating impacts of the Wests exploitative economic and political systems on the landscape.1 This theme was explored in greater depth in
in Our Common Future, a report by the World Commission on Environment and
Development.2 This report concluded that the current mode of economic development is unsustainable and urged nations to seek ways to ensure global sustainability. In the Rio Declaration warned of the growing urgency of deal

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. I.. Critical erosion of unseeded fallow land in the Palouse area, Washington State. Photograph by V. Kaiser,

ing with environmental issues confronting human

societies and reemphasized the need to sustain the
planets life-supporting systems. Indeed, the
planets diverse and rich landscapes will satisfy the
needs and the present generation as well as those
of future generations only if we manage them
properly through ecological planning.
Put simply, ecological planning is a way of directing or managing changes in the landscape so
that human actions are in tune with natural processes. The concept of ecological planning is not
new in the United States. In the Massachusetts
Bay Colony passed the Great Ponds Act, which required landowners to maintain public access to
any body of water of ten acres or more for the purposes of shing or fowling. Even at that time
the idea of managing fragile natural and cultural
resources for human use and enjoyment existed.
Lewis and Clarks expeditions between and
up the Missouri River and beyond to Astoria

brought those vast and beautiful lands west of St.

Louis and the Mississippi River to the attention of
the federal government. Accordingly, questions
about how to settle the land may well have been
the rst ecological-planning issues addressed by
the U.S. government.3
Interest in ecological planning reemerged in the
mid-nineteenth century, when Thoreau, Olmsted,
Marsh, and others worried about the eects of human interactions with nature. However, not until
the second half of the twentieth century did ecological planning and design gain considerable momentum. This momentum resulted from a better
understanding of the myriad interactions between people and the landscape, increased activities
worldwide in the areas of environmental protection and resource management, and especially a
growing public awareness of the negative consequences of human actions on the natural and cultural landscapes.


The passage of the National Environmental

Policy Act (NEPA) in late made it national
policy to use ecological information in planning.
Similar legislation has been passed in other countries. Moreover, rapid advances in computer technology now permit the storage, analysis, and display
of large amounts of natural and cultural resource
data. Similar developments in remote sensing have
improved our ability to capture spatial information
more accurately. Globalization has enhanced communication about environmental issues worldwide.
Taken together, these developments have greatly increased the nature, scope, and complexity of issues
associated with ecological planning.
One consequence of this increased momentum
has been the proliferation of approaches for understanding and evaluating landscapes to ensure a
better t between human actions and natural
processes. Some of these are new approaches that
focus on the future, while others are merely old
approaches under dierent names or employing
updated tools and techniques. Nevertheless, the
approaches are employed at a variety of scales and
in a spectrum of urban to rural settings to protect
and restore both natural and man-made landscapes. To varying degrees, most of the approaches use ecological information when assessing the relative worth of locations within a
landscape. The worth of a location may be measured in terms of the need to protect an endangered animal species, to develop an area for residential or commercial use, or to conserve an area
for recreational use.
Not all approaches may be applied in every situation. For instance, methodological issues relative to the development of a conservation plan for
a disturbed landscape may be quite dierent from
those needed to develop a land-use plan for an urbanizing landscape. Carl Steinitz and others from
the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University articulated the issue more succinctly:
Eective land use planning will be the result of
precise analytic and predictive methods, and to

this end, we must have a clear understanding of

the current approaches to resource analysis.4
This book provides a common base for understanding the major approaches to ecological planning by examining ve main questions: () Which
ecological-planning approaches represent major
theoretical and methodological innovations, and
why? () How do they interpret the nature of the
dialogue between human and natural processes?
() What do the approaches have in common, and
how do they dier? () Can the approaches be
grouped or classied based on common themes?
() When and why should landscape architects and
planners lean toward one or more of the approaches in balancing ecological concerns with
human use?5
The vastness of this topic requires me to oer a
brief account. In doing so, I sacrice a wealth of
details, but I attempt to capture the essence of the
approaches. I focus most of my review on the development of the approaches within North America but acknowledge contributions from other
parts of the world. A concise historical account is
feasible if I concentrate only on ecological approaches that represent signicant theoretical and
methodological innovations. By this, I mean approaches that oer a perspective of the dialogue
between human and natural processes (peoples
changing values with regard to the land) and provide a body of consistent ideas, along with the data
and techniques required for putting the ideas into
practice. For each approach, I focus extensively on
the works by authors who provide the most coherent synthesis, but I discuss distinct subcategories whenever they exist. These subcategories
are most common in the landscape-suitability
and the landscape-perception-and-assessment approaches.
Using a historical perspective to discuss the approaches serves to illuminate how the primary
strategies toward land and resource planning have
evolved, who has been associated with this evolution, and what major social, economic, and politi-

Ecological Planning

cal events shaped the development of the approaches. This information provides a basis for
grouping the individual approaches based on common themes. Many of the approaches discussed in
this book were proposed just prior to and just after . Two signicant events made pivotal:
the publication of Ian McHargs important book
Design with Nature () and the passage of the
National Environmental Policy Act. In his book,
which has been translated into Italian, Japanese,
French, and German, McHarg, of the Department
of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
at the University of Pennsylvania, outlined a theoretical and technical basis for ecologically based
planning and design. NEPA made it national policy to use ecological information in planning.
Many other nations have since adopted similar
policies. A majority of the approaches to ecological planning were developed during or after this
period. Lastly, it should be noted that developments in the research domain do not necessarily
coincide with those in professional practice. Many
methodological innovations in professional practice are not documented. Thus, while I focus on
the development of these approaches in the literature, I draw on examples from practice to illustrate the type, scale, and context of application.

The landscape is the geographical template for undertaking ecological planning. It implies the totality of natural and cultural features on, over, and in
the land.6 The natural and cultural features that
make up a landscape include visible features such
as elds, hills, forests, and water bodies. These visible features reect the culture of the lands inhabitants. Landscapes change over time as humans mold natural processes, sometimes in tune
with the rhythms of natural processes, at other
times altering them. I use the term landscape to denote the interface between human and natural
processes (Fig. I.).

At the interface between people and their use,

and abuse, of the landscape is planning. In Retracking America: A Theory of Transactive Planning, John
Friedmann succinctly dened planning as an activity centrally concerned with linking technical and
scientic knowledge to action. Linking knowledge
and action provides options for making decisions
about alternative futures. Extending this into the
context of the landscape, decisions about alternative futures are ways of mediating between human
actions and natural processes. The more specic
focus of ecological planning deals with the wise
and sustained use of the landscape in accommodating human needs. By wise use I mean the best
use, all things considered. Implicit in the idea of
the best use of resources is permanence and stability; that is, the best use recognizes the need to accommodate human needs while protecting signicant natural and cultural resources. Fundamental
to ecological planning are the notions of permanence and stability as implied in the land ethic Aldo
Leopold advocated when he referred to the right
to continued existence of land resources. The sustained use of the landscape ensures that the ability
of future generations to meet their needs will not
be sacriced in accommodating present needs.
Alexander Pope tells us to consult the genius of
place, and Plato cautions, To command nature,
we must rst obey her.7 In short, we must understand the character of the landscape in terms of
both its natural processes and the reciprocal relationships between people and the landscape. The
critical concept is that of relationships. Of all the
natural and social sciences, ecology provides the
best understanding of the landscape since it deals
with the reciprocal relationship of all living
things to each other (including humans) and to
their biological and physical environments.8 The
inclusion of people is critical. Until the past few
decades, North American studies in ecology focused on environments that were unaected or
little aected by people. The results of such studies will remain inconclusive until they consider the


Image not available.

Fig. I.. Nijo Castle, Kyoto, Japan. The harmony between human and natural processes is reinforced in this Kyoto
landscape. Photograph by Matthew Rapelje, .

interactions between people and other living and

nonliving things.
Ecological planning is more than a tool or technique. It is a way of mediating the dialogue between human actions and natural processes based
on the knowledge of the reciprocal relationship
between people and the land. It is a view of the
world, a process, and a domain of professional
practice and research within the discipline of landscape architecture and, arguably, within the profession of planning. Ecological planning is also a
recognized activity of federal, state, and local governments in many parts of the world.
Although a form of intervention that traditionally has been applied at a scale that is larger than a
specic site, ecological planning can be applied at
a variety of spatial scales. In addition, it can be applied in a variety of landscapes, including urban,
suburban, and rural. Many writers describe ecological planning as landscape planning. I use the

two terms interchangeably since both focus on the

use of ecological knowledge in managing change
to the landscape. Ecological planning, however, reinforces the notion of relationships.
Landscape architects and planners engage in
one or more of the following activities when they
undertake ecological planning:
Understanding the nature of the interactions between human actions and natural processes
and dening the interactions in ways that make
them amenable to intervention (e.g., restoring a
degraded landscape). This understanding is informed by the way one views nature, accumulated experiences, and comprehension of the
specic situation.9
Understanding and describing the landscape in
terms of pattern, processes, and interactions at
many spatial scales to illuminate more specic
areas that are interdependent or homogenous in
one or more ways. Often, this understanding is
informed by ecological knowledge.

Ecological Planning

Analyzing the identied homogenous areas in light

of the purposes of intervention using a variety
of techniques.
Synthesizing the outcomes of the assessment in
terms of potential options for mediating the
identied conicts in the interactions between
human and natural processes. The options are
typically organized and presented in a graphic or
text format.
Undertaking a detailed evaluation of the options in
terms of their technical feasibility, their workability, their probable eect on dierent groups,
sustained use of the landscape, or their impact
on the landscape.
Developing measures for implementing the preferred option. Depending on the objectives of
the intervention, the preferred option may be
used as input in a larger study or as the sole basis
for intervention.10

In practice, these activities may not occur in the sequence presented here because of feedback from
some of the activities. Because each major ecological planning approach represents a body of
consistent ideas, data requirements, and techniques for putting the ideas into practice, they
dier in how they provide guidance to landscape
architects and planners as they move from activities through . For example, the McHarg, or University of Pennsylvania, suitability approach is
quite dierent from the approach suggested by
R. Forman and M. Godron in Landscape Ecology
(). Both are major ecological approaches, but
their methods dier. The soil-capability system of
the National Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS), formerly the Soil Conservation Service
(SCS), as well as the Angus Hillss physiographicunit classication, are two methods within the
landscape-suitability approach.
No single profession can understand fully all the
intricacies involved in making decisions about the
wise and sustained use of the land. Ecological
planning is a multidisciplinary eort, eectively
undertaken by a team made up of anthropologists, ecologists, foresters, botanists, geographers,

landscape architects, planners, wildlife biologists,

and soil scientists, among others. This does not
mean that the ecological planner plays a minor
role, for it is he or she who integrates and interprets information provided by the various disciplines and puts it in a form that facilitates decision
Management is another term that is used frequently in this book. I use it in a manner consistent
with Frederick Steiners The Living Landscape,
where it is dened as the judicious use of means
to accomplish a desired end.11 Steiner points out
that for practical purposes the management of resources may be a goal of ecological planning and
that conversely, planning may be a way for undertaking management. Design is giving form and arranging natural and cultural phenomena spatially
and temporally. Depending on the desired goal,
design may be an implicit or explicit feature of ecological planning.

The story I tell here is divided into four thematic
sections. Chapter , Ecological Planning in a Historical Perspective, is a short, systematic account
of the development of ecological planning from
the mid-eighteenth century to the present. This
account provides a background for understanding
the evolution of ecological-planning approaches. I
focus on the major eras in the development of the
discipline of ecological planning within the profession of landscape architecture while also illuminating parallel developments within the eld of
urban and regional planning. I emphasize the key
events and people associated with the translation
of ecological ideas into planning and the development of related techniques for putting the ideas
into practice. Since the appeal to peoples appreciation of the natural and cultural features of landscapes is an important area of study in landscape


architecture, it is included in the historical review.

Chapter ends with a review of contemporary
forces that inuence the ongoing development of
approaches for ecological planning.
The second thematic section, chapters and ,
deals with two types of landscape-suitability approach used to determine the tness of the landscape for a dened human use. Landscape-suitability approach (LSA) includes methods developed
prior to , especially between and , a
signicant era in the evolution of ecological-planning theory and methodology. Most LSA methods
relied on the natural features of the landscape to
estimate landscape suitability. The suitability analysis, presented in Ian McHargs Design with Nature,
is one of the most coherent syntheses of the LSA
Landscape-suitability approach (LSA) encompasses methods developed after . LSA methods represent renements of LSA methods in
terms of their substantive concepts, procedural
principles, and techniques for analyses. In addition, they emphasize seeking the best use of the
landscape in light of social, economic, political,
and ecological considerations. Moreover, they address specic technical aws inherent in the LSA
methods or extend their application to a wider
variety of ecological-planning problems, spatial
scales, and landscape types (urban, rural, and suburban).12 An example is the work of Narenda
Juneja, who, with Ian McHarg and others, utilized
the natural environment as a model for maintaining social values in developing a plan for the town
of Medford, New Jersey, in .
After the early s a urry of ecologicalplanning approaches emerged in an attempt to
rene the ideas and techniques contained in the
landscape-suitability approach or to oer contrasting positions. Other approaches were in the
developmental phase before McHargs book was
published. Convenient categories for organizing
and discussing the approaches are applied human

ecology, applied ecosystem, applied landscape ecology,

and landscape values and perception. These categories, which oers distinct ways of understanding and analyzing the landscape, are examined in
the third thematic section of this book.
The applied-human-ecology approach, examined in chapter , stresses cultural matters in ecological planning. It assumes that culture is the mediating factor in human-environment interactions.
Its primary concern is to seek the best t between
ecologically suitable and culturally desirable locations for the various uses of the landscape. Two
categories of approaches emphasize how the functioning of landscapes suggests options for managing change on and in the landscape. The applied-ecosystem approach, examined in chapter ,
explores how the landscape functions at the level of
the ecosystem, which is one of the levels at which
ecologists have studied the relationship between organisms and their environment. It seeks to understand the structure, function, and interactions of
human and natural systems in order to mediate between people and nature. The applied-landscapeecology approach, discussed in chapter , examines
how the landscape functions at the level of the landscape. Unlike the applied-ecosystem approach, it
emphasizes the relationship between spatial and
ecological processes and recognizes change as a fundamental landscape quality. In contrast, landscape
assessment, or as I refer to it in this book, assessment
of landscape values and perception, discussed in
chapter , examines the aesthetic experiences individuals and groups encounter in their interactions
with landscapes so that they may be included systematically in designing, planning, and managing
landscapes. Some specic methods do not t neatly
into these four categories. Indeed, ecological planning incorporates features of one or more approaches to address specic needs and problems.
The fourth thematic section of the book, chapter , oers a tentative classication of the approaches as a way to more systematically examine

Ecological Planning

how they are related and to explore their similarities and dierences. The examination is undertaken at the level of basic concepts and principles.
Even at that, the approaches and their variations
are so diverse as to make any meaningful comparison dicult. Thus, representative applications are
used to illustrate the theoretical intent, procedural
principles, and outputs of each approach. I then
speculate when and why one approach may be
preferred over others.

Finally, I argue in the epilogue that the diversity

that characterizes current ecological planning is a
reection of the complexity of ecological problems, which often requiring diverse and multiscale
modes of intervention. Developing sustainable solutions to ecological problems requires that these
diverse modes of intervention be lodged within an
explicit ethical framework that embraces both environmental and aesthetic values.

ecological planning
in a historical perspective

Ecological planning in the United States evolved as a part of landscape architecture in the mid-nineteenth century. In order to fully understand the various approaches to ecological planning, one must rst understand the history of the eld.
Every profession has a life cycle, and ecological planning is no dierent. The major phases of the development of ecological planning reect those identied in
Thomas Kuhns classic work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, rst published
in . Kuhn used the idea of a paradigm to assess the evolution of the scientic
community. A paradigm is a philosophical and theoretical framework within
which a professional community can formulate solutions to problems previously
deemed unsolvable. The acquisition of a paradigm is a sign of the communitys
Kuhn asserted that major changes in scientic thought occur periodically when
existing paradigms do not adequately explain anomalies. The changes initially
take the form of a new paradigm that provides another way of interpreting existing knowledge. Planners and landscape architects have used Kuhns idea of paradigm development to examine the evolution of their professions.1 In a similar
manner, I use it in exploring how ecological planning evolved. Like Kuhn, I refer
to the developmental phases of ecological planning as follows: awakening, formation, consolidation, acceptance, and diversity.2 These phases do not correspond
exactly with the phases that Kuhn suggested.3 However, his ideas are instructive
in explaining the progression from one phase to the next.

Ecological Planning

The period from the mid-nineteenth century to
the early twentieth century witnessed the initial
articulation of basic values and beliefs of ecological planning. According to Kuhn, this awakening
phase is usually marked by a continued competition between a number of distinct views of nature
. . . all roughly compatible.4 Prior to the midnineteenth century, visionary thinkers espousing
various ideas about humans and nature established the rudimentary foundations for ecological
planning.5 The most prominent among these
thinkers were George Catlin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau.
In the s George Catlin ( ), a lawyer,
artist, and, later, historian of Native American cultures, was deeply concerned about the inuence
of civilization on the lifestyles of Native Americans. Visiting the Far West to study the history and
customs of Native Americans there, Catlin was astonished by the beauty and elegance of the natural
landscape. He concluded that nature was the true
source of knowledge and advocated the creation
of nature preserves containing man and beast, in
the wild and freshness of their natures beauty!6
At about the same time that Catlin was traveling in the Far West, Ralph Waldo Emerson (
) began developing ideas for his book Nature,
published in . A pastor by profession, Emerson
had a passion for nature. He believed that the natural world revealed spiritual truth. He espoused an
anthropocentric view of nature, in which nature
existed for the sole use of humans. However,
Emersons philosophy was also opposed to destroying nature. Indeed, he regarded nature as a
source of spiritual healing for humankind.
Henry David Thoreau (), a writer and
neighbor of Emersons in Concord, Massachusetts, was deeply inuenced by Emersons ideas
and by his overwhelming passion for nature. A
Transcendentalist, Thoreau departed from Emersons anthropocentric view of nature. For him, na-

ture did not exist only for humans: No human

being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will
wantonly murder any creature which holds its life
by the same tenure that he does.7 By the midnineteenth century Thoreau had joined Catlin in
calling for the creation of nature preserves.
The works of these men inuenced the thinking of other social reformers during the awakening period, especially Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.
() and George Perkins Marsh (),
who were dismayed by the dehumanizing aspects
of city life and by the human abuses of the landscape. Emerson and Thoreaus view of nature as a
source of spiritual healing was a basic tenet in
Olmsteds philosophy regarding the restorative
eects of open space and trees on the human mind
and soul. Olmsted is credited with founding the
profession of landscape architecture (Fig. .).
In Olmsted developed a plan for Yosemite
Valley in California. For the previous seven years
he had been involved along with his partner,
Calvert Vaux (), in the design and development of New Yorks Central Park. The plan for
Yosemite Valley is still an outstanding example of
ecological planning. Olmsted proposed not only
a plan for developing the landscape of the valley
but also a national strategy for recognizing and
managing similar areas of natural beauty. He recognized that the physical plan would not sustain itself without a management strategy.
Another classic example of ecological planning
in the late nineteenth century is the plan Olmsted
developed for the Fens and the Riverway in
Boston, which was completed in .8 This plan,
continued by his protg Charles Eliot (),
resulted in the rst metropolitan park system
planned around hydrological and ecological features. The signicance of the plan is that it combined a concern for recreation, preservation of the
natural landscape, and management of water quality. A planned park that responded to similar concerns for protecting natural systems was H. W. S.
Clevelands () plan for the park systems

A Historical Perspective

Image not available.

Fig. .. Widely regarded as the founder of the profession of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted
Sr. espoused a philosophy that successfully blended
ecological, aesthetic, and social perspectives of ecological planning. Photograph courtesy of W. Mann.

of Minneapolis and St. Paul in . The plan reected Clevelands earlier call for an examination
of the intrinsic character of landscapes to accommodate human growth. In the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries the landscape architects
Ossian Cole Simonds ( ) and Jens Jensen
() continued the Olmstedian argument
for planning that emphasized harmony with the
laws of nature. Harmony would be best achieved,
they argued, by understanding, revealing, and preserving landscape forms and scenery reecting the
local and regional character.
Olmsteds ideas about landscapes were also
heavily inuenced by the naturalistic theme in the
English tradition of garden design, advocated in
the writings of William Gilpin (), Uvedale Price (), and Humphry Repton

(). This tradition was greatly bolstered in

the United States by the New York nurseryman
and landscape gardener Andrew Jackson Downing
().9 The writings of these men depicted nature as an embodiment of perfection that could
be observed from a vantage point somewhere outside of her inuence.10 Olmsted moved beyond
this tradition, for he viewed the landscape as a living entity, a reection of an ongoing, two-way dialogue between people and their physical region.
Nature, he argued, should be appreciated on a site.
Although Olmsteds primary interest was in
shaping the city for the benet of society, he
demonstrated that caring for human health and
enjoyment was synonymous with caring for the
landscape. In addition, he showed that landscapes
should be understood and analyzed from both an
ecological and an aesthetic perspective.
The call for planning with, rather than against,
nature was echoed by thinkers outside the emerging profession of landscape architecture who were
also inuenced by the writings of Catlin, Emerson, Thoreau, and others. In geography, George
Perkin Marshs classic, Man and Nature: or
Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action, put
forth a convincing argument for using nature to
mitigate extremes in human actions by understanding the impacts of people on nature rather
than those of nature on people. The eorts by humans to transform the natural landscape, Marsh
argued, should be accompanied by a sense of social responsibility.11 He also proposed a land ratio
for restoring forests that would strive to achieve a
balance between the two most broadly characterized distinctions of rural surfacewoodland
and plough.12
Shortly thereafter, John Wesley Powell (
), the renowned one-armed explorer and director of the U.S. Geographical and Geological
Survey of the Rocky Mountain region, drew extensively from Marshs ideas and formulated public policy for managing the arid lands of the western United States. He argued that the redemption

Ecological Planning

of these lands should be based on knowledge of

the character of the lands themselves.13 Ebenezar Howard (), an English proponent of
the garden-city concept, argued vehemently for
giving high priority to protecting agricultural land
for its productive value and its ability to serve as a
buer from nearby cities.14
The period from the s through the early
twentieth century was characterized by the increasing involvement of landscape architects in
large-scale planning activities, as well as the development of innovative techniques for analyzing
landscapes. Four important events are noteworthy.
First, John Muir (), a Scot by birth, publicized his ideas about the value of wilderness lands.
He cherished wilderness landscapes as he grew
up in central Wisconsin in the s. Swayed by
Thoreaus views about nature, Muir regarded
wilderness landscapes as places where Nature
may heal and cheer and give strength to body and
soul alike.15 He promoted the value of wilderness lands and became a powerful advocate for
protecting it, especially through his association
with the Sierra Club, which he founded in .
Second, the passage of the Act to Repeal
Timber Culture Laws accelerated the establishment of parks nationwide and provided landscape
architects the opportunity to demonstrate how an
understanding of the intrinsic features of the landscape could be utilized in planning and designing
large tracts of public land. A related act, the Forest
Management Act of , provided for the management of forest reserves to ensure timber production and enhance water ow. Landscape architects participated in the design of parks such as the
Yosemite National Park in , the Bronx River
Park in , and the Canyon National Park in
Third, Charles Eliot and his associates in the
oce of Olmsted, Olmsted, and Eliot developed
an innovative technique for understanding the
essence of landscapes using sun prints produced
in their oce window. This technique, known to-

day as the overlay technique, provides a way to systematically document and evaluate information to
be used in planning and design. In the Olmsted
oces Boston Metropolitan Park plan, Eliot used
a variety of consultants to survey, compile maps,
and evaluate the metropolitan regions geology,
topography, and vegetation. The maps became the
basis for the overlay process, which Eliot described
as follows:
By making use of sun-prints of recorded boundary
plans, by measuring compass lines along the numerous woodpaths, and by sketching the outlines
of swamps, clearings, ponds, hills, and valleys, extremely serviceable maps were soon produced.
The draughting of the several sheets was done in
our oce. Upon one sheet of tracing-cloth were
drawn the boundaries, the roads and paths, and the
lettering . . . ; on another sheet were drawn the
streams, ponds, swamps; and on a third the hill
shading was roughly indicated by pen and pencil.
Gray sun-prints obtained from the three sheets superimposed in the printing frame, when mounted
on cloth, served very well for all purposes of study.
Photo-lithographed in three colors, namely, black,
blue, and brown, the same sheets will serve as
guide maps for the use of the public and the illustration of reports. Equipped with these maps, we
have made good progress, as before remarked, in
familiarizing ourselves with the lay of the land.16

Although the overlay process described by Eliot

was rudimentary, it would later become one of the
most powerful techniques for systematically documenting and evaluating natural and cultural
Fourth, in the early twentieth century Giord
Pinchot (), the rst American to choose
forestry as a profession, in association with his
partner, William John (W. J.) McGee (),
articulated the conservation movement. He
postulated the human use of natural resources
forestry, wildlife, soils, streamsas an expression
of a single issue, the use of the earth for the good
of man.17 However, it was McGee who articulated the notion that conservation is the use of
the natural resources for the greatest good of the

A Historical Perspective

greatest number for the longest time.18 Thus, implicit in the notion of conservation is the multiple
and sustained uses of natural resources. Initially,
the conservation movement oundered because
of a vagueness of purpose, but it was reenergized
when it began to focus on soil conservation during
the era of the New Deal, beginning in the s.
By landscape architecture was well established as a profession whose practitioners dealt
projects ranging from small, site-specic ones to
plans for large tracts of land.19 In terms of largescale planning, a belief system for guiding the
management of the landscape was beginning to
emerge. The belief system was a loose aggregation of competing ideas proposed by many visionary thinkers. The key ideas in the belief system centered around an understanding of the
intrinsic character of the land from both ecological and aesthetic perspectives as a basis for assessing and guiding the wise use of the landscape for
human use and enjoyment.
I call it a belief system because it was based primarily on faith; its tenets were not yet founded on
rigorous proof. Moreover, there was very little
guidance on how to translate the ideas into practice. Techniques for implementing the ideas relied
primarily on trial and error and personal reconnaissance of the landscape in light of the issues being considered.20 Nevertheless, this belief system
was empirically validated in large-scale projects
that landscape architects and planners were involved in during the park movement of the early
to mid-twentieth century.

The formative stage of the eld of ecological planning was marked by a series of innovative and
rather successful attempts to plan open-space systems, state parks, and national parks, based on a
belief system. Beginning with the Yosemite State
Park in , the idea of state parks slowly developed until the s, when states such as Califor-

nia, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin began

developing state park systems. Legislative support
for developing national parks was strengthened by
the passage of the Weeks Forest Purchase Act in
and the National Park Act in . The Weeks
Act authorized both the purchase of lands for national forests east of the Mississippi River and the
protection of watersheds. The National Park Act
created the National Park Service and authorized
it to manage all National Park lands.21
Kuhn stated that when there is a belief system,
all the facts that could possibly pertain to the development of any given [professional community]
are likely to seem roughly relevant.22 The formative era was a period of experimentation in ecological planning: consolidating and rening ideas
in the belief system in numerous large-scale projects, sorting out which approaches were more useful than others, and developing and rening techniques for putting good ideas into practice.
Warren Manning (), a landscape architect who started his career working for Olmsted, rened the overlay technique developed by
Charles Eliot. Manning applied the technique in
his plan for the town of Billerica, located
twenty-two miles northwest of Boston. He prepared at least four dierent maps, each showing
one natural-resource element, such as soil or vegetation. Manning then placed the maps one over
the other to make analytic inferences, which he
presented through a fth map that displayed circulation and land-use patterns. All the maps and
plans were drawn to the same scale.
Although the overlay process was not mentioned explicitly, evidence for its use can be found
in numerous studies and projects undertaken between and .23 The most notable ones include the city plan for Dusseldorf, Germany; the
regional plan for Doncaster, England, prepared by
Patrick Abercrombie and Thomas Johnson; and
the landmark regional survey of New York that began in and was published in as The Survey of New York and Its Environs.24

Ecological Planning

Renements of the overlay technique allowed

landscape architects and planners to better explain
the interrelation between natural and cultural
phenomena and to show how they could be
combined to make analytic inferences. Numerous
questions remained unanswered, however, such as
what the eective basic unit for analyzing natural
and cultural information was, and why, and what
natural and cultural information should be identied and analyzed, and on what basis.
These questions were partially answered when,
in , the Scottish botanist and planner Patrick
Geddes () provided insights into what
constituted the unit for organizing and analyzing
information for large-scale planning activities. He
proposed a regional survey method based on the
idea that the complexities between human action
and the environment might best be understood in
terms of folk-work-place attributes: The types
of people, their kinds of styles of work, the whole
environment become represented in the community, and these react upon the individual, their activities, and their place itself.25
The inspiration for Patrick Geddess ideas came
directly from the works of the French regional
sociologist Auguste Comte () and the
French engineer and sociologist Frederick Le Play
(). From Comte, Geddes drew his interest
in the application of the scientic method to the
study of societies, and from Le Play, the fundamentals of his regional-survey approach. Le Play
argued that the well-being of the family was inuenced by the work it was engaged in, which in turn
was aected by the familys place of residence. Le
Play proposed a three-part framework for understanding a region: famille, travail, lieu, folk, work,
Geddess regional-survey method is impressive
for its emphasis on the relationship between place,
work, and folk rather than on any one of these individually. Indeed, the notion of relationship is the
central feature of ecological planning as we know
it today. Within Geddess model, surveys were

based on a systematic understanding of the relationship between the regional landscape, peoples
economic activities, and their cultures. Interestingly, the importance of folk-work-place attributes in understanding a region would become an
underlying principle in the theory of human ecological planning proposed by Ian McHarg fty
years later.
The concept of regionalism was promoted as a
form of cultural philosophy in the s and s
by the Regional Planning Association of America
(RPAA). Members of this small group included
Catherine Bauer, Benton MacKaye, Lewis Mumford, Clarence Stein, and Henry Wright. The
members of the RPAA saw the region as the primary building block of human culture and social
life.26 They viewed the region as a territorial
community distinguished by a common history,
common social institutions, and a shared view of
the relationship between humans and the environment. In addition, the RPAA promoted the
idea of wilderness areas advanced earlier by
George Perkins Marsh and John Muir as an important element of the regional mosaic. Despite
the interest in regionalism, what actually constitutes a region is a thorny issue that landscape architects, planners, geographers, and others continue to debate. Their debates revolve around such
issues as whether a region implies a drainage
basin, a watershed, a physiographic province, a
cultural entity, or a political unit.
Members of the RPAA argued forcefully for restricting the spread of the metropolis and the
growth of dinosaur cities, to the extent that
President Franklin Roosevelt made regional planning a major focus of his New Deal in the s.27
Others inuenced by this group include Howard
W. Odum and the New Deal economist Rexford
Tugwell, who guided the development of the
greenbelt communities during the Depression.28
Advances in ecology, or an understanding of the
interrelationships between organisms and their
living and nonliving environment, were already

A Historical Perspective

taking place in the biological and social sciences in

the early decades of the twentieth century. Up to
this point, I have mentioned ecology in only general terms. The science of ecology, as we know it
today, originated partly in Europe. It was not until
that Ernst Haeckel coined the term ecology, although observations on ecological relationships
had been made much earlier.
Ecologists have studied the relationships that
bind organisms and their environment at many organizational levels: the organism, the population,
the community, the ecosystem, the landscape, the
biome, the biogeographic region, and the biosphere.29 As P. A. Quinby observed, The knowledge of laws of a lower level is necessary for a full
understanding of the higher level.30 Major advances in ecology seem to have occurred once the
laws of a lower organizational level were fully understood. In the early twentieth century most of
the developments in ecology focused on the population and community levels. A population is
made up of organisms interacting with their physical and biological environment and a community
is made up of populations of organisms interacting in a common space. Changes in energy resulting from interactions between animal and plant
populations were the focus of most studies conducted at the population level. For example, in
Alfred James Lotka (), a physical
chemist by training, demonstrated that the organic and inorganic worlds worked together as a
single system, with the components linked in such
a way that it was impossible to understand one
part without understanding the whole. He subsequently related the energy changes within populations in a mathematical theory.
Likewise, Vito Volterra () in used
mathematical equations to demonstrate how different populations interact.31 These mathematical
equations led to advancements in the theory and
methodology of population ecology. The development of multivariate statistical methods of
vegetation ordination and classication permitted

samples of plant communities to be linked quantitatively to the characteristics of their physical

and biological environment.
At the community level, the Dutch botanist Eugenius Warming (), a founder of the science of plant ecology, rst described the concept
of ecological succession in . Ecological succession is a dynamic process involving changes in both
organisms and their physical environment. Inuenced by Warming, Frederick Clements (
), Henry Chandler Cowles (), and
Herbert Gleason () studied plant communities in the early twentieth century and provided invaluable insights into how changes occurred in the landscape.32 Their work showed that
the landscape is a dynamic entity with a life history of its own. Plant communities go through a
process of growth and development that parallels
that of an individual organism, striving to reach a
climax stage.
Much of the landscape architect Jens Jensens
thinking about the use of native plants was inuenced by his close association with the University
of Chicago botanist Henry Cowles. Subsequently,
Jensons association with the landscape architect
Ossian Cole Simonds led to a development of the
prairie style of landscape design. The prairie style
embraced the aesthetic and functional values of
native plant materials in designing forms that reected the local and regional character of landscapes in the Midwest.
The preservation of native plants and natural
areas was promoted further by the landscape architect Stanley White, in the animal ecologist Victor Shelfords Naturalists Guide to the Americas
(), by the plant ecologist Edith Roberts, by
the landscape architect Elsa Rehmanns American
Plants for American Gardens (), and in various
books written by Frank Waugh, a professor of
landscape architecture at the Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst (now the University of
Massachusetts).33 Even though these landscape architects focused on landscape design, they rein-

Ecological Planning

forced the need to understand the landscape in

terms of ecological function and aesthetics. Not
surprisingly, this is still one of the major means by
which landscape architects and planners understand the landscape today.
Gleaned from the writings of these landscape
architects is their promotion of a form of empiricism, or pragmatism, in understanding the landscape. Pragmatism is learning by doing.34 The
essence of pragmatism is the discovery of identity
through inquiry. Olmsted and his followers, including Jensen, emphasized pragmatism as one
way to understand the inherent identity of a site.
Frank Waugh called for careful and detailed observations of a site that would go beyond an objective understanding to include an emotional
attachment to the site. Geddes articulated the notion of pragmatism in his regional method when
he suggested that in conducting a regional appraisal of an area, planners and the general public
should walk every mile in a region in order to absorb the concrete realities of regional life.35 Subsequently, pragmatism as a way of knowing and
understanding landscapes took many forms, one
being the holistic, or gestalt, method of ecological
planning. Gestalt analysis involves understanding
the landscape as a whole through eld observations rather than examining the individual components, such as topography, soils, and vegetation.
Although the evolution of ecological planning
at this time was still fragmented, the components
of what would later become a paradigm for ecological planning were apparent. By the late s
the notion of utilizing an understanding of the intrinsic character of the landscape, from both an ecological and an aesthetic perspective, had been put
to the test in many large-scale planning endeavors,
including the planning of parkways and state
parks. For example, the ideas of Olmsted and
Howard for utilizing natural principles were expounded upon and applied in the design of
planned residential communities such as Earle
Drapers plan for Chicopee, Georgia (), and

Henry Wright and Clarence Steins plan for Radburn, New Jersey (). In addition, ecological
principles were constantly being rened, especially in the area of energy transformations in populations and in the development and evolution of
landscapes. The regional scale was promoted and
used as a basis for conducting landscape surveys.
The overlay technique for analyzing natural and
cultural data was tested in a variety of projects;
however, integrating ecological ideas into planning was still rudimentary.
Another feature of the latter phase of the formative era in ecological planning was a shift in emphasis from the need to understand the intrinsic character of the landscape to how the understanding
might be better applied with rigor and consistency
in guiding human use of the landscape. When consistency is lacking, dierent outcomes may be
reached using the same information. Kuhn pointed
out that an early, pre-paradigm phase can be distinguished readily by insuciency of methodological
directives to dictate unique substantive conclusions to the many questions confronting a professional community.36 Explicit methodological rules
governing ecological-planning eorts had yet to be

The developments that eventually led to a recognizable paradigm for ecological planning were: ()
the continued evolution of ecological ideas; () the
translation of ecological ideas into planning and
the articulation of ethical principles governing humans relation to the land; and () the renement
of techniques for applying ecological ideas to
planning eorts. These developments were in part
shaped by social events that occurred in the United
States between the s and s.
The beginning of the consolidation era was
marked by economic, social, and environmental
upheaval associated with the Great Depression.
President Franklin Roosevelt initiated the New

A Historical Perspective

Deal to address the problems associated with the

Depression. Within two months of the beginning
of his presidency the Congress passed two important acts in the history of American conservation,
one creating the Civilian Conservation Corps
(CCC), the other establishing the Tennessee Valley
Authority (TVA). The CCC provided work for
young men to revitalize local economies. Its activities were varied and included the construction of
roads, communication lines, and recreational areas; one of its most visible activities was naturalresource conservation.
The larger conservation movement had already
gathered steam when the federal government, in
the late nineteenth century, initiated eorts to
achieve a sustainable balance between accommodating the needs of people and protecting signicant natural and cultural resources. In fact, one
can claim that ecological planning is synonymous
with conservation, at least philosophically. During
the New Deal, however, the focus of conservation
eorts shifted with the emergence of public concern for soil conservation.
Hugh Hammond Bennett, the son of a North
Carolina farmer, was the rst to recognize that it
would be a national disaster to allow the agricultural value of older regions to be destroyed. In
he joined the Bureau of Soils, within the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, and in he was appointed soil survey inspector of the southern and
eastern divisions. Bennetts rst crusade for soil
conservation was not entirely successful. Largely
through his eorts, however, the federal government initiated a program of erosion research in
the late s.
In the early s, soil erosion received national
attention when dust storms darkened the skies
across half of the United States. Bennetts eorts
were rewarded in , when the CCC made soil
conservation one of its major activities. In the
Soil Conservation Service (SCS) was established as
a permanent agency under the Soil Conservation
Act and Bennett was named its rst director. One

important contribution of the SCS to ecological

planning was the development of maps showing
the intrinsic ability of the soil to support one type
of agricultural use rather than another.
The TVA was the most comprehensive of the
river-basin development schemes initiated by the
Roosevelt administration. Others included the Connecticut River Watershed, the Colorado River Basin
Compact, and the Columbia Basin Study. Established in , the TVA mandated river-basin planning for an area that covered approximately ,
square miles in seven southeastern states. The
mandate included ood control, rural electrication, and the development of navigation in some
of the depressed areas in the South. Initially, the activities of the TVA oundered because the limits
of its legislative authority were not well dened.
Despite the initial inertia, however, the TVA
soon proved to be a powerful instrument for maintaining the existing economic relations and dispersing urban-rural industrial development. It also
signied a recognition by the federal government
of the need for the continued multiple use of social, natural, cultural, and economic resources. In
addition, the TVA demonstrated the eectiveness
of using a river basin as a unit for landscape planning. Moreover, in the economic depression of the
s, public agencies such as the TVA were the
primary source of employment not only for landscape architects and planners but also for laborers.
Such opportunities not only increased the professions visibility but also illuminated the landscape
architects capabilities in large-scale planning-anddesign endeavors, such as parks, recreation areas,
and open spaces. The New Deal era made clear the
interdependency of ecological, social, and economic factors, as well as the role landscape architects and planners could play in large-scale land

Development of Ecological Concepts

The consolidation era witnessed the development
of many ecological principles that permitted a bet-

Ecological Planning

ter understanding of how animal and plant communities interact with their physical environment.
In Arthur Tansley (), an English botanist, coined the term ecosystem to describe the
biological and physical, or biophysical, features
of the environment considered as a whole. The
ecosystem, in turn, was part of the hierarchy of
physical systems ranging from the universe to the
atom. The key idea in the ecosystem concept was
the progression of natural systems toward equilibrium, which, as Tansley acknowledged, was
never completely attained.37
Following Tansleys lead, scientists investigated
the various interactions between the biological
and physical environment, such as the energy
transactions between organisms and their environment. The prominent ecologist Eugene Odum,
of the University of Georgias School of Ecology,
contributed immensely to the eld of systems
ecology from the late s to the s. In
Thieneman described trophic levels, or feeding
relationships, between producers (self-nourishing
organisms, such as green plants) and consumers
(other-nourishing organisms, such as animals, including humans). But the rst person to quantitatively examine Tansleys ecosystem concept was
Raymond Lindeman, in , through his studies
on Cedar Bog Lake in Minnesota.38 He attempted
to describe and understand the behavior of ecosystems. Lindemans work was the catalyst for subsequent work in ecological studies.
The ow of nutrients between the biological
and physical environments was another important
feature of ecosystems. In his well-known book
Biosphere, rst published in , the Russian scientist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky showed that
chemical elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus ow back and forth between organisms and
their physical environment. His subsequent work
focused on the geochemistry of the biosphere.
Based on Vernadskys work on aquatic ecosystems
in the s and s, G. E. Hutchinson (whom
Raymond Lindeman worked for before his sudden

and untimely death in ) demonstrated that this

ow of chemical elements was cyclical. But it was
not until the s that similar studies on nutrient
cycling in terrestrial (land) ecosystems were successfully carried out by researchers at the Hubbard
Brook Experiment Forest in northern New
Hampshire. One reason for the delay was that it
was easier to use a lake-land interface as a boundary in studies of aquatic ecosystems.39 Additionally,
World War II and then the postwar reconstruction
interrupted ecological studies in the United States
as well as in most of Europe and Japan.
By the end of the s, however, ecosystem
studies ourished in the United States, becoming
institutionalized in the International Biological
Program (IBP). The studies made use of information theory as well as computers and modeling.
They also embraced the notion of holism, an idea
introduced by John Christian Smuts ( )
in the book Holism and Evolution. Holism is
based on the idea that a self-organized and selfregulated order larger than human societies exists.
Put simply, matter, mind, and life are synthesized
in a creative manner to form a whole that is greater
than the sum of its parts. However, it was the
South African ecologist John Phillips who introduced the notion of holism into ecosystem studies. The cultural consequences of such an integration were profound. As Frank Golley, of the
University of Georgias School of Ecology, put it,
It provided the individual faced with the complications and diculties of everyday life the notion
that somewhere out there, there was ultimate order, balance, equilibrium, and a rational and logical system of relations.40
Ecosystem studies held out the promise for
managing the landscape in a philosophical and
conceptual way. Their concern was with understanding the world in terms of the interrelationships between things. The studies were also focused on how landscapes were structured and how
they functioned. By implication, the eects of human actions on the landscape could be predicted.

A Historical Perspective

In Benton MacKaye, a champion of the

primeval landscape, published The New Exploration, which articulated the objectives of regional
planning and the specic tasks of a regional planner. MacKaye asserted that planners have a responsibility to understand a place or the landscape
by revealing both its physical and its human aspects: Here we have the function of every sort of
planner: it is primarily to uncover, reveal, visualizenot only his own ideas but natures; not
merely to formulate the desires of man, but to reveal the limits thereto imposed by a greater power.
Thus in the end, planning is two things: ) an accurate formulation of our own desires, the specic
knowledge of what we want; and ) an accurate
revelation of the limits, and the opportunities, imposed and bequeathed to us by nature.41
MacKaye advocated an approach to planning
grounded in human ecology. He urged understanding the landscape in its totality, in terms not
only of its physical and natural attributes and processes but also of the cultural values, processes,
and meanings attached to the landscape. He later
explicitly linked regional planning to ecology, in
particular to human ecology: The region is the
unit of environment. Planning is the charting of
activity therein aecting the good of the human
organism; its object is the application or putting
into practice the optimum relation between humans and the region. Regional planning, in short,
is applied human ecology.42
To accomplish the tasks of planning that MacKaye proposed, we would have to assume that a
set of moral principles governed human relations
to the land. This was not the case, however. Ethical thoughts and behavior were based on individual relations to other individuals. Even when visionary thinkers such as Olmsted and Marsh called
for an understanding of nature as a basis for planning, peoples relations to the land were still
governed chiey by economic self-interest. They
therefore entailed exchange and privileges, not
moral obligations or responsibilities. There was an

urgent need for new forms of ethical thought and

behavior that would extend human ethics to the
natural environment.
This new ethic was rst articulated in a series
of essays written from the s to the late s by
Aldo Leopold, a wildlife biologist and forester who
was also involved with the SCS in watershed planning. One underlying theme in his writings was
that there were right and wrong ways of behaving
toward the land. To ensure the healthy functioning of land, Leopold argued persuasively for an
ethic that extended the boundaries of the biotic
community, of which people were an integral
part, to include soils, water, plants, and animals,
or collectively: the land. He regarded land as all
things on, over, or in the earth.43 In this inclusive
view of an interdependent relationship between
people and land, people were the responsible and
caring members of the biotic community whose
survival depended on the other members of the
community. Important, but often forgotten, are
Leopolds pleas for aesthetics in ethics.
Following the tradition of Marsh, Geddes,
Jensen, and MacKaye, emerging leaders in the area
of ecological planning and ecology continued to
explore how ecological principles could serve as
the basis for guiding human actions in the landscape. The contributions were numerous, so I
mention only a few. A famed member of the
Chicago School of Urban Studies, Roderick McKenzie, did much of the empirical work that linked the
biological and physical sciences to the social sciences. His work provided the empirical base for
ideas in the then emerging eld of human ecology.
For example, in his popular book The Rise of Metropolitan Communities McKenzie examined Americas transition from a rural-agrarian society to an
urban-industrial one and explored the planning
implications of that transition.44
In many books Lewis Mumford ( ), a
philosopher, social historian, and cultural critic,
and mentor of Ian McHarg, explored how human processes were interwoven with natural

Ecological Planning

processes in the city and its environs. He oered

a denition of planning, revisited the issue of
what constituted a region, and prescribed an approach for understanding and analyzing regional
landscapes. Mumford criticized much of the planning undertaken before his time for evading the
realities of life and avoiding the responsibilities
for action. Drawing upon Patrick Geddess threepart framework for understanding a region in
terms of folk-work-place, Mumford proposed
that planning involved the coordination of human activities in time and space based on known
facts about place, work, and people. Consequently,
genuine planning was an attempt to clarify and
to grasp rmly all the elements necessary to
bring the geographical and economic facts in harmony with human purposes.45
For Mumford, the unit for planning was the region, which had three special qualities: () the geographical character, a dynamic interplay of soil,
climate, vegetation, agriculture, and technical exploitation; () a state of harmony among its components; and () uid physical boundaries. Indeed,
the state of harmony might be viewed as an expression of stability in ecological systems. When
any large alteration is made in one section of the
environment, stated Mumford, corresponding
or compensating changes must be made, as a rule,
in every other part. Moreover, once human communities were considered part of a region, the
boundaries of the region could not be dened precisely. Instead, the region became more a system
of inter-relationships that overow and become
shadowy at the margins.46
Mumford expanded Geddess regional-survey
method and prescribed an approach to planning
that involved four distinctive activities: () a survey
to obtain a visual, multidimensional historical image of the region; () an outline of regional needs
and activities expressed in terms of social ideas and
purposes, as well as a critical formulation and revision of current values; () formulation of a new
picture of regional life based on imaginative re-

construction and projection; and () an intelligent

absorption of the plan by the community and its
translation into actions through the appropriate
political and economic agencies.47 Even though
Mumford rarely used the term ecology, his works
dealt extensively with ecological planning in the
city and its environs.
Mumfords idea of understanding regions in
terms of their history derives directly from Geddess notion of absorbing the concrete realities of
regional life in a survey and indirectly from John
Deweys philosophy of learning by doing. According to Dewey, who was regarded as the dean
of American philosophers, all valid knowledge
comes from experience, by which he meant the
interaction between human subjects and their
material environment. Through experience, we
come not only to understand the world but also to
transform it.48
One person who deserves more credit for his
contributions to ecological planning is Edward
Graham. Graham, who was trained as a botanist
and had a distinguished career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, proposed a method for
integrating ecological principles in planning for
various rural uses. In addition, he demonstrated
that there was a clear relationship between ecological planning and the public interest.49 Furthering this relationship, the biologist William Vogt
proposed a biotic equation for achieving ecological health, which he viewed as a function of biological potential and environmental resistance.
Vogt was primarily concerned with the serious depletion of resource capital.50
The primary reason for this depletion, he
wrote, was peoples failure to see themselves as
part of their environment. Vogt argued that it was
necessary to understand the interrelationships between the components of the biosphere (including humans) and the impact each component had
on the others. He recommended developing an
ecological bookkeeping of national carrying capacities and extrapolations of demographic trends.

A Historical Perspective

For him, living within a landscapes carrying capacity represented ecological health. Carrying capacity would became an important concept used
by landscape architects and planners in resolving
people-nature conicts. In addition, Vogt reinforced Aldo Leopolds reverence for life, a reverence that was also implicit in the writings of
Thoreau and Emerson.
That an understanding of culture is necessary
for an understanding of ecological relationships
was the primary theme in Paul Searss work, a
theme he articulated in The Ecology of Man.51 Sears
was a distinguished botanist who started the rst
U.S. graduate program in the conservation of natural resources at Yale University in . For Sears,
culture was a function of resources and population. He showed how peoples use of the biosphere is related to their values and attitudes.
In various ways, McKenzie, Mumford, Dewey,
Graham, Vogt, and Sears explored how knowledge of the interactions between humans and the
environment could be used to guide social action.
At the same time, they realized that humans have
characteristics that distinguish them from the
other organisms that constitute the biotic community. Eugene Odum provided a succinct summary of the nature of these characteristics in his
important book Fundamentals of Ecology in :
The study of general ecology can contribute to the
social sciences through the connecting link of human ecology. . . . However, we must go beyond the
principles of general ecology because human society has several important characteristics which
make the human population unit quantitatively, if
not qualitatively, dierent from all other populations. In the rst place, mans exible behavior and
his ability to control his surroundings are greater
than those of other organisms. In the second place,
man develops culture which, except to a very rudimentary extent, is not a factor in any other

Odums work introduced and popularized the

concept of the ecosystem as the organizing theme
for future ecological studies and for linking ecol-

ogy to advances in physics and chemistry. The

popularization was facilitated by the translation of
his Fundamentals of Ecology into many languages.

Techniques for Combining Spatial Information

In the United States, the overlay technique for analyzing spatial data continued to be rened, largely
through the land-capability studies undertaken by
the SCS (now the NRCS), although the term overlay was not mentioned explicitly. In England, in
The County of London Plan, published by the London County Council in the overlay process
was used to combine dierent factor maps, all
drawn to the same scale, in hopes of identifying
the decient supply of open spaces. By the s,
planners in the United States and in Europe were
using transparent overlays for land analysis technique and for presenting planning information.
Jacqueline Tyrwhitt, a town planner of international renown and an amateur botanist, provided
the rst explicit description of the overlay technique in the APRR publication Town and
Country Planning.53 She explained how a map
showing one general feature served as a reference
guide for preparing other factor maps drawn to the
same scale. As an example, she demonstrated how
a map showing land characteristics was created by
using transparent paper to combine four factor
maps showing relief, rock types, hydrology, and
soil drainage. In the same book, Jack Whittle described the limitations of using maps to illustrate
complex data and discussed two techniques for
handling planning data.54 The overlay technique
would be a standard feature of many ecologicalplanning methods proposed in the s.
If a paradigm represents a body of consistent
ideas, theories, data requirements, and techniques
for putting ideas into practice, then a recognizable
paradigm for ecological planning was beginning
to emerge by the s. The foundation for extending human ethics into the natural environment had been articulated. Landscape architects
and planners increasingly sought to employ eco-

Ecological Planning

logical ideas in planning, although the language of

ecology was not explicitly used. Ecological ideas
continued to be developed and were applied in
numerous large-scale public planning eorts. For
example, drainage basins were used to establish
boundaries for large areas. The notions of multiple use, sustained yield, and carrying capacity
were employed as planning and management
principles. Also, techniques that helped to integrate ecological ideas into planning, such as transparent overlays, continue to be rened, especially
through the eorts of the NRCS in the United
While most of the ingredients for establishing a
paradigm were suciently developed, a coherence among the ingredients was still lacking.
When the components of a paradigm do not cohere, the outcome usually is a proliferation of
competing methods. This was evident during the
consolidation era. The competition among the
methods continues until one or more of the methods prove to be better than the others. In Kuhns
words, To be accepted as a paradigm, a theory [or
method] must seem better than its competitors.55
After World War II the United States became a
major manufacturer of consumer goods, most of
which depended largely on a steady supply of
natural material and energy resources. The rapid
increase in population and the accompanying increase in production placed unprecedented demands on the land. Air pollution and the contamination of water sources were two consequences
of the rapid growth. A third consequence was a
growing public recognition of landscape abuse.
The seemingly uncontrolled abuse of the landscape raised serious concerns about the possibility
of planning for the wise and sustained use of the
landscape. What had happened to the call for a
land ethic, for planning with nature?
The search for answers coincided with an international conference in sponsored by the
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological
Research in New Jersey. The conference ndings

were published under the title Mans Role in Changing the Face of the Earth in .56 One important
outcome of the conference was a renewed commitment to increasing public awareness about the
consequences of landscape abuse and to developing techniques and management strategies for
eectively dealing with land, water, and air degradation.

The acceptance era might be considered the period
of paradigm consensus, to use Thomas Kuhns
term, in the life cycle of ecological planning, the period when all the ingredients of an acceptable paradigmthe ethical foundation, working theories
and concepts, techniques, and ideas for putting theory into practicewere woven together in a coherent fashion. The beginning of this era coincided
with many social and political upheavals that took
place in the United States during the s.57 For
the rst time, Americans publicly questioned the
values that had propelled the United States to
become an industrial and technological society.
Protests against a growing technological culture
bolstered the emerging environmental crusade in
a way that brought ecology and environmental
ethics to the forefront of public attention.
In Rachel Carson () published her
enormously inuential and popular book Silent
Spring, which has since been published in many
languages. Carson alerted readers to the widespread injury caused by the unwise use of pesticides and urged that alternative means of pest control be found. Many people regard the publication
of Silent Spring as the beginning of the environmental crusade. Prominent scholars outside of
landscape architecture and the planning professions also wrote about abuses of the environmental, including the misuse of technology,58 overpopulation,59 the degradation of landscapes,60 the
failure to wisely manage the worlds nite resources,61 and visual degradation.62

A Historical Perspective

As public consciousness of environmental degradation rose, there were signicant eorts to nding way to mitigate human abuses of the landscape. Beginning in , the U.S. Congress passed
many pieces of environmental legislation aimed at
stopping the physical and visual degradation of
landscapes and enhancing their environmental
quality. The Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act
of mandated the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to
manage national forests for multiple uses. The
uses included outdoor recreation, wildlife and sh
conservation, as well as protection and conservation of rangeland, timber, and watersheds. The act
emphasized the protection of biological diversity,
encouraged the sustained yield of forest ecosystems, and mandated comprehensive long-range
planning. Moreover, it prompted many landmanagement experts in the USFS to experiment
with the various interpretations of the notion of
multiple use.
Two primary interpretations of the notion of
multiple use emerged. Applied to a particular
tract of land, multiple use refers to the management of various resources on that piece of land.
Applied to resources, it refers to utilization and
management of a particular resource for varied
uses.63 The rst interpretation suggests developing a framework for assessing the physical, economic, and social resources in order to make informed land-management decisions. The second
interpretation suggests discovering interrelationships among various resources to determine resource capabilities. Although the desirability of
multiple use was widely accepted, agreement was
lacking on how it should be accomplished. Nevertheless, the approaches developed by the USFS for
managing the multiple use of the landscape inuenced the evolution of methods prescribed later
by landscape architects and planners for mitigating human abuses of the landscape.
The Land and Water Conservation Act of
provided additional support for the protection of
recreational landscapes. Among other things, it

provided federal funds for states to develop statewide comprehensive outdoor plans. Other acts
passed by Congress to protect recreational landscapes include the Wild and Scenic River Act and
the Recreational and Scenic Trails Act of .
Expanding the federal governments role in resource planning, on and May , President
Lyndon B. Johnson convened a White House Conference on Natural Beauty. While the conference
addressed numerous issues, such as scenic roads
and parkways, townscape, and land reclamation,
the overriding emphasis was on aesthetics in
human-made landscapes rather than on natural
landscapes. The proceedings of the conference illuminated the serious threats to natural beauty resulting from increased pressures for space to live,
work, and play. One conclusion was that although
beauty was dicult to measure, the opportunity for
people to be in contact with beauty was essential
to the preservation of human welfare and dignity.
The conservation of the quality of landscapes
need not be concerned solely with protection and
development of natural landscapes; it should also
be concerned with the restoration and innovation
of human-made landscapes.64 An example of such
an eort to restore human-dominated landscapes
is the Highway Beautication Act of . The act
may be viewed as a way to restore the visual quality of ordinary landscapes. The acts results were
mixed, however, as some states failed to take the
necessary actions to ensure successful implementation.
The rst major federal legislation for protecting
environmental quality was the Water Control Act
of , which created signicant grants to enable
states to build or improve water-treatment facilities and established a Federal Water Control Advisory Board.65 After these initial attempts to address concerns about visual and water quality,
however, it was twenty-one years before the next
landmark environmental legislation was passed by
Congress in November and signed by President Richard M. Nixon on January .

Ecological Planning

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),

was the rst comprehensive legislation to specically address the environmental costs of land-use decisions made by federal agencies.66 NEPA required
all federal agencies to undertake environmentalimpact assessments for all federal actions that might
signicantly aect the environment. The act also
required federal agencies to incorporate unquantied amenities and visual values into environmental land-use decision making. NEPA challenged the
agencies to develop methods and procedures for
meeting its requirements. A new agency, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was created to implement NEPA. In addition, NEPA created the Council on Environmental Quality to advise the president on environmental matters.
Similar laws mandating similar assessments
were passed in other countries; however, the scope
varied from country to country.67 While the passage of these laws indicated broad-based public
support for addressing human abuses of landscapes, they also acted as catalysts for the development of better approaches to understanding and
analyzing landscapes.
Many inuential people, especially in academic
circles, sought to nd better methods for balancing human use with the protection of landscapes.
Three menAngus Hills, Philip Lewis, and Ian
McHargstand out from the rest. Angus Hills, a
soil scientist and geographer, and his colleagues
from Toronto, Canada, developed a method for
using the biological and physical capability of the
land to guide land-use decisions for agriculture,
forestry, wildlife, and recreation.68 Hills devised a
very useful way to break down large areas of lands
into progressively smaller homogenous units that
could then be related to potential land uses or
social limitations imposed on them. Moreover,
Hillss studies demonstrated how empiricism, or
the gestalt method for ecological planning, could
be made more explicit. He proposed a numerical
rating scheme for delineating the homogenous
units that appear as gestalts in the eld.69

In the Midwest, Philip Lewis, a landscape architect and professor who was initially at the University of Illinois and later at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, made signicant advances in
developing methods for protecting unique recreational resources, which were rapidly disappearing. Unlike Hills, whose work was based primarily
on examining biological and physical systems such
as landforms and soils, Lewis was more concerned
with perceptual features, such as vegetation and
scenery. In his Quality Corridor Study for Wisconsin
Lewis used overlays to assess natural and perceptual resources for the entire state of Wisconsin
(Fig. .). He found that the unique perceptual resources in the Midwest were surface water, wet-

Image not available.

Fig. .. Wisconsins environmental corridors and landscape personalities. Philip Lewis used USGS maps to
delineate water, wetlands, and signicant topography
patterns that make up environmental corridors. Ninety
percent of the natural and cultural values that people
cherished fell within the environmental-corridor and
landscape-personalities categories, which were used to
prioritize the lands purchased for protection. Landscape
personalities are areas of distinct visual qualities based
on the physical characteristics of the landscape. Reproduced by permission of Philip Lewis.

A Historical Perspective

lands, and signicant topography. The resources

were to be coalesced into patterns that he referred
to as environmental corridors and landscape
personalities. In eect, he was able to develop an
approach that linked the little-studied perceptual,
or visual, qualities of the landscape with the states
natural environmental features.70
Beginning in the early s, Ian McHarg, another visionary thinker, landscape architect, city
planner, and educator, argued strongly and persuasively for employing ecology as a basis for reconciling human use and abuse of the landscape.
He vigorously promoted ecology as the foundation science for landscape architecture and regional planning. Strongly inuenced by the works
of Loren Eisley and especially Lewis Mumfords
reverence for life, McHarg may well have been the
person who made the most signicant advances in
the eld of ecological planning in the twentieth
century. In a series of lectures and writings he outlined an ethos and a method, known as suitability
analysis, that explicitly linked ecology to planning
and design.
The ethical principles, working theory, and successful applications of the approach were skillfully
presented in his seminal book, Design with Nature,
published in . The McHarg Method, or the
University of Pennsylvania Method, as it came
to be known, revealed nature as a process and
value with the right to continued existence: The
basic proposition employed, wrote McHarg, is
that any place is the sum of its historic, physical
and biological processes, that these are dynamic,
and they constitute social values, that each area
has an intrinsic suitability for certain land uses and
nally that certain areas lend themselves to multiple coexisting land uses.71
McHargs techniques involved superimposing
hand-drawn translucent overlay maps showing
physiography, drainage, soils, and critical natural
and cultural resource in order to reveal areas suitable for dierent types of human uses. Time was
the organizing theme for overlaying the pertinent

information. McHarg viewed the method as a direct divergence from methods used in planning, in
which the bulk of information employed was
based on criteria that were often ambiguous and
covert. In short, his was a defensible approach,
which may explain why it continues to appeal to
practitioners and scholars today.
Other signicant contributions were being
made that would further solidify the importance
of ecological planning and rene its methods and
procedures. In Carl Steinitz and his colleagues
at Harvard University applied computer technology to ecological planning. The application was
consolidated in such projects as the study of an
interstate highway in Rhode Island. Also in the
late s, Burt Litton, at the University of California at Berkeley, began to develop approaches
for protecting unique scenic and cultural qualities
in the landscape. Others followed, including Jay
Appleton, Rachael Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan, Sally
Schauman, and Ervin Zube. The Israeli planner
and architect Artur Glikson, for example, further
claried the role of regions in ecological planning.72
The period was signicant in the evolution of ecological-planning theory and methods.
The intensity of developments compares to that
during the awakening era in ecological planning.
The environmental movement and the passage of
NEPA in opened the way for landscape architects and related professionals to assess natural,
cultural, and visual resources of large areas. Numerous successful applications made McHargs
suitability method the modus operandi for the
bulk of ecological-planning work undertaken by
practitioners at the time. Indeed, the suitability approach satised most of the conditions stipulated
by Thomas Kuhn for achieving paradigm consensus. McHargs approach could be used to examine, set the parameters for, and solve with better precision the problems dealing with human
use and abuse of the landscape. However, a lingering question remained: Did the suitability ap-

Ecological Planning

proach explain why human abuses still occurred

and what ought to be done to stop the abuses, or
was it better suited to improving the management
of change in the landscape? While McHargs suitability approach provided landscape architects and
planners with a dependable way to understand
and assess the landscape, it also stimulated intense
debate about alternative evaluation techniques. As
Thomas Kuhn pointed out, a paradigm, once accepted, still is an object for further articulation
and specication under new or stringent conditions.73
At the global level, there is no shortage of reports alerting us to the negative consequences of
human actions in the landscape, especially global
warming, the depletion of the ozone layer and its
devastating consequences of increased radiation
on life-support systems, the desertication of
landscapes, the erosion of biological diversity, the
impacts of uncontrolled population growth on the
world resource base, and the unsustainability of
our economic and political systems. The report of the World Commission on Environment
and Development summarized the global challenge related to the degradation of landscape succinctly: We have in the past been concerned
about the impacts of economic growth upon the
environment. We are now forced to concern ourselves with the impacts of ecological stress
degradation of soils, water regimes, atmosphere,
and forestsupon our economic prospects. . . .
Ecology and economy are becoming ever more
interwovenlocally, regionally, nationally, and
globallyinto a seamless net of causes and
eects. . . . Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable. . . . Yet in the end, sustainability is not a xed state of harmony, but rather a
process of change. 74
This theme was restated in many ways at numerous international and national conferences, including the Rio Summit in , when representatives from countries, including more than
heads of state, met to debate the social, economic,

and environmental problems that confront the

planet. In heightening awareness of the seriousness of environmental crises worldwide, the Rio
Summit also established a clear linkage between
the protection of the environment and poverty in
the developing world. The conferences and summits, as well as many reports and books written
by distinguished scholars, increased international
awareness of the grim future awaiting us if our
current modes of economic and political organization persisted. They rearmed the need for a
holistic approach to dealing with the degradation
of landscapes and for cooperation rather than
competition among nations, given the planets
limited resource base, and challenged humankind
to develop strategies to ensure sustainable development and heal life-support systems.
In the United States, the passage of NEPA was
only a hint of things to come. Many federal environmental laws were enacted during the s:
the Clean Air Act of , the Clean Water Act
as amended in , the Coastal Zone Management Act of , the National Endangered
Species Act of , the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resource Act of , and the National
Forest Management Act of .75 States and localities followed suit by adopting programs aimed
at protecting the landscape. By the end of the s
environmental protection was an important part
of the American way of life. Environmental legislation continues to proliferate even in the face of
property conservatism, a movement to expand
private property rights.
Inspired by concerns about environmental degradation, states like Vermont (), California
(), Florida (), and Oregon () developed
statewide growth-management programs calling
for the consideration of environmental, economic, and social values in the development of
plans for guiding growth. They adopted methods
for determining the inventory and assessment of
landscape resources similar to those proposed by
Ian McHarg. This period has been referred to as

A Historical Perspective

the quiet revolution in land-use controls, when

states began to take back some powers from local
governments.76 In the s states developed programs that embraced a broader range of concerns,
including the environment, infrastructure, economic development, and quality of life. Among
them were Florida (, ), New Jersey (),
Maine (), Vermont (), Rhode Island (),
Georgia (), Washington (, ), and Maryland ().
These state initiatives reected the recognition
that decisions made at the local level often have
impacts that exceed the boundaries of localities.
States like Florida, Georgia, and Vermont also
adopted a regional approach to growth management in the spirit of those proposed earlier by
Patrick Geddes, Benton MacKaye, and Lewis Mumford. The increased involvement of states and local governments in environmental protection further perpetuated the emotional debate on private
versus public property rights. It became a necessity, therefore, to provide policymakers with defensible and precise information about the use and
protection of the landscape in a timely manner.
The development of ecological concepts and
their translation into planning and design continued, propelled by an improved understanding of
the ecosystem concept and how it could be used
to better mediate the dialogue between human
actions and natural processes. Ecosystem studies
continued to ourish, employing the ecosystem
concept as their organizing principle. The studies
stressed the biological aspects of the environment,
however and demonstrated very little understanding of the physical and chemical aspects.77 This
emphasis coincided with a focus on ecological
studies and ecological modeling that emphasized
the use of mathematical models. The works of the
ecologists Howard Odum, Raymond Margalef,
and Frank Golley provided important insights into
the dynamics of energy ow and nutrient cycling
within ecosystems.
The studies that Herbert Bormann and Gene

Likens conducted at their Hubbard Brook laboratory in New Hampshire in have had direct and
profound implications for ecological planning.78
They empirically demonstrated that the watershed was an ecological unit whose properties and
behavior could be studied. They also showed how
watersheds behaved under various circumstances,
so that given a set of conditions, one could manipulate and even predict their behavior. Building
upon previous ecological studies, Bormann and
Likens made it possible to study ecological systems at various scales and to relate changes in their
nutrient budgets to ecosystem recovery. The watershed concept was developed further in the s in
an attempt to demonstrate empirically that watersheds displayed characteristics that made them distinct ecological entities. The signicant ecosystem
studies were the study of the Coweeta River basin,
in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and the
Experimental Lakes Project in Canada.79
Eugene Odums work in shed light on the
manner in which ecosystems change in response
to human actions.80 He developed a working
model that made more evident the functional relationships between the types of landscapes required by people and the ecological functions
required to support them. Odums model divided
the landscape according to its basic ecological
roles: production (e.g., agriculture, forestry), protection (wetlands, mature forests), compromise or
multiple-use (suburbs under a forest canopy), and
nonvital uses (urban, industry). Using these categories, Odums model provided a theoretical basis
for understanding the functioning of landscapes.
Julius Fabos and his coworkers at the University of
Massachusetts in Amherst used Odums model
as the basis for developing a comprehensive approach to regional land-use planning. There were
numerous similar eorts to rene and translate
ecological ideas into planning.
It is useful at this point to explain the ways the
ecosystem concept has been used in ecological
studies. The concept has been viewed as an object

Ecological Planning

or as a framework for organizing ecological research. When the ecosystem is viewed as an object, emphasis is placed on studying the ecotype,
which is the smallest spatial area in the landscape
that has homogenous properties, for example a
tilled farm eld. Bormann and Likens, for instance, chose the watershed as the object to be
studied. When the ecosystem concept is viewed as
a framework, it serves as a useful way of thinking
and understanding the world in terms of how the
components are linked and interact. Frank Golley
elaborated: If we adopt the latter point of view
[ecosystem as framework] we will manage our relations with others and with the environment in a
dierent way than if we view humans and nature
as separate systems. Thus, the ecosystem perspective can lead toward an ecological philosophy, and
from philosophy it can lead to an environmental
value system, environmental law, and a political
If we accept this statement, it follows that ecological planners and designers adopt the ecosystem concept as a bridge between object and
framework. They draw upon information from
ecological studies that use the ecosystem as an object for content knowledge but rely primarily on
the ecosystem as framework for guidance in a
philosophical and conceptual way in mediating
the dialogue between human and natural processes. Certainly, using the ecosystem concept as a
bridge between object and framework is consistent with the planner John Friedmanns denition
of planning as an activity centrally concerned with
linking knowledge to action.82 The usage also reinforces the fact that ecological planners integrate
and interpret information provided by various disciplines in providing options for decisions regarding the wise and sustained use of a landscape.
Developments in remote-sensing technology
in the s and s made it possible to study
forested ecosystems that were much larger than
those traditionally examined in ecology. This
meant that more accurate information became

available about the physical systems that made up

these larger ecosystems. Remote sensing became
an important source of information for agencies
concerned with the management of large landscapes. Moreover, more scientic information became available on the short-term and long-term
eects of human actions on the landscape; thus,
for example, we are able to estimate more accurately the impacts of air and water pollutants.
Landscape architects and planners increasingly began to work with scientists to obtain pertinent information about human impacts on the landscape.
The availability of better information about human impacts on the landscape resulted in an informed public that increasingly demanded more
involvement in decisions aecting the quality of
its environment. Rapid advances in computer
technology enabled ecological planners to better
store, analyze, and display large amounts of natural and cultural resource data, thereby laying the
foundation for providing intelligent and diverse
options for decision making. Computer technology and geographical information systems (GIS),
in particular, began to be components of most
work in ecological planning. Moreover, rapid advances in technology and communication induced
fragmentation of the landscapes where people
lived, worked, and played. Taken together, these
events vastly increased the nature, scope, and complexity of issues that ecological planning could address.

I argued earlier that the suitability approach
emerged as an accepted paradigm for problem
solving in ecological planning. Consistent with
Thomas Kuhns framework for the development
of scientic communities, the acceptance of the
suitability approach enabled focused debate about
alternative ways to reconcile human use and abuse
of the landscape, especially in light of the new,
stringent conditions discussed above. Since the

A Historical Perspective

s many ecological-planning approaches have

emerged in response to the issues generated by
these new conditions. Some of these approaches
better claried the ideas and techniques that were
part of the suitability approach, while others
oered new ideas and techniques. The net result
was a diversity of approaches to ecological planning.

Efficiency and Accuracy

of Information Management
One major development in suitability methods
was increased objectivity and accuracy in managing and combining ecological data. Since the basic
procedure in suitability analyses is to identify and
assess the relative suitability of areas of land that
are similar in one or more ways, the way the areas
are identied and evaluated aects the validity of
the outcomes. Many landscape architects, planners, geographers, and soil scientists suggested
ways for improving the validity and management
of information in determining suitabilities. In the
mid-s Bruce MacDougall, a professor of landscape architecture and regional planning at the
University of Massachusetts, and Carl Steinitz and
his colleagues at Harvard University examined the
ineciencies of hand-drawn overlays and made
recommendations for improving their accuracy.83
In Lewis Hopkins, a professor of planning and
landscape architecture at the University of Illinois,
ChampaignUrbana, examined the techniques for
combining ecological data and made suggestions
for improving their validity.84 Aided by advances in
computer technology and in remote-sensing technology, planners have been able to overcome some
of these deciencies.
Continued advances in ecology have increased
our ability to utilize ecological principles in determining land suitabilities (Fig. .). A notable example is the design of a new communityThe
Woodlands, Texasby McHarg and his colleagues
from the rm of Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and
Todd (). Among its successes was the man-

ner in which the designers skillfully utilized the

concept of carrying capacity in land-use allocation. They used land-use suitability analyses and
ecological information to develop a master plan
and the performance criteria for implementing the
plan. In fact, McHarg emphasized that the natural balance of the hydrological regime was the
key to successful environmental planning and an
organizing concept for development.85
A related concern about suitability methods
(the McHarg method) is that they focus of the supply side of land-use allocation and often ignore the
demand side. Thus, the methods do not take into
account that many, often conicting cultural values, as well as economic and political realities, help
to determine ultimate land-use development patterns.86 There were subsequent quantitative and
qualitative improvements in the eciency of information management and the technical validity
of assessment techniques; the integration of externalities such as economic and political realities
in determining land suitabilities; the application of
the suitability method to deal more eectively
with development, conservation, and restoration
issues in landscapes; and techniques for addressing
ecological concerns in urban, suburban, and rural

Functioning of Landscapes
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the landscape we must look at it
in terms of structure, processes, and location. By
structure I mean the composition of biological and
nonliving elements in natural and human environments. The structure has to do with the functional relationship between elements such as climate, landforms, soils, ora, and fauna. Process
implies the movement of energy, materials, and
organisms in the landscape, and location refers to
the spatial distribution of elements and processes
in the landscape.
McHargs approach recognizes the signicance
of landscape processes but does not provide

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. The layer-cake model illuminates the relationships among abiotic, biotic, and cultural elements across the
landscape (Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and Todd, ). Redrawn by M. Rapelje, .

enough guidance on how they can be integrated

to manage change in the landscape. More precisely, it treats landscape elements such as soils and
vegetation as if they were separate and independent features of the landscape. The identication
of areas in the landscape that are intrinsically either suitable or unsuitable for dierent human activities requires that we identify relevant landscape
elements and map them on translucent overlays
or into computer data bases. We know that the
mapped elements are intimately related to one another based on our knowledge of ecology. Only
when we combine them by using the overlay technique do we actually display and model their
functional relationship to one another and how
they are distributed over the landscape.

Since the display does not show how energy,

materials, or organisms ow among the landscape
elements under study, we must make assumptions
about the nature of the ows when we select the
elements to be overlaid. We now know from the
science of landscape ecology, the new subdiscipline of ecology in the United States, that the spatial form of the landscapethe way the biophysical and cultural features are arrangedis directly
related to how the landscape functions. Monica
Turner and her colleagues emphasized that the
explicit composition and spatial form of a landscape mosaic aect ecological systems in ways that
would be dierent if the mosaic composition or
arrangement were dierent.87 The implication is
that while the overlay technique may reveal how

A Historical Perspective

the biophysical and cultural features are displayed

in the landscape, it does not tell us about the ecological signicance of the distribution.
A related problem is that in focusing on identifying areas that are sensitive as well as suitable for
human activities we may neglect those areas in the
landscape that do not have any consequences for
human use. An example is the capacity for the
long-term survival of a protected or endangered
wildlife or plant species.
Two approaches have emerged that emphasize
the functioning of landscapes. The rst, the appliedecosystem approach, examines the functioning of
landscapes at the spatial scale of the ecosystem.
The second, the applied-landscape-ecology approach,
focuses on the functioning of landscapes at the
scale comprising a cluster of interacting ecosystems connected by energy ows and nutrient
Ecologists and ecological planners have integrated knowledge of the functioning of landscapes in many ways. Eugene Odums ecosystemcompartment model is an example of a theoretical
framework for applied-ecosystem planning. Researchers from other disciplines, especially conservation biologists and environmental scientists,
have made signicant advances in utilizing concepts about ecosystem structure and processes in
their work.88
Since Forman and Godron published their important book Landscape Ecology in 89 there has
been an increasing fusion among ecologists, geographers, landscape architects, planners, and historians in the United States. Landscape ecology
seeks to understand the landscape structure, function, and change at the organizational level of the
landscape, and this fusion provides a conceptual
framework within which planners and designers
can explore how the structure of land and the relevant ecological processes evolve. If the landscape
is the interface between human and natural processes, then landscape ecology focuses on the
medium in which the dialogue between both pro-

cesses occurs. It also regards the landscape as a mosaic of interacting ecosystems, connected by ows
of energy and materials.
Over time ecosystems develop an identiable
visual as well as cultural identity. Since ecosystems
of any size can be studied, and since the ows of
energy and materials between ecosystems of
dierent sizes can be identied, it follows that
landscape ecology provides the conceptual and
geographical basis for studying land at a practical
scale. By extension, it allows us to understand a
landscape in relation to its social and natural contexts.
Landscape ecology strengthens the theoretical
base of ecology by enabling both planners and
ecologists to understand the land in terms of the
relationship between three inseparable perspectives: visual, chronological, and ecosystem.90 If
planners and ecologists can begin to understand
the landscape from the same perspective, then
ecological information can be better interpreted
to provide both ecologically sound landscapes and
landscapes that embody meaning, identity, and a
sense of place. The application of landscape ecology in managing landscapes in North America,
however, is still relatively new. Some pioneering
examples have resulted from the eorts of landscape architects, planners, and ecologists such as
Jack Ahern, Robert Brown, Edward Cook, Donna
(Hall) Erickson, Richard Forman, Frank Golley,
Joan Hirschman, Joan Nassauer, Zev Naveh, James
Thorne, and Monica Turner.

Culture in Ecological Planning

As an interface between natural and human processes the landscape reects the dialogue that has
occurred between these processes over time. Ecological planning, therefore, requires an in-depth
understanding of the nature and evolution of the
dialogue. In attempting to reconcile human use
and abuse of the landscape, environmentally oriented planners and designers have tended to overemphasize natural processes as a way to under-

Ecological Planning

stand the dialectic with human processes. The result is a constant struggle to understand the human side of the dialogue. Human processes are
usually considered in the context of the social,
economic, and demographic proles of a community or region. Yet people have a culture, or a
characteristic way of life. Their value systems
inuence their actions, including the way they use
and adapt to the landscape.
Often missing in ecological planning is a deep
understanding of the accumulated experiences of
people in a particular landscape, the meanings
they attach to it, and how both change over time.
Social scientists, landscape architects, and planners
often nd it dicult to reveal this deep understanding, which comes from not only a scientic
overview of a region, but also from the voices of
the residents themselves . . . [the insiders view],
for which most planners do not yet have a framework into which they incorporate such information, and insiders views often conict.91
Eorts to understand the underlying dialectic
between people and the landscape fall into many
categories, yet however, two categories stand out:
landscape perception and human ecological planning. Ecologists, economists, foresters, geographers, landscape architects, and psychologists have
considerably advanced our knowledge of landscape perception, which is considered to be a function of the interactions of humans and the landscape. They emphasize the visual quality of the
landscape as an important resource that should be
included in ecological planning. Since the s,
public policy has also served as a major impetus for
advancements in both theory and methods for assessing landscape values. One concern is the lack
of agreement on a unifying theory of landscape
perception, a reection of the variety of paradigms of landscape assessment that exist today.92
The University of Pennsylvania has been at the
forefront of developments in the applied-humanecology approach, which seeks to integrate hu-

man processes into ecological planning. Notable

among eorts to better understand how people
aect and are aected by the natural environment
was the Hazleton Human Ecological Study in the
mid-s, undertaken by a University of Pennsylvania team of landscape architects, planners, and
anthropologists. The study focused on how people
in a mountainous region of rural Pennsylvania
adapted to their natural environment. Other signicant eorts include the works of Jonathan
Berger, Yehudi Cohen, Joanne Jackson, Dan Rose,
and Frederick Steiner, as well as Gerald Young at
Washington State University. Initially these eorts
suered from the lack of a solid theoretical base.
That base was in the early s, when Ian McHarg
articulated a sound theory of human-ecological
Planning that strives for a t between people
and the landscape, therefore, is one of the most
promising ways to reestablish the dialectic between human and natural processes. Since the
early s a majority of works in ecological planning have explicitly considered human processes.
The work of Jonathan Berger and John Sinton on
the New Jersey Pine Barrens is an example of how
to develop a plan that responds not only to place,
but to people as well.93 My work with Ojibway
Indian communities in Canada during the s
also exemplies an attempt to understand the nature of the dialectic between human and natural
processes in cases where the culture of the planner
or designer diers from that of the client group.94
Diversity exists not only in the approaches currently in use in ecological planning but in the
scope of their substantive areas of research and
practice. The boundaries of ecological planning in
landscape architecture and planning broadened
considerably in response to complex new problems regarding human actions in the landscape, a
growing enlightened public who demand more
involvement in decisions aecting the quality of

A Historical Perspective

Image not available.

Fig. .. A tentative grouping of the major approaches to ecological planning.

their environment, and advancements in ecosystem sciences, computer technology, and remote
The major themes in the evolution of ecological
planning are () concern that human actions have
progressively degraded the landscape and that we
should plan with nature; () consolidation of the
idea of planning with nature in numerous largescale planning eorts and the adoption of ecological ideas from biology; () explicit linkage between

ecology and planning and continued renement of

methodological rules for integrating ecological
ideas into planning; () consensus, especially among
landscape architects and planners, that planning
can and should be ecologically based and articulation of a consistent body of techniques and data
requirements for integrating ecological principles
into planning; and () a diversity in approaches for
ecological planning as well as in the scope of the
substantive areas of applications (Fig. .).95

the first landscapesuitability approach

In chapter I outlined six major approaches to ecological planning: landscape suitability (pre-), landscape suitability (post-), applied human ecology, applied ecosystem, applied landscape ecology, and landscape values and perception.
These approaches have oered alternative ways to best manage human actions
sustainably in the landscape. They dier in their philosophical outlooks and disciplinary origins, concepts for understanding and analyzing landscapes, data requirements, and techniques for putting the concepts into practice.
These ecological approaches have not evolved in isolation. In fact they have
borrowed concepts and techniques from one another. Although at the level of
practice the dierences between these approaches are fuzzy, the dierences at the
level of theory are signicant. In this chapter and the next I provide an overview
of landscape-suitability approach (LSA ) and landscape-suitability approach
(LSA ). Landscape-suitability approaches (LSAs) have been explored by several
people although not in the manner that I do here. My intent is to illuminate key
principles and theoretical intent rather than to provide a comprehensive and exhaustive review.
I devote these two chapters to landscape-suitability approaches for three reasons. First, the LSA is the most widely used approach in professional practice and
tends to be covered extensively in the curricula of landscape architecture and
planning schools, as well as in environment-related courses oered in allied disciplines. Second, a comprehensive, systematic, and updated examination of the
approaches is urgently needed to provide a common base of understanding.

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

Third, the approaches to ecological planning discussed in later chapters borrow concepts and techniques from LSAs.

T H E L A N D S C A P E - S U I TA B I L I T Y
The LSA focuses on the tness of a given tract of
land for a particular use. It is chiey concerned
with nding the optimal location for dierent uses
of the landscape. The earliest variations of the
LSA were developed by soil scientists, though
landscape architects began using hand-drawn,
sieve-mapping overlays in the late nineteenth century. These scientists and landscape architects
sought ways to understand and classify rural landscapes according to their natural features.1 The
classication became the basis for assessing the
ability of the land to support alternative land uses,
such as agriculture, forestry, and outdoor recreation. The approach was subsequently rened and
developed by others, especially landscape architects, who extended its application to include evaluation of the landscape for preservation, conservation, and development in both urbanizing and
rural areas.
Initially, the LSA used the natural features of the
landscape as the basis for determining land suitability. A growing public awareness of the negative
environmental impacts of human actions in the
past three decades, as well as increasing environmental legislation worldwide, made it necessary
to develop methods that were both accurate and
legally defensible. In turn, there were signicant
theoretical advancements in the LSA. Variations of
LSAs are still perhaps the most widely used methods for ecological planning worldwide.
I have divided the LSA into two approaches
to emphasize the theoretical-methodological advancements that have occurred as the LSA has
evolved. Landscape-suitability approach (LSA )
comprises methods developed prior to , and

landscape-suitability approach (LSA ) includes

methods proposed or developed after . Nineteen sixty-nine was the year when the National Environmental Policy Act was passed; among other
things, this act challenged federal agencies to develop eective methods and procedures for environmental assessment. Also, Ian McHargs Design
with Nature, which oered the most coherent synthesis yet of suitability analysis, was published that
All LSA and LSA methods operate on the
same general logic and analytical base. They assume that the ability of the landscape to support a
particular land use varies according to the physical, biological, and cultural resources that are distributed over a geographical area.2 By implication,
if we understand the location, distribution, and interactions among these resources, it is then possible not only to determine the optimal location of
land uses on a given tract of land but also to minimize the environmental impacts and the energy
required to implement and maintain these proposed land uses.
Lewis Hopkins summarized suitability analysis
as follows: The output of a land suitability analysis is a set of maps, one for each land use, showing
which level of suitability characterizes each parcel
of land. This output requirement leads directly to
two necessary components of any method: ) a
procedure for identifying parcels of land that are
homogenous and ) a procedure for rating these
parcels with respect to suitability for each land
use (Fig. .).3
Methods of suitability analysis vary in terms of
how they dene the tness of a particular tract of
land for a given use; how they dene and evaluate
homogenous areas and how sophisticated they
are; how and to what degree they consider social,
cultural, economic, and political factors in assessing tness; whether they use expert or nonexpert
judgments to evaluate suitability; which factors they
consider and the sophistication of the operations

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. A composite suitability map for conservation, recreation, and urbanization. Note that the gray tones
reect degrees of suitability. Reproduced, by permission, from McHarg, Design with Nature.

they use in selecting the preferred land-suitability

option; and whether they specify strategies for
implementation and administration. Other dierences in LSAs include the type of the land-use issues they are used to address (e.g., development
and conservation), as well as their ability to address eectively micro-scaled and/or macro-scaled
issues and urban and/or rural issues.
A variation in LSAs that deserves further comment is the way they dene tness, a primary cri-

terion for deciding on the best allocation of land

uses. Fitness is often dened as capability or suitability, though they mean dierent things. Capability is dened in the American College Dictionary as
the ability or strength to be qualied or tted for
or to be susceptible or open to inuence or eect
of.4 Other denitions of capability emphasize the
ability of a land resource to support potential land
uses and the management practices required to
sustain the uses; the ability of land to support land

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

uses within a given level of geological and hydrological costs; and the potential of an area of land
to allow the use of resources under a certain level
of management intensity.5 Suitability, on the other
hand, suggests being appropriate, tting, or becoming.6 Unlike capability, suitability suggests optimizing a tract of land for the best use, all things
Implicit in these denitions are the ideas of inherent capacity, or the ability of the landscape to
support a given use, and sustained use, the ability to
support the use on a permanent basis without suffering degradation of its natural and cultural features. I therefore dene tness to imply the inherent capacity and sustained use of a tract of land for
particular use(s). Sustained use also suggests optimization, implying that in addition to natural factors, social, economic, and political issues must be
considered in suitability analysis.

L A N D S C A P E - S U I TA B I L I T Y
LSA emphasizes the natural characteristics of the
landscape in determining the tness of a given
tract of land for a dened use. The LSA methods
developed in an ad hoc manner, linked to specic
problems, programs, and individuals. I discuss their
ad hoc development in order to illuminate their
historical evolution. The LSA methods that merit
a closer examination in this evolutionary overview
are the seminal ones, mentioned in most discussions of approaches to ecological planning. They
are: () the gestalt method, () the Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) capability system,
() the Angus Hills, or physiographic-unit, method,
() the Philip Lewis, or resource-pattern, method,
and () the Ian McHarg, or University of Pennsylvania, suitability method. I discuss the latter as described in Design with Nature extensively because
McHargs discussion of landscape-suitability analysis was supported by a well-articulated philosophy
and has been applied in a variety of urban, rural,

and natural settings. Also discussed briey are the

suitability methods proposed by C. S. Christian,
Ervin Zube, Richard Toth, and Carl Steinitz, methods also mentioned often in ecological-planning

The Gestalt Method

The gestalt method was one of the rst methods
used to understand and analyze the ability of landscapes to support human uses. Lewis Hopkins
used the term gestalt to explain a way of understanding and analyzing perceivable patterns in the
landscape without considering compositional elements such as slope, soils, and vegetation.7 Websters Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary denes
gestalt as a unied whole, a conguration, pattern, or organized eld having scientic properties
that cannot be derived from the summation of its
parts.8 William Passons referred to music appreciation to illustrate the essence of the gestalt
method: Listening to a piece of music is a process
which involves more than hearing the specic
notes, just as melody is more than a constellation
of notes.9 Experiential knowledge rather than
technical knowledge is the point of departure in
making gestalt judgments about landscape suitability. The philosopher John Dewey contended
that experience recognizes no division between
act and material, subject and object, but contains
both of them in an unanalyzed totality.10
In using the gestalt method, the planner or designer makes observations about the landscape
under study from aerial photographs and remotesensing data or from personal observation of the
landscape at dierent times of day. The planner
then records patterns or areas of the landscape
that are homogenous in one or more ways, such as
a corneld or lowland hardwood forest on wet soil
(Fig. .), as well as unique qualities of the landscape, such as outstanding views. Having recorded
these features, the planner describes the impacts of
proposed land uses on the landscape patterns and
draws inferences about the ability of the land de-

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Professor Robert Scarfo and his students at Washington State University observe the Palouse landscape
in eastern Washington. Photograph by N. Alexander, .

picted by the patterns to support potential uses.

For instance, if the planner observes that a tract of
land in the study area is wet upon each visits, he or
she may conclude that the tract of land might not
be able to support houses because of unstable soil
conditions. Some of the patterns observed may be
of equal suitability since they are based on perceived natural and cultural types rather than on the
suitability for any one use. In that case the planner
develops a set of maps for each land use to show
the ability of each pattern to support a given use.
Gestalt judgment is arguably a feature of most
suitability methods, at least at an elemental level.
For example, a woodland identied on an aerial
photograph may be regarded as a gestalt since it is
a composite of a vegetation association made up
of understory plants and ground covers. In this instance, the gestalt method is used to identify a particular landscape resource, vegetation, which will
be combined with other resources to generate

suitability maps. Hopkins adds that once a factor

[resource] such as cover type is identied . . . one
can no longer use the gestalt method at some
higher level because by denition it does not combine factors.11

The Natural Resources Conservation Service

(NRCS) Capability System
The soil-capability system is one of the most established methods for determining the ability of
the soil to support dierent land uses. The system
was developed by the NRCS (formerly the Soil
Conservation Service), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to assist farmers with
agricultural-management practices.12 As information about the linkages between soil behavior and
the structural properties of soils became more
readily available after World War II, the use of the
capability system was extended to planning and resource management.13

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

Soil represents a transitional zone that relates

the physical and biological characteristics of the
landscape. It has depth, shape, and boundaries.
These boundaries are altered when one or more
soil-forming factors change. These factors are climatic forces, the living matter that acts on the soil,
and the parent material for the soil, modied by relief over time.14 The identied properties of soils
texture, depth to bedrock, prole or gradient of
soil layers from the surface to the bedrock, slope,
stoninessderive from the interaction of these
factors. The soil-capability system is a widely used
system for classifying soils to determine the ability
of the landscape to support various land uses.
(Other classication systems developed by the
NRCS are discussed later.) The underlying logic of
the soil-capability system is that combinations of
soil properties pose restrictions when they are manipulated and used for certain types of agricultural
production. In other words, the classication system emphasizes the limitations rather than the attractiveness of soils for supporting various land
The system focuses on the use of soil for eld
crops, the risk the soil poses for damage to crops,
and the response of the soil to management practices when used for the production of particular
crops. It does not take into account properties such
as soil depth and slope or specic types of agricultural crops that require special types of management practices, such as horticultural crops.15
The NRCS classies soils according to three
capability levels: class, subclass, and unit. It then
ranks the levels based on the limitations the soil
poses to land uses and uses the rankings to make
evaluations for agricultural production, planning,
and resource management.
The capability class is the broadest homogenous
level. Soil classes are designated by the Roman
numerals I through VIII, indicating progressively
greater limitations for agricultural production in
terms of the choice of plants, soil erodibility, and
intensity of management practices. Class I soils

have few limitations, while Class VIII soils have

many restrictions, making them unsuitable for
commercial production, wildlife, and water supply.16
The second level is the subclass, which consists
of soil groups within a soil class. Subclasses are indicated by the letter e (erosion), w (water), s (stoniness or shallowness), or c (climatic variations)
following the Roman numeral to indicate limitations, for example, IIIs or IVe. Since the subclasses
are based on limitations, it follows that Class I
would have the least subclasses and Class VIII
would have the most.
The third level, the subunit, consists of soils
within a subclass that support similar crops, have
similar agricultural productivity, and require similar management practices. Subunits are indicated
by an Arabic numeral following the subclass symbol, for example, IIIs- or IVw-.
In sum, the NRCS capability system helps individuals and organizations evaluate landscape suitability by using soil inventories.17 The information
is readily available to the public at a mapping scale
of :,, or inches mile. The evaluation of
the soil for land suitabilities is descriptive, as inferences about land capabilities for dierent uses can
be drawn from the classication.

The Angus Hills, or Physiographic-Unit, Method

The physiographic-unit approach to landscape
analysis was proposed in by the Canadian
forester G. Angus Hills, the chief research scientist with the Ontario Department of Lands and
Forests.18 The approach contributed to the development of the Canadian Land Inventory system.19
Initially, Hills focused on using soil associations to
determine land capabilities, but over time his interest shifted to using landforms and vegetation associations.
The essence of Hillss method was to divide the
landscape into physiographic homogenous units
and then reaggregate them for planning purposes.
The method addresses a number of questions to

Ecological Planning

ensure that landscape resources are used in a renewable way. How can the time and money
needed to collect ecological inventories be minimized? What is the most eective way of dierentiating landscapes on a permanent basis for a
variety of planning purposes? What is the ability
of the landscape to support the highest intensity
of human use? What is the relative advantage of
maintaining that inherent ability given existing or
projected social and economic conditions? What
management practices may be required to put the
proposed uses of the landscape into eect?
Hills contended that human use of the landscape must be based on the principles that relate
organisms to their physical and biological environment. Classifying landscapes based on their biological productivity will help to ensure that landscape resources will be renewable. Any area of
land combined with the organism it supports constitutes a biological productivity system, wrote
Hills.20 The system depends on the potential of
the land to support energy and matter as well as
on the ability of the crop systems to utilize it.
To ensure that resources will be renewable, land
should be organized hierarchically based on a gradient of the most signicant features governing
biological productivity. Then the resultant units
should be assessed based on their ability to support
crop systems under an assumed set of circumstances. However, this ability is dynamic since humans change their minds about what is suitable
whenever there is a change in their social or economic circumstances.
Hills proposed a ve-step method for assessing
landscape suitability. The rst step is an ecological
inventory that focuses on the physical and biological characteristics of the study area and on existing or projected social and economic conditions.
To minimize the time and cost of data collection,
representative areas that exhibit severe physiographic conditions are identied and used as reference points for collecting more detailed data.
Next, the site area is divided hierarchically into

homogenous physiographic unitssite regions,

landscape types, site classes, site types, and site
unitsbased on a gradient of its biological productivity (climate and landforms features) (Fig.
As the largest unit, the site region comprises land
areas that display consistent patterns of vegetation
and microclimatic conditions. The region is dened
by the recorded succession of forest types on major landform classes. An example of this is a birchpoplar association on a glacial-outwash landform.
Each site region is divided into distinct landscape
types based on landforms, geological composition,
and water regimes. The average size of a landscape
type is approximately square mile, or . square
hectare. An example is a tract of land that has shallow sandy loam or sandy soil over granite bedrock.
Each landscape type is dierentiated further
into physiographic site classes that may be rated for
their biological productivity. A site class is distinguished by variations in soil moisture, depth of
bedrock, and local climate. The average size of a
site class is approximately acres. Poorly drained
soil on a glacial-outwash bedrock and moderately
drained soil on a glacial till represent dierent site
classes. Various combinations of soil moisture,
depth to bedrock, and local climate dene dierent physiographic site types, such as moderately
deep soil in a dry local climate. The smallest physiographic category is the site unit, a subdivision of
the physiographic site type. The signicant features of the site unit include soil prole, stoniness,
slope, and aspect, which are useful in evaluating
land uses.
The third step is to identify the characteristics
and land requirements of the proposed land uses,
such as forestry and agriculture. Hills suggested
that a panel of experts evaluate the ability of the
physiographic units to support the proposed land
uses. The experts would conduct suitability, capability, and feasibility assessments at the broad ecological-planning level and also at the regionalplanning level.

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. A section of physiographic classes. Redrawn from Belknap and Furtado, Three Approaches to Environmental
Resource Analysis, by M. Rapelje, .

Suitability refers to the capacity of the site in its

present condition to meet specic management
practices. Suitability assessment involves determining the actual use of an area of land for any
specied period of time. Capability assessment
entails ascertaining the probable results, in terms
of both crop production and land conservation, if
a given body of land is put to a particular use.21
Feasibility assessment involves determining the
relative advantage of managing a tract of land for

specic land uses under existing or forecasted

social and economic conditions. While suitability
and capability assessment focus on the inherent
features of a site, feasibility assessment emphasizes the social and economic conditions needed to
ensure the continued use of a site for the proposed
land uses. For each type of assessment the land is
rated on a seven-point scale, ranging from excellent to extremely poor, based on the intensity and
quality of the landscape resource rather than on its

Ecological Planning

type. Emphasis is placed on the absence of potential site limitations.

To ensure that the outcome of the evaluation is
used for a variety of planning purposes, Hills proposed ways to combine the smaller physiographic
units into larger units. For example, if the study is
to be conducted at the local level, then it is useful
to combine physiographic site classes to create
landscape components. Landscape components, approximately a quarter of an acre (. ha.) in size,
are convenient for rating land-use capability because they signify the biological productivity of
the individual site and the eects of the distribution of crops on the site as well as of management
practices. For studies conducted at the level of the
community or the region Hills suggested combining the landscape components into landscape units,
measuring approximately square miles ( sq.
ha.). An example would be a shallow bedrock with
shallow to moderately deep till.
The fourth step is to combine the suitability,
capability, and feasibility assessments into a composite map depicting landscape units that may
support multiple uses. The appropriate panel of
experts then makes recommendations for the proposed land uses. Final recommendations are made
by local decision makers to ensure that the social
and economic needs of the community or region
are met. In the fth step, management guidelines
prescribe how to put the proposed uses into eect.

The Philip Lewis, or Resource-Pattern, Method

Philip Lewis Jr. proposed a method for identifying
patterns of unique perceptual qualities in the landscape and for integrating them into regional landscape plans and designs. Lewis developed and
rened his method through numerous projects he
directed between and , including the Illinois Recreation and Open State Plan (), the
Outdoor Recreation Plan for the state of Wisconsin (), and the Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Basin Study ().22
Lewis was primarily concerned with the hap-

hazard patterns of urban growth in the Midwest,

which occurred with little regard for the intrinsic qualities inherent in natures design.23 The
growth patterns resulted in declining recreational
spaces, which Lewis sought to discover, protect,
and conserve. Lewiss work addressed such concerns as which recreational resources required
protection and conservation; which ones were
signicant and why; what the geographical linkages were among these resources; how these linkages could be identied, analyzed, and integrated
into regional planning and design; and how the
value of these resources and the outcome of their
assessment could be communicated to the public
in order to gain support for implementation.
Lewis hypothesized the environmental corridor as
the basic recreational-resource unit.24 They comprise signicant, or major, natural and cultural resources that are connected in their distribution of
such things as surface water, wetlands, and signicant topographic features. The resources signicance rests in their ability to enhance and stabilize
property values, provide recreational opportunities, and maintain the ecological and cultural integrity of the landscape. The major resources are
enhanced by additional, minor resources that may
not be distributed in a continuous manner but provide concentrations of ecological and cultural values. Lewis referred to the concentrations, such as
rock outcrops, sh habitats, and picnic areas, as resource nodes. Resource nodes oered the greatest
exibility in ensuring that the environmental desires and needs of midwesterners were met. By focusing attention on environmental corridors and
resource nodes, Lewis shifted attention from the
protection of single resources to the protection of
multiple ones. He explained the nature and signicance of environmental corridors as follows:
Looking beneath the Great Lake Canopy, it is apparent that the elements and glacial action through
the ages have etched a treelike design pattern on
the face of the landscape. The at prairie farmlands, driftless hills and expansive northern forests

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

have their share of beauty, but it is the stream valleys, mellow wetlands and sandy soils combined in
elongated patterns that provide outstanding diversity, tying the landscape together in regional and
statewide corridors. . . . Once inventoried and
mapped, they suggest a framework for total environmental design. If protected and enhanced, the
system provides a source of strength, spiritual and
physical health and wisdom for the individual, in
addition to open space for recreation and enjoyment.25

Lewiss work on environmental corridors, especially his recognition of their visual, recreation,
and ecological values, was an important contribution to the greenway movement. He further hypothesized a vital connection between the psychological health of humans and the visual quality
of the prairie landscape.26 Lewis suggested that
since the visual features of the landscape are most
striking in environmental corridors, those corridors could be identied using visual indicators
such as visual contrast and diversity.
Even though the procedures Lewis used in his
numerous studies varied, they share some features
in common. In the Outdoor Recreation Plan for the
state of Wisconsin, which focused on identifying
statewide recreational resource patterns, Lewis selected a pilot study area in order to identify the geographical relationships between the major and
minor resources. The size of the area was approximately square miles (. sq. km). He then
identied the key recreational uses and established
land-use criteria. For example, recreational uses
might include hiking, canoeing, shing, and camping. The primary land-use criteria were visual contrast between landscape types and landscape diversity.
Lewis identied the major resources, such as
water bodies and topographic features, that met
the use criteria and then recorded each resource
on a separate map to facilitate data collection. Using map overlays, he combined the individual resources into a composite pattern. He used the
same procedure for identifying and mapping such

minor resources as waterfalls, rock outcrops, and

picnic areas. Symbols were used to denote the minor resources. The data were collected at a scale
of inch , feet (:,) by many people,
including federal, state, and local ocials, who
worked closely with local people. Local inhabitants awareness of the ecological and cultural values inherent in the major and minor resources was
crucial for their successful identication, protection, and preservation.
Using overlay maps, Lewis correlated and compared the composite maps that displayed the major and minor resource patterns to establish the
degree of congruence between them. Based on
the outcome of the correlations, he conrmed
that wetlands, water bodies, and signicant topographic features constituted about percent of
the resources that were held in high esteem by the
local people and located within the environmental
Lewis then proceeded to identify the major and
minor resource patterns throughout the state of
Wisconsin and to ascertain their location, distribution, and signicance. To establish priorities for
the preservation and conservation of these resource patterns, he developed a rating system and
assigned points to the individual resources that
made up the major and minor resource patterns.
The locations that contained resources degraded
irreversibly by human use, such as wetlands, received the highest scores. The resources that received the highest scores were designated as priority areas for protection (see Fig. .).
This rating system was complemented by information on the demand for the recreational resources. Lewis examined the type and intensity of
the demand, the degree of access to the recreational areas, and the patterns of land ownership.
Once the priority areas were established, he conducted detailed soil surveys and visual studies to
identify unique local features and to illuminate the
limitations on development. The outcomes were
used to provide preliminary estimates of the car-

Ecological Planning

rying capacity of the area since human use of

recreational areas might have negative impacts,
such as soil compaction. Lewis has conducted numerous studies since his outdoor recreation plan
for Wisconsin, described here, which he documented in his book, Tomorrow by Design.

The McHarg, or University of Pennsylvania,

Suitability Method
The McHarg method was described extensively in
Ian McHargs Design with Nature, a book that immensely inuenced the environmental movement
in the s (Fig. .). The McHarg method and its
variations are arguably among the most widely
used methods in professional landscape architecture and planning today. The method was rened
through numerous projects McHarg conducted
with his colleagues and students at the University
of Pennsylvania as well as with his partners at Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and Todd (WMRT). Examples of application in the s include the New
Jersey Shoreline Study (), the Plan for the Valley study (), the Richmond Parkway Study
(), the Potomac River Basin Study ( ),
and the Staten Island Study ().27 The method
has undergone several revisions and has advanced
beyond the theoretical conceptualizations presented in this chapter. The key methodological advancements are examined in chapter .
McHarg was deeply disturbed by patterns of
population growth that resulted in degradation of
the landscape. He promoted designs that integrated the city and countryside while preserving
the features of nature that were crucial for the survival and well-being of humans. His interest was
in understanding life processes and using them as
limitations or opportunities for allocating human
uses in the landscape.
McHarg believed rmly that the dialogue between humans and nature should be one of mutual interdependence. Humans are dependent on
nature for air, water, food, and ber, and nature
also provides order, meaning, and dignity. Yet, the

Image not available.

Fig. .. Ian McHarg, founder, former chair, and professor emeritus of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of
Pennsylvania. In President George Bush awarded
him the National Medal of Art for his contributions to
ecological planning and design. Photograph courtesy
of Ian McHarg.

dialogue between humans and nature was turbulent, as evidenced by the ecological crises that
were prevalent in Western industrialized societies
by the s. People sought to conquer rather than
to seek unity with nature.
McHarg summarized his ideas about the relationship between humans and nature in a compelling fashion in his article Man and Environment, published in Leonard Duhl and John
Powells book Urban Condition. He noted that a duality existed between man and nature. This duality, which was the basis of our ecological crisis,
was rmly rooted in the religious tradition, Christianity, and was reinforced by economic determinism and the misuse of technology.28 The attitudes

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

and technology that emerged from Christianity

and Western philosophy promoted dominion and
subjugation of nature by humans. McHarg contended that by using a system that used money as
a yardstick of success, the Western mode of economic organization failed to take into account the
physical and biological processes that are crucial
for human evolution and survival. His ideas about
the basis of ecological degradation were reinforced by Lynn White in his article The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.
To address eectively the ecological crisis that
confronted our society, McHarg forcefully proposed replacing our economic view of the world
with an ecological one. An ecological view of the
world measures success in terms of energy and
evolutionary order rather than money. The ecological view also accepts human cooperation and
biological partnership as points of departure in
solving problems of human adaptation to the environment.29 The natural sciences in general and
the eld of ecology in particular oer the most
useful insights into applying the ecological view to
mediate the dialogue between humans and nature.
The fundamental question the McHarg method
sought to address was how to achieve the ttest
environment for the survival and evolutionary
success of the organism, the species, the community, and the biosphere.30 For McHarg, suitability
implies searching for this environment to ensure
survival and evolutionary success. The next question was how to determine the ttest environment
for human uses. McHarg proposed that the answer
lay in understanding nature as an interactive process, one that responds to physical and natural
laws and represents values. Together, natures processes and values oer opportunities and limitations for human use.
Natures values include the inherent characteristics of nature that endow it with the right to existence, such as natural beauty; the productive
function that nature serves; natures role in

maintaining ecological processes, such as aquiferrecharge areas and ood plains; and the potential
hazards that result from improper use of nature,
such as ooding, erosion, and the degradation of
water quality.31 The McHarg method seeks to understand natures processes, interactions, and values as the basis for allocating human uses in the
landscape. In essence, he wrote, the method
consists of identifying the area of concern as consisting of certain processes, in land, water, and
airwhich represent values. These can be ranked
the most valuable land and the least, the most
valuable water resources and the least, the most
and least productive agricultural land, the richest
wildlife habitats and those of no value, the areas of
great or little scenic value, historic buildings and
their absence, and so on.32
Applications of the McHarg method usually include the following steps (Fig. .):
. The goals, objectives, and land use needs are
dened, and study boundaries are established.
. An ecological inventory of the relevant physical
and biological processes is conducted. The processes are documented and mapped in chronological order and are related to the land-use
needs. The chronological sequence of data collection and interpretation provides a causative
explanation of landscape processes, culminating
in a descriptive biophysical model of the landscape. For example, once the climate and historical geology of the landscape are understood, the
ground-water hydrology and physiography can
be explained.
. The resultant inventory is mapped. Each factor,
that is, each of the physical and biological characteristics of the landscape, such as slope or soil,
is mapped and displayed in terms of homogenous areas. For example, if residential development is one of the land uses under consideration,
soil drainage may be an important process to examine and map. In doing so, we might divide soil
drainage into three subhomogenous areas: perfectly drained, moderately well drained, and
poorly drained soils.
. Each factor map is examined to determine which
areas are suitable for each proposed land use. For

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. An example of
a suitability-analysis procedure. Redrawn from
Steiner, Living Landscape,
by M. Rapelje, .

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

example, the homogenous areas that represent

perfectly drained soils, moderately well drained
soils, and poorly drained soils are rated for their
suitability for residential development. The output is a color-coded map, with the darkest color
representing constraints, or poorly drained soils,
and the lightest denoting opportunities, or perfectly drained soils.
. All factor maps pertinent to determining the
landscape suitability for a particular land use are
overlaid using transparencies. Maps showing
such characteristics as depth to bedrock, soil
drainage, slope, and vegetation are combined to
determine residential suitability. The outcome is
a suitability map for each prospective land use
under consideration.
. The suitability maps for the individual land uses
are combined into a composite map using transparent overlays. The composite map reects a
pattern of light and dark colors indicating the estimated suitability for all prospective land uses.
The interpretation and documentation of the
composite map may be used in allocating land
uses or may serve as an input into a larger ecological or land-use study.

A closer examination of McHargs application

of the suitability method in numerous projects reveals that there are two basic versions, quantitative
and qualitative. The six steps described above are
illustrative of the quantitative variation. The homogenous areas mentioned in step are rated to
obtain a grand index of suitability. The Richmond
Parkway Study and the Staten Island Study, described in Design with Nature, exemplify the application of the quantitative version of McHargs
method. Even though overlays were used, the
process of overlying maps to determine suitability
was a mathematical operation equivalent to assigning weights to the subhomogenous areas and
totaling the weights to obtain an index of suitability.33
In contrast, the qualitative version follows a
dierent path after step . The subhomogenous areas are not rated; in fact, they may be described in
terms of ecological zones and key characteristics
pertinent to land-use decisions. Experts then de-

velop and apply land-use and ecological principles

to relate suitability to the homogenous areas.
McHarg used the quantitative version in his
Plan for the Valley study. McHarg and his colleagues assessed the suitability for urban development of square miles ( sq. km), or approximately , acres (, ha.) within the greater
Baltimore region. This area contained widespread
valleys, plateaus, wooded ridges, and an intricate
array of many land uses. Based on the social, economic, and physical characteristics of the region,
McHarg and his colleagues made a number of
propositions that guided the ecological study of
the region. For example, they postulated that the
region could accommodate all prospective growth
without degrading the landscape. They then used
two factors, topography and vegetation, to distinguish ve ecological zones or homogenous areas:
valley oors, unforested valley walls, forested valley walls, forested plateau, and unforested plateau
(Fig. .).
Development guidelines were prescribed for
each of these homogenous areas. In the valleyoor zone, for instance, McHarg and his partners
proposed restrictions on development except for
land uses that were compatible with the extant
pastoral scenery, such as agriculture, very-lowdensity residential, and parks and recreation. In
contrast, they designated the unforested plateau as
the area to receive the most intensive development. To ensure that these guidelines were workable, McHarg and his colleagues projected future
land-use demands in the region and correlated
them with the proposed land suitability.

Other Methods
In the late s C. S. Christian, an Australian who
worked for the Commonwealth Scientic and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), developed a land-classication system for assessing the
landscapes potential to support various uses.34
Similar to Angus Hillss classication system,
Christians broke the landscape into progressively

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Unforested plateau, forested plateau, and forested valley wall. Reproduced, by permission, from
McHarg, Design with Nature.

smaller homogenous tracts of land using criteria

such as variations in geological features and landforms. Christians system, also known as the Australian system of classication, is useful in conducting preliminary appraisals for extremely large
regions. Much of his work has been adapted by international organizations, including the International Union of Conservation for Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
Ervin Zube, formerly chair of the Department
of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
at the University of Massachusetts and now professor emeritus at the University of Arizona,
considered both visual and cultural factors and

natural-resource characteristics in order to understand and analyze landscapes. Parallel eorts took
place in Britain in the mid- to late s largely
through the eorts of K. D. Fines and his colleagues in East Sussex. In the Nantucket Island Study, in Massachusetts, Zube, C. A. Carlozzi,
and others identied signicant landscape types
on the island based on visual indicators.35 The landscape types were horizontal landscape; highestquality landscape; linear pond, marshes, and meadows; and shoreline landscape. Experts and lay
people ranked the landscape types according to
their perceived value for public use, preservation,
and conservation. This information was com-

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Landscape synthesis, Nantucket Island. Redrawn from Zube and Carlozzi, Inventory and Interpretation
Selected Resources of the Island of Nantucket, by M. Rapelje, .

bined with natural-resource data to arrive at a

composite landscape-synthesis map (Fig. .).
In addition, Zube, in his resource-assessment study of the U.S. Virgin Islands, classied the
landscape hierarchically into visual units based on
criteria such as visual dierences in landforms, visual contrast and variety, and signicant visual elements, such as bodies of water.36 The visual units
were assessed by experts and lay people for protection, conservation, or development.
Another area in which important contributions
were made in the s was that of assessing the
impact of development. Richard Toth, formerly at
the University of Pennsylvania and now at Utah
State University, developed a method for analyzing
the natural characteristics of the landscape in order to estimate the impact of development. He
used this method in the study he conducted for the
Tock Island Regional Advisory Council in Pennsylvania in .37 Toth used matrices to identify
and display the frequency and the ecological

consequences of interactions among key natural

characteristics, such as topography and soils, and
land-use needs. He summarized the predicted consequences of the interactions as a guide for future
allocation of land uses.
Utilizing hand-drawn overlays to combine resource factor maps in suitability analysis may be
cumbersome, expensive, and sometimes inecient,
especially when many options for land-use allocation are desired. Moreover, a limited number of
variables can be included in formulating alternative land-use options. To address some of these
problems, Carl Steinitz and his colleagues at Harvard University applied computer technology in
numerous projects they conducted beginning in
the mid-s in order to improve the eciency
and economy of managing information (Fig.
.).38 Their use of computer technology also
enabled the integration of social and economic
considerations in suitability assessments and
permitted the evaluation and prediction of the

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Carl Steinitz, at Harvard, has been at the forefront in advancing and rening methods for ecological
planning, including the integration of computer technology in land-suitability assessments. Photograph
courtesy of C. Steinitz, .

spatial consequences of alternative land-use options. The work of Steinitz and his colleagues
marked the beginning of the use of interactive
land-use-suitability models in the United States.
LSA methods oer ways to evaluate the optimal
uses of the landscape but predominately emphasize the natural characteristics. Even though these
methods evolved in an ad hoc manner, linked to
specic individuals and projects, they display an increasing level of sophistication based on substantive and procedural principles and on the techniques they oer for inventorying the relevant
natural and cultural features of the landscape and
assessing their suitability for varied uses. In order
of increasing sophistication, the methods are:
gestalt; landscape-unit and landscape-classication
methods; landscape-resource survey and assessment; and allocation evaluation.
The gestalt method is used in making elemen-

tal judgments of suitability. Landscape-unit and

landscape-classication methods divide the landscape into homogenous areas independent of the
prospective land uses based on a single criterion
(NRCS, Zube, Litton) or on multiple criteria
(Hills, Christian). Resource-survey and resourceanalysis methods dene homogenous areas in order to determine their suitability for prospective
land uses. Suitable lands are selected either by
eliminating lands deemed unsuitable for the potential land uses (e.g., Lewiss delineation of environmental corridors and resource nodes) or by establishing compatibilities between the natural and
cultural characteristics used in dening the homogenous areas (e.g., McHargs Staten Island
Study). In addition, suitability analysis may focus
on a single use, such as recreation (Lewis), or on
multiple land uses (as in numerous projects undertaken by McHarg and his colleagues, such as
their Comprehensive Landscape Plan for
Washington, D.C., or the Ecological Study
for the Twin Cities Metropolitan Region in Minnesota).
Landscape-resource survey and assessment
methods also permit the evaluation of environmental impacts. Examples include Toths Tock Island Study and McHargs Least Social Cost
Corridor Study for the Richmond Parkway. The
Parkway study heavily inuenced the articulation
of the conceptual base of the environmentalimpact assessment, which is the centerpiece of
NEPA.39 However, the impacts are implied but not
reported explicitly.
Allocation-evaluation methods, which were only
in the formative stages in the late s, assign land
uses to dierent locations on a tract of land and
assess the social, economic, and environmental
consequences of alternative land-use options.
Computer-assisted methods proposed by Steinitz
and his colleagues, for instance, can be used to assess the landscape to determine suitability and to
evaluate the impacts of alternative land-use options. These methods broaden the criteria tradi-

The First Landscape-Suitability Approach

tionally used in determining landscape suitability

to include social and economic criteria. In addition, they employ computer technology, which
enhances the ability to manage complex and diverse information.
LSA methods are also varied in their ability
to address development and conservation or
preservation issues in both urbanizing and natural or rural areas. Variations of the McHarg
method can address both, as can other methods,
such as computer-assisted methods. Some LSA
methods are useful in dealing with one specic
type of land use, such as conservation or preservation; however, they may also be used to make
informed judgments about suitability for other
uses. Examples include the NRCS capability system, Hillss physiographic-unit method, Zubes
visual-resource method, and Lewiss resourcepattern method. Other LSA methods focus on ascertaining suitability for a specic land use; for example, the Lewis method emphasizes recreational
land use.
Problems may arise when a method developed
to establish landscape suitability for one type of
use is adapted to establish landscape suitability for
other types of uses. For example, the use of the
NRCS classication for planning and resourcemanagement purposes produces inconsistent results. While it accurately identies septic-tank limitations, it is inconsistent in determining home
sites and roads.40
In general, LSA methods are primarily used
to address macro-scaled issues rather than sitespecic projects. However, this does not mean that
they cannot be adapted to deal with site-specic
issues. For example, the NRCS soil-classication
maps are usually published on a county-by-county
basis, and the soils are mapped at a scale of
:,, yet the soil information can be adapted to
address site-specic conservation and development issues as long as on-site investigations are
conducted to validate the data. In contrast, the
gestalt method is useful in understanding and an-

alyzing small tracts of land. As the size of the parcel of land increases, it becomes more dicult to
fully comprehend the parcel in its entirety. Another notable exception is Hillss physiographicunit method, which was designed to address
multi-scaled issues. Since the method involves a hierarchical classication based on variations in
landform and climate, it can be applied at a variety
of scales by combining the appropriate physiographic units appropriate to the scale of the study
area, for example, by combining physiographic
site classes to create landscape components.
LSA methods vary remarkably in the extent to
which expert or nonexpert judgments are used to
determine landscape suitability. For instance, the
McHarg method relies predominantly on expert
judgment or scientic knowledge to assess suitability, even though the logic of the process of establishing and ranking the interactions between
homogenous areas and potential land uses suggests both objective and subjective judgments.41 In
the NRCS and Christian classication schemes expert judgment was used to assign soils to various
classes and to prescribe varied land uses.
Hills used expert judgment to assess the landscapes existing and true potential; however, the
projected potential of the landscape to support
varied uses was based on expert judgment and on
the value-based opinions of policymakers. Similarly, Zube and Carlozzi used both expert and nonexpert judgments to assess the visual units in their
method. Lewis involved public ocials and local
inhabitants not only to collect and assess the pertinent data but also to increase their awareness of
regional design values crucial to the successful
protection of the environmental corridors. Although the LSA methods make use of both expert and nonexpert judgment, they ultimately rely
heavily on expert judgment to synthesize the outcome of suitability assessment.
With few exceptions, LSA methods rarely take
an active management orientation; that is, the outputs of suitability assessment rarely result in crite-

Ecological Planning

ria for management actions. These methods rarely

oer strategies for predicting the cumulative consequences of the outcomes of suitability assessments.42 However, some LSA methods, such as
Angus Hillss, suggest substantive management
guidelines that would put the outcome of suitability assessment into eect. Rarely do LSA
methods recommend institutional arrangements
or administrative strategies to implement the outcome of suitability assessments.

In conclusion, signicant theoretical-methodological advances in landscape-suitability methods

occurred in the s. However, they only hinted at
the developments in ecological-planning approaches
that would occur subsequently. As the nature, scope,
and complexity of ecological issues increased, and
as public awareness of the negative environmental
impacts of human actions rose worldwide, the
need to develop accurate, legally defensible landscape-suitability methods strengthened.

the second landscapesuitability approach

As discussed in chapter , in the nal three decades of the twentieth century there
was increased pressure on professionals in landscape architecture, planning, and
allied disciplines to develop approaches for evaluating landscapes that were
legally defensible, accurate, technically and ecologically sound, open to scrutiny
by the public, and implementable. The result was a proliferation of approaches
to ecological planning. The second landscape-suitability approach (LSA ) represents theoretical-methodological innovations in the evolution of the landscapesuitability approach.
Profound advances were made in the conceptual base, as well as in the procedural principles and the techniques for estimating landscape suitability. Researchers and practitioners reinterpreted and broadened the concept of suitability to emphasize how the optimal uses of the landscape could best be determined
and sustained. By optimal use is meant the best use, but with all things considered,
including ecological, social, and economic factors.
Seeking the optimal uses of the landscape represents a shift away from considering only ecological factors in determining suitability; it means also considering
changing economic circumstances: the supply and demand of land, varying human needs and values, political realities, and new technologies. Together, these
forces drive the evolution of the landscape.1 The planner Andrew Gold argued
that it is intrinsic suitability in conjunction with the values people place on the
use of intrinsically suitable lands that should determine the correct allocation.2
Of course, these values are social, economic, and political in nature. A recognition of these values in holistic ecological planning is what largely separates LSA

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Transactions between economic, social,
and biophysical factors that
dene landscape suitability.

from the earlier LSA . A simplied heuristic

model illuminates the transactions among the major considerations essential in determining the optimal uses of the landscape (Fig. .).
In LSA , landscape suitability is determined by
the dialectic balance between economic, social,
and biophysical factors. Technological issues are
included in the economic factors, while legal and
political issues are included in the sociocultural
factors. In determining suitability, these factors
may be examined based on assumptions made
about them, such as development trends, economic costs and benets, user needs and values,
and acceptable levels of environmental degradation. Or the factors may be used as criteria incorporated into logical combination rules or rating
systems for establishing landscape suitability.
Not surprisingly, the central questions addressed in estimating suitability expanded with
LSA . In addition to examining the sites or regions environmental suitability for a particular
land use, LSA asks, What type, amount, and intensity of modications to the landscape are necessary to maintain an optimal degree of ecological
stability and productivity? By what social, economic, and political circumstances is the optimal
land use guided, and how is it inuenced by technological forces? For instance, if biotechnology

results in rapid increases in production, large

amounts of agricultural land will become surplus,
which in turn could aect the nal estimation of
landscape suitability. Additionally, what are the
long-range social and environmental costs and
benets associated with alternative land-suitability
options? How can choices among competing suitability options be made? How is the optimal option implemented?
Researchers and practitioners have proposed
suitability methods that address one or more of
these questions. In this chapter I examine LSA
methods by reviewing the major substantive and
procedural themes that distinguish them from
LSA methods. I then examine the major types of
methods based on their theoretical intent and procedures, using actual examples to illustrate variations within each group. Finally, I reect on the
substantive and procedural developments in LSA

Ecological Concepts
In addition to reecting expanded concerns in estimating landscape suitability, LSA methods attempt to better describe landscape dynamics by

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

reinterpreting concepts dealing with the functioning of landscapes and integrating them into suitability analysis. Whenever possible, researchers and
practitioners interpret the boundaries of a tract of
land in terms of naturally occurring systems or
ecosystems. Once the tract of land is described in
terms of ecosystems, it may be possible to integrate
into suitability analyses ecosystem concepts that are
useful in understanding how landscapes function
and evolve. The primary ecological concept is succession, or ecosystem development, and the related
ecological concepts are ecosystem stability, resilience, diversity, sustainability, and productivity.
Stability is a fundamental characteristic of mature
ecosystems. The ecologist Eugene Odum pointed
out that all ecosystems go through a process of
maturation, or succession, from the pioneer state
to the climax stage, which is a stabilized ecosystem. He continued: The capacity to live in a
crowded world of limited resources has a greater
value of survival in the climax.3 In the climax
stage the ecosystem has low entropy, and energy
is used more for maintenance than for growth.
The ability of the ecosystem to survive perturbations increases. Organisms also become more ecient in processing energy and materials since they
have larger storage capacity, engage in more cooperative associations, and possess more niche
specialization and more complex life cycles. The
climax stage is not static, however; it is subject to
lags, feedbacks, and perturbations.
There are two types of stability: resilience stability, the ability to recover rapidly after being disturbed, and resistance stability, the ability to remain
stable when disturbed. Rapid recovery is enhanced
by the presence of many species in the landscape.
However, contemporary ecologists disagree on
whether species diversity increases resilience stability. Sustainability, which is related to stability, is
a process that moves the landscape toward permanence, or continued stability.

Production is the conversion of energy by organisms in a particular area and over a given period of
time into high-quality organic matter. High rates
of production are contingent upon physical factors such as water, climate, and nutrients and upon
the availability of energy subsidies needed to reduce the day-to-day maintenance of organisms.
Productivity increases in the pioneering stages of
succession and declines in the climax stage.
The logic governing the use of the concepts of
ecological stability and productivity in estimating
suitability is easy to grasp. We depend on the landscape for food and ber, which are produced in
vast amounts in the pioneer stages of succession.
Yet, we need mature landscapes to serve as a hedge
against adverse conditions because of the accumulated organic matter they contain. Thus, we are
faced with balancing the use of the landscape for
production and protection while at the same time
ensuring sustained stability. Ecosystem development and its associated concepts of stability, resilience, diversity, and productivity provide us with
the basis for estimating the optimal uses of the
How can we determine the critical points (in
space and time) in the maturation of a landscape
so that its continued use for production will not
eventually degrade it? To answer this question, I
introduce the concepts of carrying capacity, opportunity and constraints, environmental impact, and
landscape regeneration, all substantive concepts in

Substantive Concepts in Landscape Suitability

Carrying Capacity
Carrying capacity is a concept that grew out of the
eld of population ecology and now is used
widely in other elds including wildlife, recreation, and planning.4 Biologists dene it as the
number of organisms, or biomass, that a given
habitat can support without signicant deteriora-

Ecological Planning

tion. Sociologists refer to carrying capacity as the

volume and intensity of use that can be sustained
without degrading the environments future sustainability for that use.5 Put dierently, carrying
capacity expresses the best empirical approximations of the ability of the landscape to recover
from disturbance. This assumes, of course, that
the organisms have more or less the same impacts
on the landscape, which often is not the case. If, indeed, suitability analysis is concerned with ascertaining the optimal uses of the landscape, one way
of doing so is to determine the threshold carrying
capacity of the landscape for dierent uses. Thus,
carrying capacity can be used as a surrogate measure to establish the optimal uses of the landscape.
Research concerned with the potential linkages
between landscape suitability analysis and carrying capacity has been one major direction for improving the estimation of landscape suitability.
Landscape Opportunities and Constraints
The critical points in the evolution of a landscape
at which its capacity for continued production will
not lead to degradation can also be established by
understanding the dialectic between the opportunities and the constraints of natural and cultural
landscape characteristics for dierent human uses.
By focusing on opportunities, we can identify locations where human actions will create the least
disturbance to the landscape or even improve the
productivity of the landscape. An example of improvement is landscape restoration, which reintroduces successional processes to previously
disturbed sites. In contrast, concentrating on constraints helps identity locations where disturbance
from human actions limits the continued productivity of the landscape and perhaps degrades it.
This is the fundamental idea underlying many applications of suitability analysis, including most of
the work done by McHarg and his colleagues and
students at the University of Pennsylvania.6 In
LSA methods the selection and combination of
factors for determining opportunities and con-

straints were improved for enhanced ecological

and technical validity, and social and economic
considerations were also included.
Impact Assessment
Examining the potential social, economic, and environmental consequences of human actions in
the landscape is another way to ensure that a sites
or regions resilience stability and resistance stability will not be exceeded. This is the underlying
logic of environmental-impact assessment (EIA),
the centerpiece of the National Environmental
Policy Act. It requires identifying developmental
actions that will not exceed the ability of the landscape to recover from disturbance and developing
measures to counteract the potential negative
eects. EIAs thus address many questions: Which
actions impact upon which components of the
landscape at what points, in what ways, and to
what degree? at what social, economic, and environmental costs? What corrective measures may
be needed to mitigate the signicant developmental impacts? Making EIAs an explicit, integral component of suitability analyses led to improvements
in estimating the optimal uses of the landscape.
By the same token, focusing on impacts after
suitability options are generated may encourage
the development of options that are not in harmony with nature. Given current knowledge
about the complexity of ecosystems, we can only
predict the results of disturbance to a certain degree. Cause-and-eect relationships are not entirely linear, and some impacts do not manifest
themselves immediately. Nevertheless, the consideration of impacts has broadened the type and
number of factors used in estimating suitability
and has been another feature of LSA .
Landscape Regeneration
The concept of regeneration is a more recent addition to LSA . It was urged persuasively by John
Tillman Lyle in Regenerative Design for Sustainable
Development () and practiced extensively by the

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Philadelphia landscape architects Andropogon,

made up of four former McHarg students, Carol
Franklin, Colin Franklin, Leslie Sauer, and Rolf
Sauer.7 Regeneration focuses on renewing the resources of the landscape to ensure that the essential ecological processes continue. It is based on
the idea that the landscape provides ongoing ber,
energy, and materials for daily physical and economic activities. Since energy cannot be created or
destroyed, only transformed from one state to
another (rst law of thermodynamics), it follows
that energy and materials must always be renewed. The reason for embracing the notion of
regeneration in estimating landscape suitability,
therefore, is to ensure sustainability or the continued stability of landscapes.

Procedural Issues
In using suitability analyses to estimate the optimal uses of the landscape we assume an interdependency among physical, biological, and social
processes. Natural and cultural landscapes are the
outcome of an integrated and dynamic series of
geological, hydrological, climatological, pedological, locational, and cultural-technological processes.8 The idea of interdependency is consistent
with an implicit assumption in general systems
theory that all systemic [interdependent] relationships are fundamentally in harmony so long as
the system itself remains in a state of equilibrium
with its environment.9 Most LSA methods also
stressed systems thinking but focused on one
scale, in contrast to LSA methods, which focused
on multiple scales.
Landscapes, however, are interacting mosaics of
ecosystems connected through the ow of energy
and materials. A richer understanding of how
landscapes function suggests adopting a hierarchical perspective a common feature in thinking, understanding, and organization.10 This may explain
why ecologists examine landscapes at dierent
scales, such as population, community, and ecosystem, since each scale has special properties.

As Gerald Young and his colleagues remarked:

Thinking in terms of level formalizes the partwhole relationship, implies synthesis as well as
analysis, provides context and implies interdependence.11 By implication, what is considered a
whole at on one level become a part at a higher
level.12 Consequently, proponents of LSA methods have paid more attention to multiscale understanding and analysis of landscapes.
The technical operations used in determining
landscape suitability also have been improved. Important contributions were made by the landscape
architects and planners Lewis Hopkins, Bruce
MacDougall, and Carl Steinitz.13 These individuals critically examined the way landscape suitability was determined and made suggestions for improved accuracy.14
Most techniques for analyzing the relationships
between landscape characteristics fall into one or
more of the categories Hopkins examined in his
widely read article published in , Methods for
Generating Land Suitability Maps: A Comparative
Evaluation. These are: ordinal combination, linear
combination, nonlinear combination, factor combination, and rules of combination. The techniques follow steps similar to those used in chapter to illustrate McHargs method (see Fig. .). They
dier, however, in the degree of explicitness in
dening homogenous areas, in the mathematical
validity of operations used to combine natural and
cultural characteristics, and in the handling of interdependencies among the characteristics.
Ordinal Combination
Ordinal combination is a variation of the overlay
technique used by Olmsted and Eliot and then by
Warren Manning in his plan for Billerica, Massachusetts. McHarg revolutionized and provided
a theoretical base for ordinal combination, especially in his Richmond Parkway study (). The
study involved () mapping the pertinent landscape characteristics; () rating the features of
each landscape characteristic, such as soil depth or

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Ordinal-combination method. Redrawn

from Chapin and Kaiser,
Urban Land Use Planning,
by M. Rapelje, .

soil drainage, for each prospective land use; ()

preparing single-characteristic suitability maps for
each prospective land use; and () combining the
single-characteristic suitability maps into a composite suitability map. Using transparent overlays,
the composite map shows shades of gray that depict the spatial patterns of suitability for the prospective land uses. The lighter the gray, the more
suitable the use (Fig. .).
According to Lewis Hopkin, overlaying shaded
maps is the graphic equivalent of adding numbers.
That is, whenever two or more shades of dierent
strengths are overlaid, the strength of the composite shade can be predicted mathematically.
Since these shades represent individual ratings of
each landscape characteristic for each land use,
overlaying them to develop a composite map is
an invalid mathematical operation, equivalent to

combining numbers that indicate that a value is

higher or lower without indicating how much. In
addition, the operations does not assume that interdependencies exist among the combined characteristics. For example, the type of vegetation on
a parcel of land may be dependent on the type and
conditions of the soil. Because of these problems,
ordinal combination is not a preferred technique
for landscape suitability analysis using LSA methods.
Linear Combination
Linear combination takes into account the relative
importance of the natural and cultural characteristics by placing the characteristics on a common
scale and using a multiplier to indicate their relative
importance. The suitability for each land use based
on each characteristic can then be determined.

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

The common scale expresses each characteristic as a proportion of maximum observed values,
say, from to . It accounts for the relative importance of categories of landscape characteristics
in determining landscape suitability for a particular use, for example, whether soil depth is more
important that soil drainage in determining residential suitability? Similarly, the multiplier accounts for the relative inuence importance of
dierent characteristics, such as whether topography is more important than soils or vegetation in
establishing residential suitability?
A variation of the linear-combination technique is the weighed-overlay technique proposed
by Steinitz and his Harvard colleagues. Another
variation was used by the late John Lyle and Mark
von Wodtke in developing an information system
for planning, which they implemented in planning
for the coastal plain of San Diego County in the
mid-s. While the technique overcomes one of
the problems of the ordinal method, it still assumes independence of landscape characteristics
used to establish suitability. For instance, it may
not account for the fact that the soil erodibility
may depend on soil type, slope, and ground cover.
Nonlinear Combination
In some instances the interdependence among
landscape characteristics is such that the composite suitability map cannot be deduced merely
by overlaying individual suitability maps. In order words, the equation used in moving from
step to in Figure . would contain a nonlinear
relationship. In such situations, the nonlinearcombination technique is useful since it uses a
mathematical function to capture the relationship.
In practice, however, the relationship between pertinent landscape characteristics is rarely suciently understood to be dened precisely by
mathematical equations. Even when it is, the number of landscape characteristics usually considered
are few, requiring additional analysis to estimate
landscape suitability. Obvious examples are the

equations for computing soil loss and runo based

on slope, soil type, and land cover.
Factor Combination
Another way of accounting for interrelationships
is to combine the individual landscape characteristics into homogenous areas before assigning
suitability ratings. This is exactly what the factorcombination technique does. The Plan for the
Valley developed by the rm of McHarg-Wallace
Associates illustrates this technique (see Fig. .).
Using two natural landscape characteristics, forest
cover and topography, they generated ve homogenous areas: valley forests, unforested valley, forested
valley walls, forested plateau, and unforested plateau. Rather than using numerical ratings to establish suitability, they developed management
guidelines for each homogenous area. The guidelines were derived by relating land uses to the ecological features of the homogenous areas.
Factor combination can take into account the
interactions among the characteristics of the landscape when assigning suitability ratings. Imagine,
however, that Wallace and McHarg had used ve
landscape characteristics instead of two in delineating the homogenous areas. The number of homogenous areas would have increased exponentially, making the estimation of suitability too
cumbersome and even impractical. Rules of combination have the potential to overcome this problem.
Rules of Combination
A class of techniques known as rules of combination employ rules in examining the relationship
between natural and cultural phenomena. The
rules dene the logic for combining ecological,
economic, social, or aesthetic considerations to estimate suitability. Similar to other techniques, the
rules-of-combination techniques begin by mapping out the pertinent individual landscape characteristics. Then, the characteristics are combined
to develop explicit homogenous areas in a manner

Ecological Planning

similar to that used by the Wallace-McHarg Plan

for the Valley. Next, explicit rules are used to assign
suitability. Because the rules can be applied to
whole sets of combinations, the number of homogenous areas to be examined explicitly is reduced substantially.
Rules, if stated correctly, can also handle interdependency among landscape characteristics.
Moreover, they make explicit the basis for judging
suitability. A simple rule for estimating suitability
for residential land use, for instance, may be to exclude areas that are prone to ooding, possess
slopes of percent or greater, contain lowland
hardwoods, and are located within a quarter-mile
of public sewer and water mains. The logic governing this rule is that certain types of landscapes
may be degraded by development and thus should
be protected. Moreover, the nancial costs of development may increase substantially if the proposed development is not located in close proximity to existing infrastructure.
Thomas Ingmire, Tito Patri, and David Streateld used rules of combination in their proposal
for an environmental-degradation early-warning
system for the Santa Cruz Mountain Range in
the San Francisco metropolitan region in .15
Narendra Juneja used it in developing performance measures for Medford Township, New
Jersey, in , and Frederick Steiner used it in locating rural housing in Whitman County, Washington, in .16 I used it in to study the feasibility of locating multiple land uses along the
shoreline of the Richard B. Russell Lake, one of
the three lakes along the Savannah River located at
the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina.17 Most of McHargs work used rules of
combination, though he is often associated with
the ordinal-combination technique. The primary
consideration in using rules of combination is to
make sure that the rules are theoretically and technically appropriate for the intended use.
These ve techniquesordinal combination,
linear combination, nonlinear combination, factor

combination, and rules of combinationhave

several complementary characteristics. Thus, depending on the proposed land use, it may be necessary to use one or more techniques. For instance, Hopkins suggested to begin by using linear
and nonlinear techniques in combining those familiar and well-understood landscape characteristics (social and economic considerations may be
included) and then complement these techniques
by applying rules of combination to account for
environmental (social and economic) impacts and
the cost implications for which precise mathematical relationships are unknown.
Much analysis of the characteristics of the landscape is carried out using statistical analysis. More
often, statistical analysis is used within LSA
methods to dene homogenous areas and analyze
natural and cultural data. Statistics refers to the
body of techniques or methodologies that have
been developed for the collection, classication,
and analysis of data. Statistical techniques serve
two broad functions, descriptive and inferential.
Descriptive statistics is used to summarize numerical data to make them more manageable and useful. Examples include measures of central tendency, such as mode, mean, and median; measures
of dispersion, including standard deviation and
variance; and bivariate relationships. Biologists
have used descriptive statistics to provide information on the character of a woodland by examining
the type, distribution, density, and height of tree
stands. Such information is useful in classifying the
landscape into units that are similar in one or more
In contrast, inferential statistics enable generalizations to be made based on limited observations.
It is a more useful tool in ecological planning since
it can be used to predict the mathematical probability of future events based on historical trends.
Examples include one- and two-tailed t-tests,
analysis of variance, cluster analysis, multiple regression, and factor analysis. The use of inferential
statistics in ecological planning ranges from iden-

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

tifying locations in a study area that are hazardous

to human health and safety, such as ood zones
and re-prone areas, to estimating soil productivity.
Another type of statistical analysis frequently
used in ecological assessment is nonparametric statistics. Nonparametric statistics is useful in analyzing data that do not have a magnitude but can be
ranked in relation to one another, such as soil type,
vegetation, or slope. One frequent use of nonparametric statistics is in analyzing how people
value dierent characteristics of the landscape. In
this instance, nonparametric Q-sort tests have
been extremely useful.
Despite the capabilities of inferential statistics,
descriptive statistics is used more frequently in
ecological planning, perhaps because the input
data requirements are less stringent, among other
considerations. Regardless, both types of statistical analysis can be performed by computers,
thereby making them powerful tools in describing
and analyzing landscapes.
Rapid developments in computer technology
have improved the accuracy, eciency, and economy of information handling, mostly in large and
complex projects. Some computer programs are
intended to model the location of landscape processes and phenomena, while others are designed
for comprehensive information storage, manipulation, management, retrieval, and display. Over
the past three decades the ability of computers to

store and manipulate information has expanded

Spatial information consists of data referenced in
two or three dimensions by spatial coordinates.
The computer can store this information digitally
in three types of format: cell, polygon, and imageprocessing.18 When a cell (or raster) format is used,
spatial information is stored in square grids resembling a checkerboard (Fig. .). The data in
each grid are aggregated for each characteristic of
the landscape under study. For example, if the
characteristic is soil, the data recorded in a grid
may be percent of sandy clay loam, percent
of loamy silt, and percent of silty clay. The primary advantage of a cell format is that the data
stored can be compared easily since the same geographical unit is used. The disadvantage is that details can be omitted if the cells are not very small.
Moreover, information is lost in the process of aggregation.
A polygon (or vector) format assumes that the
earth surface is made up of irregular enclosed
lines. Data are stored by recording the coordinates
of points along the lines. Thus, a soil map can be
displayed as polygons with lines enclosing similar
soil types. A major advantage of the polygon format is that data are referenced more precisely. The
closer the points, the more precise the geographical specicity. A disadvantage is that the data govern the size, number, and conguration of the
polygon. When a datum (e.g., soil) has may sub-

Image not available.

Fig. .. Mapped areas represented by grid cells. Reproduced, by permission, from Laird et al., Quantitative LandCapability Analysis.

Ecological Planning

types scattered over an area, the number and size

of the polygons increase. In turn, the operations
and storage abilities of the computer must increase in order to process the data to accomplish a
desired goal, such as overlaying the data with other
data, such as topography or vegetation.
The image-processing format is similar to the grid
format, but the size of the grid is smaller, comparable to what one would observe on a television
screen. Only a single point in the grid is recorded;
that is, the point recorded is assumed to be representative of the grid. Thus, maps can be created directly from photo imagery such as Landsat imagery or aerial photographs. Image processing has
the advantage of referencing spatial data easily and
precisely. Yet, it has a remarkably greater internalstorage capacity than do the cell and polygon formats. A drawback is that it is based on the idea of
homogeneity of an area surrounding a dot, which
in turn is contingent on the size of the dot.
In the past three decades the array of operations
that computers can perform has broadened immensely. The speed for performing them has increased rapidly, and the quality and quantity of the
software for dealing with ecological issues has increased. Because of these advances there is a great
tendency to use computer technology in determining landscape suitability. Occasions exist, however, when manual techniques may be more appropriate, for instance, when the study area is
small or it is necessary to evaluate, discuss, and
even change focus in the process of determining
Despite the promising capabilities of computer
technology, many have cautioned that, to use
Frederick Steiners words, the results developed
through the use of a computer system are only as
good as the procedure employed and the quality
of data used.19 Moreover, nancial costs, time,
human power, and the availability of pertinent
data are important considerations when deciding
whether to use computers to estimate landscape

Similar developments in remote-sensing technology enhanced the ability to capture spatial

information more accurately. The major developments include the invention of the multi-spectral
scanner, which can provide separate images of the
same area on the ground; the ability to capture information more precisely and at a very small scale;
and the ability to store information electronically.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is at the forefront of developments
in remote-sensing technology. Its rst earth-resources satellite, commonly known as Landsat,
was launched in . Since then many more satellites have been launched in the United States and
other countries, such as France and Russia. The
data obtained from the earlier satellites had a resolution of . acres. Todays satellites are capable
of producing a spatial resolution of square meters, or . square feet.

The combined eects of these advances in substantive and procedural themes, in techniques, and
in technology have vastly increased the diversity
and sophistication of landscape-suitability methods. Four major types of LSA methods may be
discerned based on the cumulative functions
they perform and on the steps in the ecologicalplanning process they emphasize.20 The four types
of methods are () landscape-unit and landscapeclassication methods; () landscape-resource survey and assessment methods; () allocation and
evaluation methods; and () allocation, evaluation
and implementation methods, or strategic landscape-suitability methods.
Within each of these four types some methods
are tailored to handle single-resource issues, such
as locating a highway, while others deal with allocating multiple resources on a given tract of land.
One would expect variations even within the same
type of methods. Although I do not include the

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

gestalt method among the four major types, it is a

valid LSA method.

Landscape-Unit and LandscapeClassication Methods

Landscape-unit and landscape-classication methods categorize the natural and cultural characteristics of the landscape into homogenous areas
based on predetermined of criteria, regardless of
the prospective land uses. The resultant areas are
interpreted systematically to investigate the relationships between the natural and cultural characteristics of the landscape with respect to a given
end, for example, assessing the impacts of development or determining landscape suitability for
other uses.
Besides providing a way for conceptualizing the
landscape, some of the methods serve a practical
purpose as well. They reduce the enormous costs
of data collection associated with ecological planning since most of the information is presented in
a map format with an accompanying explanatory
text. Landscape-unit and landscape-classication
methods examined in my review of LSA include
the NRCS capability system, the Hills physiographic-unit method, and the Christian, or Australian, method.
LSA landscape-unit and landscape-classication methods examined the landscape in a static
way. If landscape processes were deemed important, they were described in text accompanying
the classication. From the early s on, the
landscape-unit and landscape-classication methods were improved to ensure that the homogenous areas would be meaningful ecological units.
Additional emphasis was placed on interpretive
rather than descriptive features of the landscape;
inclusion of social and economic information;
adaptability to macro- and micro-scaled issues; enhancement of information-management capabilities; and improvement of the clarity of information communicated to intended users.
Since landscape-unit and landscape-classica-

tion methods reect ways in which people impose

order on natural and cultural phenomena, the
possibility for variation is innite (Table .). As
Warmsley and Van Narnveld explained, Classication systems are simply contrivances of people,
structured to suit their particular needs, reecting
the development of science at that point.21 Obvious variations in LSA landscape-unit and landscape-classication methods that deserve further
comment are those that () focus on a single landscape characteristic, () emphasize multiple landscape characteristics, () identify ecological homogenous areas explicitly, and () include social,
cultural, and economic considerations. In addition, I briey review computerization of classication systems and provide a preliminary critique
of the landscape-unit and landscape-classication
Focus on a Single Landscape Characteristic
Some LSA methods delineate the homogenous
areas to denote the productivity and quality of the
landscape by isolating similar properties of an individual natural resource, such as soils or vegetation. Examples include the NRCS soil surveys, the
Canadian Land Inventory (CLI) system, and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife classication of wetlands
(Fig. .).22 The information obtained using these
methods is presented in a raw or an interpretive
Presented in a raw form, the methods provide
baseline data on a single characteristic of the landscape, such as wetland and wildlife surveys, which
may be combined into a program of several independent surveys. Presented in an interpretive
form, the information may be used independently
or in combination with other information to assist
in determining landscape suitability. The NRCS
soil survey and the CLI system are excellent examples since soils are grouped into classes based
on their capability for production. The CLI system
was designed to produce land-capability information and to provide an information base for im-

Ecological Planning

Table .. Selected Landscape-Unit and Landscape-Classification Methods

Image not available.

proved resource planning. Land-capability information was established for six classes of land
uses, including agriculture, forestry, recreation,
and wildlife. Similar to the NRCS classication,
the CLI system devised a set of numerical classes
() to indicate limitations within each capability
Focus on Multiple Landscape Characteristics
Other landscape-unit and landscape-classication
methods delineate homogenous areas by exploring the interrelationships between the natural and
cultural characteristics of the landscape. The relationships can be used to determine the quality, stability, resilience, or productivity of the landscape.
Again, the resultant information is presented either in a raw or an interpretive form. For example,
McHarg and his colleagues at the University of
Pennsylvania developed the layer-cake model as a
way to better conceptualize and understand the
evolution and interrelationships among physical,

biological, and sociocultural processes (see Fig.

.). The model displays the interrelationships in a
historical sequence culminating in a causative explanation of the processes. By understanding the
landscapes physical processes, such as climate,
geology, and soils, we can better understand the
corresponding biological processes. In turn, the
history of a locations physical and biological
processes helps to explain the nature of human
inuences on the landscape.
Holdridges bioclimatic-life-zones classication
is another example of an attempt to dene the
relationships between natural and cultural phenomena (Fig. .). Although the classication was
developed in the late s, I discuss it here because of its focus on associations that can be used
to make judgments about the type and quality of
plant associations and climax vegetation. Holdridges intent was to convey a general level of biological homogeneity in the landscape that could
be used as an analytical unit in planning for larger,

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Classication hierarchy of wetlands and deepwater habitats. Redrawn from Cowardin et al., Classication
of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats in the United States, by M. Rapelje, .

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Life-zone system of ecological classication. Redrawn from Holdridge, Life Zone Ecology, by M. Rapelje,

more complex landscapes. His classication is

based on certain ecologically signicant associations measured by mean annual rainfall, temperature, and evaporation. He hypothesized that the
association must be thought of as a natural unit in
which vegetation, the animal activities, the climate, the land physiography, geological formation
and the soil are all interrelated in a unique recognizable combination which has a distinct aspect or
In Steiner, Kenneth Brooks, and their
students at Washington State University combined McHargs layer-cake model and Holdridges
life-zone classication to analyze a large county
in southeastern Washington State. Their eort
also included suitability analyses for several land
uses, as well as recommendations for future planning.25

Identiable Ecological Homogenous Areas

In the eort to develop ecologically signicant
classication systems Hills in reinterpreted
the analytical unit in his physiographic-unit
classication in terms of ecosystems. He argued
that ecosystems should be the basic unit for understanding and analyzing landscapes: In landscape [ecological] planning, it is useful to conceive
ecosystems as production systems whether the
production is biological from farm, forest or
shery ecosystem or physiographic from mine,
aquifer or energy developing ecosystems or societal cultural ecosystems.26
Hills proposed that the basic unit for understanding landscapes is the site type, derived from
the congruence of those features of the landscape
that in their interactions control production. The
site types include () physiographic site types

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

climate, landform, soil, water, etc.; () biotic site

typesbiotic communities of plants and animals; and () cultural site typesthose in which
human communities are congruent with biotic
site types.
No one can quarrel with the logic of Hillss classication; however, the replicability of the classication is questionable. It is unlikely that people using his classication will achieve the same results
because of the practical diculties in delineating
site types in the manner he proposed. Hills also
presents a simplistic view of the interaction between natural and cultural phenomena, which are
complex and dynamic.
Social, Cultural, and Economic Considerations
Most classication methods have paid little attention to human processes, considering them too
complex, confusing, and value-based to be included with biophysical processes. In addition, it
was feared that the inclusion of human processes
might reduce the methods replicability. On theoretical and pragmatic grounds, however, classication methods that classify landscapes solely by biophysical processes have reduced value because
human concerns are excluded.27
Hillss work represents an important step in integrating cultural concerns in classication systems. Another innovative eort was the Land
Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) classication system, developed by the SCS in the early
s under the leadership of Lloyd E. Wright, of
the SCS Oce of Land Use in Washington, D.C.
Wright based LESA on his own work in Suolk
County, Long Island, as well as on similar systems
developed in Black Hawk County, Iowa; Walworth
County, Wisconsin; and Whitman County, Washington. Moreover, LESA is consistent with the idea
of making classication schemes interpretive
rather than descriptive and embracing interpretative criteria that emphasize the dynamics of landuse modications. Like Hillss classication method,

it relies on a panel of experts to establish local criteria for land evaluation and site assessment.
The LESA system extended the utility and accuracy of soil surveys in estimating landscape suitability for agriculture and urban uses. The NRCS
method, discussed in chapter , relied on the limitations of the soil for agricultural production. Although its application has been extended to determine suitability for urban uses, it does not provide
information on ecological, economic, social, or
aesthetic issues that aect the relative suitability of
the landscape for urban uses. As I noted in chapter
, the NRCS methods accuracy in estimating the
suitability for various types of urban uses is questionable. For example, soil variability is not important in determining agricultural production;
however, it is a prime consideration in estimating
suitability for urban uses.
The LESA system has two components, agricultural land evaluation (LE) and agricultural
site assessment (SA). Agricultural land evaluation
rates soils of a given area by grouping them according to their quality. The best soils are assigned
a rating of , and the worst, a rating of (Table
.). The quality of the soil is determined by combining information from capability ratings, important farmland classication, and soil potential
The NRCSs important-farmland classication
uses national criteria to dene prime farmland in
order to provide a consistent basis for comparing
soils in a given locality to similar soils nationwide.
The soil-potential ratings indicate the relative
value of a soil for an indicator crop compared with
other soils in the locality. The value is based on the
costs of overcoming the current and future limitations of the soil for the indicator crop. Soil productivity may be substituted for soil potential in
determining the value of soil for agricultural use.
It provides indications of the relative net income
expected from each category of soils for a specied
indicator crop. The soil potential ratings are calcu-

Ecological Planning

Table .. Sample Agricultural-Land-Evaluation Worksheet

Image not available.

lated for each soil mapping unit based on the equation SPI P CM CL, where SPI is the soilpotential index, P is soil performance measured in
dollars, CM is the relative cost of eliminating or reducing soil limitations, and CL is the relative cost
of overcoming continuing limitations.
A relative value for the quality of the soil is estimated for each agricultural group based on the
three rating systems. This value is adjusted for the
relative acreage of the soil in a particular locality
and expressed as a percentage of the highest
acreage yield, which is indicative of the quality of
the soil.
The SA focuses on other important considerations in determining the optimal uses of the landscape for urban activities. Examples include the
location and distance from markets, proximity to
infrastructure and public services, existing landuse regulations, land-ownership patterns, and impacts of the proposed uses. Points are assigned to
each of these factors. The NRCS recommends
that a maximum of points be assigned to each
factor. The relative importance of these factors in
determining suitability is identied, and comparable weights are assigned. The nal LE score is
determined by multiplying the number of points

by the relative weights and aggregating the total

score. For example, a site that is well serviced,
zoned for the proposed use, and far from other
agricultural uses may receive a higher aggregate
score than one that does not have these features.
Table . shows factors used in assessing agricultural land for conversion to heavy commercial
uses in Whitman County. Table . depicts sample
land-evaluation computations for four sites in
Whitman County.28 The Whitman County planning commission and sta members derived these
factors from those recommended by the NRCS
and from the Whitman County Comprehensive
Plan. The NRCS suggests that the resultant LE and
SA scores are most useful when combined. In the
Whitman County example the scores were not
combined since the information the two evaluations communicated was noticeably dierent.
The LESA system represents an important step
in integrating factors that dictate the optimal uses
of a tract of land in estimations of landscape suitability. Fundamentally, estimations of suitability
are still based on the limitations of one landscape
feature, soils. Social and economic factors only become important after the limitations of the tract
of land for soil productivity are determined. Nev-

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Table .. Factors Used in Assessing Agricultural Land for Conversion

to Heavy Commercial Uses, Whitman County, Washington

Image not available.

Table .. Sample Land-Evaluation Computations for Four Sites

in Whitman County, Washington

Image not available.

Ecological Planning

ertheless, data on soil limitations serve as the basis

for development of many land regulatory tools
and techniques that have been referred to as
growth-guidance systems. Growth-guidance systems
combine elements of performance-based land
regulation, rating techniques, and impact assessments. Examples include the performance zoning
system adopted by Bath Township, Michigan
(); the development-guidance system proposed by Hardin County, Kentucky (); and the
land-use guidance system adopted by Bedford
County, Virginia ().
Computerization of Classication Systems
In theory, any of the classication schemes discussed above can be adapted to use computer
technology for data capture, storage, manipulation, retrieval, and display. Computer technology
increases the ease, accuracy, and eciency of information handling. Its utility is particularly obvious in classication schemes that are linked to
huge and complex databases. One pioneering
eort to integrate computer technology into classication schemes is the Canadian Geographical
Information System (CGIS), developed in s.
Since then, renements have been made to the system to take advantage of recent developments in
computer technology. Similar eorts in computerizing classication systems have been undertaken by international agencies and U.S. federal,
state, and local agencies that deal with spatial information. Notable examples include the NRCS,
the U.S. Geological Service (USGS), the U.S.
Forestry Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Services GAP (Gap Analysis Program), an eort
to systematically inventory and plot the distribution of all plant and wildlife species in the United
States. I use the CGIS to illustrate the logic underlying the computerization of classication systems.
The roots of the CGIS lie in the Canadian Land
Inventory (CLI) system. Users of the CLI realized
that the data-handling processes were extremely

cumbersome, thereby preventing the system from

reaching its full potential as a source of accurate
and timely information for resource planning and
management. In response, the CGIS, developed by
Environment Canada, transferred CLI maps into a
computer data bank to provide statistical tabulations and summaries of information contained in
the maps, to permit rapid and detailed analysis,
and to enable interactive use of the information.29
The CGIS has three subsystems: data input,
data storage, and data retrieval.30 Data from the
CLI source maps are converted into a digital database. The resultant data are stored as image data
(IDS), the data that dene the spatial units or polygons, and as a data bank that contains the characteristics of each polygon (DDS). The raw or
processed data can be retrieved in a tabular or map
format or in an interactive way using a computer
terminal to query the system. For example, the
user can request maps or tables from a digital storage system and see them almost immediately.
Thus, the computerization of classication systems enhances the management of spatial and
nonspatial information and communicates it in a
user-friendly manner.
In sum, there is no doubt that landscape-unit and
landscape-classication methods provide a useful
framework for organizing natural and cultural
data to facilitate suitability analyses and ecological
assessments. In general, LSA classication methods have been improved for enhanced ecological
and technical validity, replicability, practical utility,
and ease of communication to the intended audience. I nd, however, that some issues remain partially unresolved. For instance, the land-unit and
land-classication methods employ remarkably
dierent rules for identifying and integrating information when dening homogenous land units.
Indeed, many observers have commented, and I
concur, that although in practice the rules of integration have some scientic basis, the nal delineation of homogenous areas relies heavily on, to

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

use the planner Jamie Bastedos words, intuition,

experience, and empathy with subject matter.
Bastedo also remarked that a lot of information is
lost when we integrate data to such an extent that
sometimes the resultant homogenous areas may
have little bearing with ecological realities.31
Additionally, ecosystems are complex systems,
and we know only so much about their structure
and interactions. While arguments have been
advanced to make the classications more dynamic, the harsh reality is that most classication
methods are still quite static. Our ability to incorporate information regarding landscapes dynamics into classication schemes remains limited. The schemes require maps and supporting
text to describe historical and future ecological
processes and interrelationships. Moreover, integrating human considerations into a denition of
homogenous land units is problematic irrespective
of how ecologically sound the rationale is. Apart
from the typical social and economic information
that is used regularly in planning studies, there is
still a lack of consensus on how human factors can
be captured and integrated in a systematic way
with biophysical information.

Landscape-Resource Survey
and Assessment Methods
Landscape-resource survey and assessment methods emphasize the inventory, analysis, and synthesis of biophysical, social, economic, and technological factors to determine the optimal locations
for potential land uses. Homogenous land units
are dened, and then rules of combination and/
or rating functions are used to assign land uses to
the homogenous units. Social, economic, and biophysical factors are considered implicitly or explicitly in the rules and rating functions for dening and aggregating the homogenous land units.
The output is a set of maps or a single composite
map, sometimes accompanied by text, illustrating
the degree of suitability of each parcel of land for
single or multiple uses. More often, negative envi-

ronmental impacts are minimized as an intermediate step in the process of determining suitability.
Neither a detailed evaluation of alternative suitability options nor the way the optimal option is
put into eect is an important consideration.
The primary concern of resource survey-andassessment methods is to allocate prospective uses
on a tract of land in a manner that best sustains
ecological stability and productivity, given changing social, economic, and technological circumstances. Three questions of a technical nature
emerge. First, what is the logic behind the selection of the pertinent social, economic, and biophysical factors? Second, what rules and rating
functions are appropriate for assigning land uses to
various locations in the landscape? Third, at what
point in the process of determining suitability are
the social, economic, and biophysical factors compared to examine their interactions?
It is useful to think about the suitability concepts in LSA landscape-resource survey and assessment methods as means of achieving a dialectic balance between the demand and supply forces
on a parcel of land. The demand forces are the social, economic, political, and technological factors
that dictate the availability and preference of land
for the intended uses. The supply forces deal with
the ability of the natural characteristics of the
landscape to support the prospective uses.
The specic factors examined (social, economic, biophysical) and the extent to which they
are emphasized depend largely on the nature of
the planning project. For example, developing a
growth management program requires an estimation of future population, economic and development needs, community values, and landscape
opportunities and constraints. For developing a
multiuse plan, landscape architects and planners
may include in their assessment the extant landuse regulations, proximity to public services and
facilities, and user needs. Because of the variety of
possible planning projects, my discussion of how
the transactions between the supply and demand

Ecological Planning

factors have been used to determine landscape

suitability is linked to specic applications.
Two major subgroups of landscape-resource
survey and assessment methods that merit closer
examination are () those that combine independent evaluations of social, economic, and ecological factors and () those that use surrogates to
determine suitability. I use surrogates to denote
substantive concepts in landscape suitability that
provide empirical estimates of the tness of a tract
of land to support intended uses. The surrogates
examined are opportunities and constraints, potential land capability, and carrying capacity. Selected applications are reviewed, and preliminary
observations on resource survey-and-assessment
methods are presented.
Combining Independent Assessments
One promising way that landscape architects and
planners, also referred to here as ecological planners and designers, use the transactions presented
in Figure . to determine suitability is to rst examine the relevant sets of information independently (e.g. development needs, user needs, ecological compatibility). Next, each set is analyzed in
terms of its relationship to project goals. After
that, allocation rules or rating functions are established to synthesize the outcome of the independent analyses in relation to one another, to the
project goals, and to other relevant values. Finally,
land uses are assigned in accordance with those
rules. This procedure is consistent with the procedural principles suggested by Robert Dorney and
Jamie Bastedo.
Peter Jacobss work in Halifax, Nova Scotia, illustrates the procedure. In the early s he proposed a site-planning method for allocating developmental activities in a series of watersheds on the
urban fringe of Halifax.32 The method involved
several processes: site assessment and evaluation
of the general developmental potential of an area;
determination of user needs based on the outcomes of the rst step; and development of a

preliminary design schema exploring the type,

structure, and intensity of land-use activities to be
located in an area and a preliminary evaluation of
the optimal design schema (Fig. .).
Of interest to us here are steps and . For Jacobs, the optimal uses of a site were contingent
upon the inherent ability of an area to support potential land uses (supply), the forces of urban
growth generated by a metropolitan region (demand), including the needs and values of the user
group (social costs and benets), and the evaluation of impacts that development might have on
the study area in time (developmental impact).
The interactions of these features are used to determine the optimal level of use of a tract of land
for prospective uses and to estimate the social and
environmental costs and benets of exceeding
that optimal level over time.
A somewhat similar framework was developed
in by Thomas Ingmire, Tito Patri, David
Streateld, and others from the University of California at Berkeley. Streateld, then at Berkeley
and now former chair of landscape architecture at
the University of Washington, had been a student
of McHargs at the University of Pennsylvania.
Their proposal for an early-warning system for regional planning was applied to the Santa Cruz
Mountains, located close to the San Francisco
metropolitan region.33 The central notion in the
warning system was to alert decision makers
about potential conicts between development
and ecological processes. Although not stated explicitly, the system can be viewed as another way
of establishing the suitability of a site for prospective land uses. Instead of developing suitability options, the planners used the synthesis of information to develop criteria for allocating land uses in
the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Ingmire and Patri developed criteria by synthesizing information derived from assessments of
consumer interests and needs, factors that aect the
dynamics of the landscape (similar to what McHarg
refers to as natural processes), and the environ-

Image not available.

Fig. .. Site-planning process. Redrawn from Jacobs, Landscape Development in the Urban Fringe, by
M. Rapelje, .

Ecological Planning

mental eects of development. Consequently, the

warning system accounted for the many diering
and often conicting values in society and for continually changing information about the capacity of
the ecosystem for self-recovery. Two features of
the warning system are of interest to us. The rst
is that the assessment of consumer interests and
needs was used to determine the demand for the
development of a particular site. Social, economic,
and environmental considerations were implicitly
considered. Second, the assessment and predictions of the environmental eects of developmental actions were the output of biophysical
analysis. However, this analysis was undertaken as
an intermediate step in the development of policy
Other notable applications that combine supply
and demand factors in a somewhat similar manner include: the metropolitan landscape planning
(METLAND) studies carried out by University of
Massachusetts researchers under the leadership of
Julius Fabos since the early s; the information
system developed by Lyle and von Wodtke at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, and
the work of Steinitz and his Harvard colleagues in
the southeastern part of metropolitan Boston in the
late s and in the late s, the development of
alternative futures for the Upper San Pedro Watershed in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. These are discussed under allocation-evaluation methods.
Surrogate Measures
Planners and landscape architects use various surrogate measures to determine the tness of a tract
of land for prospective uses. Carrying capacity, for
instance, is used to estimate land suitability because it focuses on the ability of landscape to withstand the particular use or recover from disturbance. In contrast, consideration of opportunities
and constraints emphasizes maximizing the productivity of the landscape for intended uses while
minimizing landscape degradation. Most applica-

tions of landscape-resource survey and assessment

methods involve surrogates.
. One way
in which surrogates are used in landscape-resource
survey and assessment methods is in dening and
applying criteria that capture land-demand and
land-supply factors. Social, economic, and biophysical considerations are usually implied in
the criteria selected. In addition, the interactions
among individual factors are examined at the outset in relation to the project goals and other social
Initially, ecological planners who used this strategy only dened criteria to isolate areas in the
landscape that presented particular diculties.
Widely known as sieve mapping, the strategy was
used in planning new British towns after World
War II. Once applied, a criterion was not used
again. For instance, if our concern is to select suitable sites for locating housing, natural hazard areas, which include sites prone to ooding, re, or
landslides, may be used as one criterion for eliminating unsuitable lands. Areas meeting the criterion are eliminated from subsequent analysis.
Sieve analysis has been used extensively in many
ecological-planning endeavors in the United States
and other parts of the world. For example, the
landscape-architecture and land-planning rm
EDAW used it in to locate sites for power
plants in the state of Minnesota.34 Deitholm &
Bressler also used it to lay out ski runs for Mount
Bachelor in Oregon in .35
The problem with focusing on the problems of
a site, as the example shows, is that the delineation
of hazard areas argues against locating particular
land uses in specic locations; it does not embrace
those landscape features that make the location attractive. To include the latter, planners and landscape architects developed attractiveness measures,
which reect the demand for prospective uses. Attractiveness measures make explicit and implicit

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

judgments about social, economic, and other concerns that aect the optimal uses of the landscape.
Examples are the availability of infrastructure,
proximity to schools, and areas of visual interests.
Such social, economic, or political considerations
are implied in the criteria used in identifying unsuitable lands. For instance, the extant zoning may
be used as a basis for including or excluding potential sites for development or protection.
Many applications of sieve analysis are well documented. Among them are numerous projects undertaken by Steinitz and his Harvard colleagues,
including the Honey Hill project. In the landscape architect Susan Crow, at the University of
Georgia, used sieve analysis, aided by GIS, to lay
out interpretive trails in the Alcovy watershed, just
east of Atlanta.36 But as Lyle correctly remarked,
The use of sieves . . . does not depend on the dialectic balance. They can simply be applied to any
land area as a whole.37 By dialectic balance Lyle
meant osetting land-supply and land-demand
In contrast, landscape-resource survey and assessment methods emphasize the dialectic balance
between supply and demand factors. WMRT, the
Philadelphia landscape architecture and planning
rm, and the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of
Pennsylvania were among the rst to apply this
strategy, in the s and s. Their works include such notable examples as the development
of a master plan for Amelia Island, Florida (,
with William Roberts, Jack McCormick, and
Jonathan Sutton as the prime practitioners); the
planning of The Woodlands, a new community
in Texas (, with McHarg as the principal-incharge); the development of performance standards for Medford, New Jersey (, with McHarg
as the principal investigator and Narendra Juneja
as the project leader); the assessment of environmental resources for the Toronto Central Waterfront (, with Juneja and Anne Spirn as the ma-

jor players); the Laguna Creek study, Sacramento,

California (, with McHarg as the partner-incharge); and the site selection and development of
a master plan for Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria (, with Thomas Todd as the principalin-charge).38
Throughout the s McHarg relied on teams
of natural and social scientists working with landscape architects and planners to undertake ecologically based suitability analysis. Three of these
projects illustrate variations in determining a
sites problems and opportunities: The Woodlands, Texas; Abuja, Nigeria; and Medford Township, New Jersey.
, . The planning of
The Woodlands, a new ,-acre (, ha.)
community north of Houston, Texas, illustrates
the conceptual base for most of the studies undertaken by WMRT. McHarg was the partner-incharge, working in conjunction with a team that
included the landscape architects and ecological
planners Juneja, Leslie Sauer, James Veltman,
Colin Franklin, Ann Spirn, and Carol Franklin.
While many aspects of The Woodlands study deserve detailed comment, my focus is on how ecological, social, economic, and legal information
was used to dene the problems and opportunities
presented by the site.
The theoretical framework for The Woodlands
study is suggested in McHargs writings. It was
based on the notion that the natural characteristics
of the landscape provide constraints (limitations)
as well as opportunities (attractiveness) for certain
land uses. Arthur Johnson, Jonathan Berger, and
McHarg summarized the conceptual framework
as follows: Areas which are most suitable for a
specic use will have the greatest number of opportunities provided by the landscape and the least
number of, or least severe, constraints imposed by
the landscape on that particular use. By using the
approach of combining analyses of opportunities

Ecological Planning

and constraints, the environmental impacts of the

planned uses will be minimized, and the energy requirement to implement and maintain the proposed uses and artifacts can likewise be minimized.39
McHarg and his colleagues argued that an understanding of these constraints and opportunities
based on ecological considerations by itself was
insucient to determine the optimal uses of the
site. This understanding must be considered as
part of a more comprehensive planning process
that includes consideration of social, economic,
political, and legal factors, as well as the needs, desires, and perceptions of the user group. Thus,
McHargs works examined in terms of LSA differed from those reviewed here under LSA .
In the procedure used by McHarg and his partners an ecological inventory and analysis was conducted to establish constraints and opportunities
for potential land uses. The uses were determined
by demographic, social, and economic analyses of
development trends and needs. The ecological
analysis involved determining how the landscape
worked as a system of related components (Fig.
.). The resultant information was mapped. Based
on an understanding of the interactions, McHarg
and his colleagues identied and mapped the
constraints for prospective land uses. Then they
developed opportunity maps for each land use,
which they aggregated using rules of combination to produce a composite opportunity map.
They then synthesized the opportunities and constraints for a selected land use to produce suitability maps.
At this point in the assessment procedure
McHarg and his colleagues revisited the relevant
social, economic, and legal factors to ensure compatibility with the suitable areas. When assessments showed that a given tract was suitable for
multiple uses, they resolved the conicts based on
information regarding the needs and desires of
the user group from surveys, interviews, and published reports.

Image not available.

Fig. .. Matrix showing bivariate relationships. Reproduced, by permission, from Johnson, Berger, and
McHarg, Case Study in Ecological Planning: The
Woodlands, Texas.

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Indeed, many subtle yet important contributions to suitability concepts were made by The
Woodlands study. It empirically rearmed how
social, economic, and legal factors could be translated into criteria for determining land-supply considerations. It also demonstrated how information
about user needs and values could be used to resolve conicts between the competing supply and
demand characteristics of a parcel of land. Much
like Peter Jacobs and Ingmire and Patri, McHarg
and his colleagues showed that combining the
problems and attractive features of a site involved
making implicit judgments about the environmental eects and sustained use of the site for prospective land uses.
, . The planning of the new federal capital of Nigeria in the mid-s illustrates
ecological planning and design in a cross-cultural
environment. An international consortium, International Planning Associates, planned and designed the new city. WMRT was responsible for
site selection and master planning under the leadership of Thomas Todd, an architect and city planner.40 McHarg was responsible for the ecological
inventory and the suitability analysis.
The client, the Republic of Nigeria Capital Development Authority, developed criteria for site selection, which it weighted in terms of importance:
centrality (%); health and climate (%); land
availability and use (%); water supply (%); access (%); security (%); building materials (%);
population density (%); power resources (%);
drainage (%); soils (%); physical planning (%);
and ethnicity (%).
The process Todd, McHarg, and their colleagues used is shown in Figure .. The major categories of information compiled included () site
and natural environment, () economic, social, demographic, and other population characteristics,
and () constitution and governmental organization. Visual considerations and cultural issues
were included as well. In addition to the economic

and social data collected in most studies, the data

on constitution and governmental organization
were used to establish the nature of the future
governmental organization and to determine its
spatial and program requirements.
Once the inventory of the site and natural environment was completed, the information was interpreted, correlated, and evaluated for the opportunities and constraints for urban development
and other uses. Table . illustrates the rating of
factors for urban suitability. Sieve analysis was
used to eliminate unsuitable sites based on preemptive criteria that included ood plains, slopes
over percent, riparian and rain forests, swamps,
and geological hazards. The candidate sites were
subjected to further assessment that included visual and other human considerations, such as the
location of transportation facilities and the water
supply. Finally, information generated from the
subsequent steps was synthesized into a composite suitability map that resulted in the selection of
Abuja as the new capital.
The planning and design of Abuja represents an
innovative, successful attempt to explicate and integrate subtle but important cultural considerations in
ecological planning and design. The lifestyles, customs, and social structures of Nigeria and West
Africa are dramatically dierent from those of Western societies. For instance, the extended-family system permeates the social structure. As Thomas
Todd wrote, The all pervasive physical, organizational, and structural consequences of the dierences [in cultural backgrounds] cannot be understated by western planners. . . . The implications
for density, land coverage, and organization are of
extreme importance in estimating the physical
size [demand forces] of Abuja.41
, . McHarg,
Juneja, and their colleagues at the University of
Pennsylvania examined the problems and opportunities in Medford Township in a slightly dierent
manner than was employed in Abuja. They pro-

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. The suitability-analysis process for selecting Abuja, Nigeria. Redrawn from International Planning Associates, New Federal Capital for Nigeria, by M. Rapelje, .

posed and applied a method in the development of

performance requirements or standards.42 The
township is located at the edge of New Jerseys
Pinelands, within commuting distance of Phila-

delphia. The plan was re-examined in by

McHarg and Berger.
McHarg, Juneja, and their colleagues dened
the supply and demand of land as the interactions

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Table .. Rating of Urban-Suitability Factors

for Selecting a New Capital in Nigeria

Image not available.

between ecological processes, the values of individuals, and the values of society. Individuals hold
dierent values depending on their interests.
These values may be similar or may be in conict
with those held by other individuals or with those
associated with maintaining the health, safety, and
welfare of society. In Junejas words,
The values assigned vary depending upon an individuals interest. For example, a farmer is concerned about sustained productivity from his land;
a home owner seeks a healthy delightful setting;
and a developer searches for sites where he can
build and get the most return for his money. The
operative value system employed by individuals is
as likely to be discrete and mutually exclusive as it
is to be competitive and conicting. To deal with
the latter exigency and to ensure sustained health,
welfare, and prosperity for all, it is important to
identify those values which are common to all present and future residents of the township. This can
be accomplished by interpreting the available un-

derstanding of the extant phenomena and processes in terms which are clearly denable and
about which agreement can be reached by all those

McHarg and Juneja used a system of matrices to

relate individual and social values to natural processes (Fig. .). Logical rules of combination
were used to aggregate the resultant information.
The values to society embrace explicit and implicit measures of the landscape features essential
in maintaining a continued degree of ecological
stability. In Figure ., for instance, the stream dissections in lowland and upland terraces were vulnerable to development and required regulation to
minimize the social costs. In contrast, the values to
individuals focused on the attractive features of site
and the type of development actions. Accounting
for the values individuals hold involves making
judgments about biophysical, social, economic,
and aesthetic considerations. Thus, the interactions between biophysical factors and values serve
as a surrogate that expresses the optimal uses of
the landscape.
. A. P. A. Vink,
a Dutch professor of physical geography and soil
science at the University of Amsterdam, used the
concept of potential land capability as a surrogate
to express the social and economic factors dictating land supply and utilization. In Land Use in Advancing Agriculture () Vink distinguished between actual land suitability, soil suitability, and
potential land suitability.44 He was interested in
how land improvement can be used to adapt land
resources to human needs. Vinks distinction was
based on the idea that land is the outcome of various interactive processes, some directly related to
the nature and quality of resources and others historical, reecting past social and economic conditions. The estimation of the optimal uses of the
land, therefore, should be based on its potential capability, that is, the potential of a given tract of

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Matrix of physiographic values to society and individuals in Medford Township, New Jersey. Redrawn
from Juneja, Medford, by M. Rapelje, .

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

land to support dierent types of land utilization

under given cultural and socioeconomic conditions.
Vinks actual land suitability is similar to
McHargs intrinsic suitability. Vink dened actual
land suitability as an indication of the possibility
of using the land within a particular land utilization type without the application of land improvement which require major capital investments. Soil suitability is the physical suitability
of soil and climate for production of a crop or
group or sequence of crops, or for other dened
uses or benets, within a specied socio-economic
context, but not considering economic factors
specic to areas of land.45 Indeed, soil suitability
dened in this manner is analogous to the NRCS
capability classication. It is directly concerned
with the usefulness of soils for crop production
and may be used to generalize about the conditions of resources that may or may not be directly
connected with the soils themselves.
Lastly, potential land suitability relates the suitability of land units for the use in question at some
future date after major improvements have been
eected where necessary, suitability being assessed in terms of expected future benets in relation to future recurrent and minor capital expenditure.46 For Vink, soils were a crucial factor in
estimating land suitability. He noted, however,
that in the nal estimation of the optimal uses land
should be judged in terms of the social and economic costs and benets of its future utilization
for potential uses. Dutch methods like those explained by Vink have been applied successfully in
many reclamation projects in the Netherlands, including the building of polders on the former
Zuiderzee, an extension of the North Sea into the
heart of the Netherlands.
. Carrying capacity is another surrogate measure that can be used to determine supply and demand factors deemed important in estimating the optimal uses of the

landscape. Used widely in the eld of outdoor

recreation, its application in landscape-suitability
analysis, tends to focus on the biophysical component of the model sketched in Figure .. Even at
that, planners and landscape architects still struggle
with translating information about how landscapes function into concrete and quantiable
measures, which are crucial in precisely estimating
carrying capacity. Nevertheless, some promising
work has been done in this regard.
In The Woodlands study the fragile nature of
the site made it a dicult place to build. Because
it was entirely forested, at in most areas, and
dominated by impermeable soils, especially in the
numerous depressions that existed on the site,
minimizing the disruption of the hydrological
regime was an important consideration in planning for development. Other considerations included preserving woodland and wildlife habitats
and corridors, as well as minimizing development
To preserve woodland, for instance, McHarg
and his colleagues developed a system for predicting the amount of vegetation that would have to
be cleared for development. The system employed
the model of ecological succession as its conceptual framework. From the ecosystem-succession
model we know that progression from the pioneer
stage to the climax stage indicates increasingly stable
of ecosystems. The Woodlands site is a mixed
woodland dominated by loblolly pine. Hardwoods
include hickories, magnolias, oaks, sycamore, and
sweet gum. A stand of pure hardwood is likely to
survive more perturbations than a stand of mixed
hardwood or open elds. It is also more tolerant of
soil compaction and changes in ground-water levels, and it regenerates slowly.
McHarg and his colleagues used their knowledge of ecosystem succession, along with information on soil permeability, to develop a scale of
permissible clearing (Fig. .). For instance, pure
stands of pine on permeable soils present the most
favorable opportunity for clearing and for the lo-

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Clearance percentage for vegetation types for The Woodlands, Texas. Redrawn from Johnson, Berger,
and McHarg, Case Study in Ecological Planning: The Woodlands, Texas, by M. Rapelje, .

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

cation of high density uses because of their high

regenerative potential. In contrast, lowland hardwoods located on low permeable soil present the
least. If a value is placed on maintaining an optimal degree of stability and productivity, then the
carrying capacity of The Woodlands site can be inferred by understanding its ability to accommodate potential uses without being irreparably damaged.
Other notable methods for estimating carrying
capacity in the s include the environmentalthreshold approach proposed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the cumulativethreshold approach suggested by the late Thomas
Dickert and Andrea Tuttle, both of the University
of California at Berkeley. Dickert was yet another
of McHargs students at Pennsylvania. Thresholds
can be best understood as the limits beyond which
the continued use of a tract of land for specic
land uses will result in degradation. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency expanded the notion of
threshold to include signicant natural, scenic,
recreational, educational, and scientic values
necessary to protect public health and safety
within an area. Dickert and Tuttle emphasized the
need to use thresholds that take into account the
cumulative impacts of land-use decisions. They
suggested that such thresholds be based on an assumed acceptable amount of land use change over
time.47 However, as the geographers Harry Spaling, Barry Smit, and their colleagues pointed out,
While conceptual frameworks of cumulative environmental change continue to emerge . . . theoretical constructs and commonly accepted denitions are still incomplete.48 I nd, however, that
the logic for assessing cumulative environmental
change is fundamentally dierent from that used
in assessing landscape suitability. Thus, I examine
them in a greater detail in chapter .
In sum, LSA landscape-resource survey and assessment methods combine assessments of the
supply (physical and biological landscape charac-

teristics) and demand (social and economic considerations) features of a tract of land to establish
suitability. The supply and demand considerations
are implied either implicitly or explicitly in the
rules or rating schemes used to estimate suitability.
The resource survey-and-assessment methods
operate in two major ways. One way is to conduct
independent assessments of the pertinent social,
economic, and biophysical factors in light of the
project goals; analyze compatibilities among them;
and aggregate them using logical rules of combination and/or rating functions. Another way is to
examine the interactions among the factors in relation to a surrogate, which becomes the basis for
establishing the optimal uses of the landscape.
Almost always, the assessment of environmental
eects is built into the process of determining
landscape suitability.
All variations of landscape-resource survey and
assessment methods considered here can be applied with either computer-aided or manual overlay techniques. The logical rules of combination
are the same for both; however, there is a general
tendency away from manual overlay techniques
even though they are occasionally useful. Additionally, most of the variations reviewed can be
used for both conservation and development of
resources. Ultimately, the determination of landscape suitability relies heavily on the judgments of
experts. Despite eorts to make landscape suitability more inclusive, landscape-resource and survey methods generally are not useful in estimating
the potential cumulative environmental, social, or
economic eects of a land use on the site under
consideration and adjacent areas.

Allocation-Evaluation Methods
Allocation-evaluation methods are concerned
with assigning land uses to various locations in the
landscape and evaluating alternative allocation options in light of the project goals, objectives, and
other values. These values include the social, eco-

Ecological Planning

nomic, scal, and environmental eects. The theoretical intent and procedural principles of allocation-evaluation methods are similar to those of
landscape-resource survey and assessment methods. The major dierence is that the former can
perform an additional function: evaluation of
competing landscape-allocation options.
Allocation-evaluation methods are described in
ecological-planning literature in numerous ways.
Steinitz referred to them as process models in regional landscape design, while Fabos described
them as parametric approaches in landscape planning. For Lyle they are impact-predicting suitability
The central questions that allocation-evaluation
methods address are technical in nature. Which
set of rules identies which information should be
combined to determine landscape suitability?
How will the choices be made among potentially
competing suitability options? Which evaluation
and impact-predicting techniques are appropriate,
and why? What is the optimal allocation of land
uses in light of a projects goals, objectives, and relevant values?
Projects in which these methods are used tend
to be complex and are usually conducted for large
corporations or public entities. Most often, they
require huge nancial outlays. The projects also
tend to be long-term rather than short-term. In addition, they often require large amounts of data,
making the use of computer technology a necessity. This technology is more attractive if the generation of numerous alternatives is desired.
The passage of NEPA was a catalyst for signicant renements in the development of allocationevaluation methods. NEPA specically addressed
the environmental costs of land-use decisions
made by federal agencies. The substantive purpose of NEPA is to achieve a harmonious and sustainable balance between human activities and the
natural and cultural processes that they aect. Federal agencies are required to prepare environmental-

impact statements (EIS) for all federally funded

projects that may signicantly aect the environment. Several American states and many other
nations have similar requirements. Consequently,
many suitability methods have been expanded and
rened to embrace the evaluation of impacts as integral to determining and evaluating the optimal
uses of a landscape.
The development of the evaluation component
of allocation-evaluation methods was slow. Besides struggling with the development of analytical techniques for accurately identifying, quantifying, predicting, and evaluating impacts, planners
and landscape architects grappled with conceptual
issues. For example, which natural and cultural
landscape characteristics should be examined for
impacts? How are the distribution and magnitude
of an impact determined? What constitutes the
signicance or relative importance of an impact?
What dierence does a proposed suitability option
make, or what dierence is it likely to make, in the
lives of the residents in the aected areas and how
should it be determined?
Two parallel but related developments occurred in the evolution of allocation-evaluation
methods. The rst was the development and
renement of techniques for conducting impact
assessments. The second was the incorporation of
the techniques into internally consistent and systematic procedures for determining the optimal
uses of the landscape.
I rst review techniques for impact assessment
and then discuss applications to illustrate their
integration into allocation-evaluation methods.
Three examples illuminate variations in the application of allocation-methods: () Lyle and von
Wodtkes Information System for Planning;49 ()
the Boston Information System, developed by an
interdisciplinary group of researchers at Harvard
under the leadership of Steinitz,50 as well as his recent work on identifying alternative futures of the
Upper San Pedro River Watershed in Arizona; and

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

() the METLAND model proposed by Fabos and

his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts.51
Techniques for Impact Assessment
Numerous EIA techniques have been proposed.
We can distinguish four major techniques based
on the way impacts are identied: ad hoc, checklists,
matrices, and networks.52 This list does not include
many techniques used in conducting social, economic, or visual impacts, such as cost-benet
analysis, energy analysis, visual-impact assessment, and goals-achievement matrices. The reader
can refer to many books and articles that address
impact assessment exhaustively.53
Ad hoc techniques use expert judgment to suggest probable impacts of alternative development
options or specic projects. Usually specialists are
assembled to identify and predict impacts in their
areas of expertise following general guidelines.
Certainly the results are best guesses. Ad hoc techniques are useful when a project requires quick,
preliminary judgments on probable impacts.
Checklists, an improvement on ad hoc techniques, use a more structured format to evaluate
impacts based on a predetermined set of questions. They also rely on expert judgment in evaluating impacts. More sophisticated procedures
have been developed. A notable example is the
Battelle technique, developed in by a group
of researchers at the Battelle Columbus Laboratories for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.54 It was
developed for evaluating the impacts of waterresource projects but has proven to be useful for
other types of projects.
The Battelle technique rst identies a comprehensive list of natural and cultural landscape
characteristics, which are classied into four categories: ecology, environmental pollution, aesthetics, and human interests. Each category is further
subdivided to obtain a comprehensive list of landscape characteristics. Then a team of experts converts the characteristics into an environmental-

quality value and assigns numerical weights to

their signicance in light of proposed actions. Next
an algorithm is used to combine the values and
weights to establish a composite environmentalimpact index, which is interpreted and presented
in a tabular format showing the environmental impacts of proposed actions for each set of landscape
characteristics. In addition, another table depicts
landscape characteristics that would be seriously
aected by the proposed project since adverse impacts may not be accounted for adequately in the
composite index.
The Battelle technique is useful in illuminating
both tangible and intangible impacts. A potential
problem, however, is that the validity of an algorithm is suspect. It has no way of correcting or
making explicit the errors that may be associated
with many mathematical computations associated
with calculating the composite environmentalimpact index, such as converting landscape characteristics into environmental-quality values or assigning weights to determine the signicance of
probable impacts.
Matrices are a more direct way of identifying
and assessing impacts. The fundamental idea of a
matrix is to correlate development actions with
pertinent landscape characteristics and processes
that may be aected. Development actions and
landscape characteristics are related in a matrix,
one presented on a horizontal axis and the other
on a vertical axis. One widely used matrix was developed in by Luna Leopold and his colleagues for the U.S. Geological Survey.55 Leopold
had worked with many of McHargs Pennsylvania
colleagues, notably Ann Strong, on a study of the
Brandywine basin, outside Philadelphia.
In the rst step Leopold and his colleagues identied and listed natural and cultural phenomena
on the vertical axis and the proposed actions that
might cause environmental impacts on the horizontal axis (Fig. .). Natural and cultural phenomena are subdivided into categories, much as in

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. The Leopold Matrix in condensed form. Note that the instructions for assessing impacts are provided.
Also, the cells with numbers illustrate hypothetical ratings of probable impacts of land transformation on water
quality. A positive sign placed in front of the number indicates that the impact is benecial, while a negative sign
shows otherwise. Redrawn from Leopold et al., Procedure for Evaluating Environmental Impact, by M. Rapelje, .

the layer-cake model developed by WMRT. The

actions are varied and include land transformation, resource extraction, and land alteration. Each
action is further subdivided into subcategories; for
example, land transformation may include clearing, cut and ll, and soil compaction.
Next, Leopold and his colleagues placed a slash
in each cell representing an action likely to have an

impact. For each cell so marked, they used expert

judgment to assign a value reecting the magnitude of the anticipated impact, for the least impact, for the greatest. This was followed by assigning another value reecting the signicance of
the particular impact. Again, a value of represents the least inuence, and the greatest. Finally, a text provides an interpretation of the val-

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

ues in the cells. No attempt is made to combine the

scores. Rather, the matrix and the accompanying
text are used as a tool for both assessing the impact
and communicating the outcomes. Leopolds matrix is a useful, straightforward means for identifying and assessing primary, or rst-order, impacts.
It is not helpful in assessing cumulative or indirect
Networks are useful in identifying short- and
long-term impacts because of their explicit focus
on cause-and-eect relationships between development actions and landscape characteristics and
processes. They are designed to trace a single action through a series of iterations, usually depicted
in the form of ow diagrams. In the construction
of a highway, for instance, the network approach
traces erosion to determine the eect on hydrological processes, which in turn may reveal other
cumulative impacts. The environmental-impact

component of Lyle and von Wodtkes Information

System illustrates the use of a network technique.56 They used ow diagrams to show the interrelationships between proposed actions and
changes that may occur in physical, biological, and
human processes. Thus, given specic development actions, it is possible to trace the cause-andeect relationships.
Another example of a network is the Environmental Management Decision Assistance System
(EDMAS), developed by researchers at the Rice
University Center for Community Design Research in the mid-s.57 Developed initially in
, the system depicts the linkages between development actions and particular natural landscape characteristics and processes, the relationships among landscape characteristics, and the
connections between landscape characteristics
and potential environmental eects (Fig. .).

Image not available.

Fig. .. A simplied cause-and-eect linkage diagram. Adapted from Rowe and Gevirtz, Natural Environmental Information and Impact Assessment System, redrawn from Chapin and Kaiser, Urban Land Use Planning, by
M. Rapelje, .

Ecological Planning

The network technique requires enormous

quantities of information to make it eective in
evaluating short and cumulative impacts of development decisions. As Figure . shows, it relies
heavily on modeling information about the ow
of water, chemical elements, and energy in the
landscape. Recent developments in geographical
information systems have enhanced the eciency
of information management in network techniques.
These four techniques for impact assessment are
built into the process used in evaluating allocation
options. The typical process used in allocationevaluation methods has four identiable steps.
First, economic, sociocultural, and ecological inventories are conducted. Second, a set of rules or
rating systems is developed and used to assign land
uses to dierent locations, resulting in alternative
suitability options. Third, the consequences of the
options are evaluated in relation to the desired
goals and objectives and other important values,
using one or more of the impact-assessment techniques reviewed above or techniques not examined here that are used in assessing social, economic, and visual impacts. Fourth, the optimal
suitability option is then selected.
Information System for Planning
Lyle and von Wodtke, at California State Polytechnic University, developed a method for ecological planning that they called the Information
System for Planning. The system was used in numerous projects in the coastal plain of San Diego
County, California, in the early to mid-s. The
conceptual framework for the method, which is as
relevant today as it was then, is based on a systemic
interrelationship involving three factors: development actions, locational considerations, and environmental eects.
Development actions are those activities that alter
ecological processes. They include capital actions
that invest energy and material resources in the
physical transformation of the landscape and op-

erational actions that occur as a result of human

use of the landscape. The construction of a highway, for example, involves clearing, compaction of
soil, and paving, which together bring about environmental eects such as erosion, runo, and possible siltation of nearby steams. In turn, human
use of the highway involves operations such as
driving motor vehicles that have additional environmental eects: increased noise, exhaust emissions, oil deposits, and dust.
Locational variables are those physical and natural characteristics of the landscape that interact
with major ecological processes. In the example
above, soil and water are important locational
characteristics of the landscape. Finally, environmental eects are those disruptions caused in ows
of energy and material from source to sink as a result of specic development actions. These eects
are represented as ow diagrams similar to the energy pathways proposed by Howard Odum, the
distinguished ecologist at the University of Florida
in Gainesville.
Lyle and von Wodtke hypothesized that if two
of the three variables were known, the third could
be predicted. If the development actions and environmental eects are known, one can determine
the most and least optimal locations for those actions. Transformation charts showing acceptable
locations where environmental processes were to
be maintained were used to depict the interactions
among location, development actions, and environmental eects.
Lyle and von Wodtke developed a three-step
procedure for determining the optimal uses of the
landscape. First, suitability maps were generated
based on the inherent ability of the natural characteristics of the landscape to support the prospective uses. The land uses were described in terms of
development actions, which suggested sources of
change. Intermediate steps in developing suitability maps included analyzing the interactions between landscape characteristics and development
actions and between the characteristics and po-

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

tential environmental eects. The relevant information was combined using a linear-combination
technique to account for the relative inuence of
the characteristics in determining suitability.
Second, a preliminary EIA of alternative suitability options was undertaken using a procedure
similar to network-impact assessment. Third, a
best-action procedure was applied to determine optimal locations for development. This was achieved
by listing acceptable development actions for each
given location that would produce the least environmental damage (Fig. .). One notable feature
of their Information System is that it can be applied
to land-use decision making and design at a variety of scales: regional, local, site-specic.
In Lyle and von Wodtkes Information System,
the interactions among development actions, impacts, and locational factors dened the rules for
identifying and combining relevant data to determine the optimal uses of the landscape. EIAs were
used to reduce the number of suitability options,
and then the remaining options were evaluated in
order to select the ones that produced the least environmental impact on a given location. However,
the Information System excluded social, economic, and technological considerations in establishing suitability and in choosing the preferred allocation option.
Lyle expanded upon the Information System in
Design for Human Ecosystems, published in . He
reinterpreted the conceptual base of his Information System in terms of principles for achieving
ecosystem order: structure, function, and location. The book describes a wide range of principles
and techniques for estimating the optimal uses of
the landscape in ways that promote congruence in
the functioning of human and natural ecosystems.
According to Lyle, the role of suitability models in
fostering the congruence is to provide a bridge
between the consideration of processes and their
location on the land.58
Numerous projects documented in the book
clearly illustrate the use of allocation-evaluation

methods. Notable among them are the San Elijo

Lagoon Revitalization Project, conducted for the
city of San Diego; the Bolsa Chica Lagoon study,
undertaken for the city of Huntington Beach, California; and the San Dieguito Lagoon study, conducted on behalf of the city of Delmar, California.
In Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development
() Lyle argued forcefully that the optimal uses
of the landscape should be regenerative, adding
that regeneration has to do with rebirth of life itself, thus with the hope for the future.59
Metropolitan Boston Information System
Steinitz and an interdisciplinary group of Harvard
researchers have used an allocation-evaluation
method in many planning-and-design projects
conducted in Massachusetts since the mid-s.
One notable example is the information system
they developed for allocating and evaluating land
uses in a rapidly urbanizing southeastern section
of metropolitan Boston. The objective was to develop a regional development strategy for an area
of square kilometers ( sq. mi.) falling within
the jurisdictions of eight towns.
Public input was used to establish the projects
goals and objectives. The research group then
compiled the pertinent social, economic, cultural,
and natural-resource data, which they stored in a
computerized database. The database consisted of
grid cells of . acres ( ha.), , cells for the
study area. The data were compiled for and
became the baseline information for comparing alternative regional development strategies.
The research group used allocation models to
assign land uses to various locations in the study
area based on specic rules and on various assumptions about preferred type, amount, and intensity of growth. The examined land uses included industry, commerce, public institutions,
conservation, and recreation. The rules were intended to seek the optimal locations for each land
use. For example, the rule for allocating housing
emphasized the most protable locations based on

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Best-action model. Reproduced, by permission, from Lyle and von Wodtke, Information System for Environmental Planning.

the economic value of potential sites. When siting

areas for conservation, the rules focused on identifying environmentally sensitive resources in existing legislation, such as unstable soils, watershed
protection areas, ood plains, and scenic and his-

torical resources. They ranked the locations for

each type of land use based on economic costs and
public preferences.
Twenty-eight dierent mathematical-simulation models were developed to predict the social,

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

economic, scal, and environmental impacts of

the various land-use allocation options. Impacts
examined include those on water quality, visual
quality, air quality, and land values. The simulation
models were similar to the network technique,
which examines cause-and-eect relationships. The
information generated from the various assessmentsallocation options based on dierent assumptions about growth and the impact studies
were subjected to public debate, resulting in the
development of a combined regional-development
The Boston Information System thus establishes the optimal allocation of land uses by rst
conducting independent assessments of pertinent
social, economic, and ecological data in light of
the projects goals and objectives and then using an
algorithm or grand index built into an interactive
computer program to combine the resultant information.
Visual impact was one important component of
impact prediction conducted by the Harvard
group. It is useful to note that this Harvard group
has been in the forefront of those using computer
technology to creatively combine ecological and
visual assessments to facilitate the development
and evaluation of alternative landscape-allocation
scenarios. This was particularly evident in their
study on simulating alternative policies for
implementing the Massachusetts Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act.60 In they developed landscape-management and landscape-design guidelines and criteria for the Acadia National Park and
Mount Desert Island in Maine by synthesizing information on the patterns of visual preference and
on the roles of various landscape characteristics in
maintaining wildlife habitats.61
In the past decade Carl Steinitz and his colleagues have conducted numerous studies that
rened several aspects of the Boston Information
System, including an exploration of alternative futures for the Camp Pendleton region in California

and, most recently, for the Upper San Pedro Watershed in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.62 In the
Arizona and Sonora study Steinitz and his team investigated the implications of urban growth and
change for the hydrology and biodiversity of a portion of the Upper San Pedro Watershed in Arizona
and Sonora, Mexico, over the next twenty years.
The portion extends from the headwaters of the
San Pedro River, near Cananea, Sonora, to Redington, Arizona. The team used a set of process
models to describe how the current landscape
functions and to determine the probable impact of
a set of alternative futures and their variations
based on conditions in .
Steinitz and his team used development models
to evaluate the attractiveness of the available land
in the watershed for dierent types of development, such as commercial and suburban. The outcome was used to simulate urban growth in the region over the next twenty years under dierent
scenarios for change. Because the study examined
the impacts of growth on the regions hydrology
and biodiversity, the team used a hydrological
model to evaluate the eect of loss of groundwater storage, ows into the San Pedro River, the
steam-capture volume, and headwater conguration. Next they employed a vegetation model to
predict changes in vegetation patterns based on
changes in the management of the hydrological
regime, re, and grazing. These predictions formed
the basis for assessing the biodiversity of the watershed. Then a visual model establishing scenic preferences was employed to evaluate the potential
impacts on the regions landscape based on the
simulated urban-growth patterns.
Based on the outcomes of these evaluations,
Steinitz and his team developed several alternative
future scenarios for the Upper San Pedro Watershed emphasizing development, water use, and
land management. They used dierent models to
evaluate the scenarios for water availability, land
management, and biodiversity. These evaluations

Ecological Planning

provided those with a stake in the region information that helped them decide how they wanted
their watershed to change.
Metropolitan Landscape Planning Model
The METLAND model was developed in the early
s by Fabos and his colleagues at the University of
Massachusetts (Fig. .). Three of Faboss colleaguesBruce MacDougall, Meir Gross, and Jack
Ahernalso worked with McHarg at Pennsylvania.
The model describes the landscape as parameters
and uses quantitative techniques and computer
technology to facilitate ecologically informed and
intelligent land-use decisions. COMLUP, the computer mapping program used in the METLAND
model, was developed by Neil Allen, of the USFS.

Image not available.

Fig. .. Julius Fabos, Emeritus Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at the University of
Massachusetts, was instrumental in developing the
METLAND model. Photograph courtesy of Julius

Over the past thirty years the model has been

rened to take advantage of recent developments
in computer technology and remote-sensing technology. Today it is used in an interactive way to facilitate land-use decision making. Variations of the
METLAND model were used in numerous regional landscape and rural planning projects in
Massachusetts, such as the development of a landuse plan for Burlington, Massachusetts, in the late
The typical procedure has three phases: composite landscape assessment, formulation of alternative landscape plans, and evaluation. Figure .
illustrates the conceptual base for the method. In
Phase I a series of interrelated analyses are conducted to identify landscape, ecological sensitivity,
and public-service values. An analysis of landscape
values is used to assess the quantity, quality, and
distribution of natural and cultural resources on a
tract of land. An ecological-sensitivity analysis
evaluates critical resources for preservation and
highly valued resources for protection from development. Also included is the assessment of ecological compatibility and the determination of development suitability. Finally, the availability and
adequacy of public services and infrastructure
for prospective uses are assessed. The individual
analyses are integrated subsequently into a composite landscape assessment.
Phase II involves generating alternative development options, each of which emphasizes one
of three biases: landscape, ecological, and publicservice values; existing zoning and plans, or the
status quo; and community preference. The status
quo and the landscape-value options can be viewed
as two extremes within which a variety of alternatives can be developed.
In Phase III the tradeos among the alternative
options are evaluated to determine an optimal solution based on criteria that focus on the eects of
the alternative options on the landscape-value
prole, on ecological compatibility, and on the
public-service-value prole. The outcome of the

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Conceptual base for the METLAND model. Reproduced, by permission, from Fabos and Caswell,
Composite Landscape Assessment.

evaluation is fed back into Phase III. The iteration

continues until an alternative is developed that
satises community preference and at the same
time has minimal impact on landscape, ecological,
and public-service values.
The METLAND model is informed by a set of

allocation rules synthesized from many sources,

especially from the writings and works of George
Perkins Marsh and Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. The
rules include: discouraging development of areas
of signicant resource values and natural and human-made hazards; directing development to lo-

Ecological Planning

cations best suited for it; and ensuring that the

ecological carrying capacity of a region is not exceeded. These are preset rules that become the
point of departure in estimating the optimal uses
of the landscape.
These rules also dictate the type of assessments
to be undertaken. Unlike methods that determine
landscape suitability by examining the opportunities and constraints, Fabos and his colleagues assign land uses to dierent locations on a site based
on the outcome of a set of integrated assessments.
They typically analyze the quantity, quality, and
distribution of landscape resources on a location;
the resources that may be irreversibly degraded by
human actions; the ability of the landscape to support prospective uses; and the ecological stability
of the landscape in light of land-use distribution.
Sometimes included are assessments of the development potential and the public preferences for
the use of the location. Almost always, Fabos and
his research team describe the relevant landscape
resources as ordinal data or parameters, which can
be subjected to quantitative assessments facilitated
by computers and GIS.
The METLAND model also makes explicit the
assumptions about land-use conversion. Developing alternative plans is one way they obtained the
needed assumptions. Fabos and his colleagues
also contended that calculations of the tradeos
among competing alternatives should be based on
an explicit set of values. Even though they emphasized landscape, ecological, and public-service
values, other values can be dened in relation to
the project goals and objectives or based on other
considerations. Computer technology makes it
possible to generate an innite number of alternatives. Conicts among alternative options can
also be reconciled by using computer programs
that search for points of agreement or conict in
the spatial distribution of land uses.
In sum, allocation-evaluation methods are used
to make large-scale or regional land-use decisions.
This does not mean that allocation-evaluation

methods cannot be used on a smaller scale, as

many examples described in Lyles Design for Human Ecosystems make clear. All the applications
examined multiple land uses that often had conicting land-use requirements. The goals and objectives were long-term rather than short-term.
Also, balancing conicting public interest and values on the use of the landscape was a major consideration. Because of the enormous amount of
data required, the applications used computer
technology for data storage, manipulation, and
display. In the San Pedro study, which is the most
recent, the latest innovations in computer- and
visual-simulation technologies were employed.
The study team used GIS and visual-simulation
technologies to describe the Upper San Pedro
Watershed. The process and analytical models
used the digital data to describe and evaluate the
complex dynamic processes at work in the watershed.
Explicit rules for allocating land uses were also
evident. Unlike the Boston Information System,
the San Pedro study, or the METLAND model,
Lyle and von Wodtkes Information System did
not explicitly consider social, economic, and technological factors in formulating the rules for allocating land uses. However, the conceptual base of
their information system suggests that the capability exists for specifying social and economic
rules. For Lyle and von Wodtke, the rules were
based on the interrelationships between development actions, locational considerations, and environmental eects. The Boston Information System
rst developed rules for allocating the individual
land uses and later ranked the locations based on
costs and public preferences. In the San Pedro
study, rules were used to establish the sequence of
process, development, and evaluation models employed. The rules employed varied with the object
of interest. For instance, the hydrological model
employed emphasized rules dealing with issues
such as the loss of ground water and ows into the
San Pedro River. In the METLAND model, the

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

rules governing environmental considerations in

land-use allocation were set a priori and dictated
the type of assessments conducted.
Except in the San Pedro study, the rules were
used to reduce the number of allocation options
based on their environmental eects even before a
detailed evaluation of the remaining options was
undertaken. In the San Pedro study, the urbanization of the watershed under dierent scenarios for
change was simulated before the eects on hydrology and biodiversity were assessed. Moreover,
sensitivity to legal and political issues was evident;
the Boston Information System and the San Pedro
do this most eectively. Also, variations of the network technique were used to model cause-andeect relationships.
Lastly, the criteria used in selecting the optimal
allocation of land uses were explicit. Lyle and von
Wodtkes Information System relied heavily on
environmental considerations. In comparison, social and economic considerations were heavily
weighted in the Boston Information System and
the METLAND model, with the public playing a
major role in deciding the optimal allocation. Selecting the optimal land-use allocation was not the
goal of the San Pedro study. Rather, emphasis was
placed on providing the regions stakeholders with
information about alternative futures and the implications for issues such as water availability and
biodiversity so that they could make informed decisions.

Strategic Suitability Methods

The strategic suitability methods are the most
comprehensive of the suitability methods. They
may be viewed as allocation-evaluation methods
that have the added capacity of implementing the
optimal-land-use-allocation option. Indeed, they
are comprehensive planning systems that focus simultaneously on how decisions about the optimal
uses of the landscape are made and on how the resultant decisions are implemented. The typical interrelated functions they are designed to perform

are: () articulation of the goals and objectives of

the planning project or program; () assignment of
land uses to dierent locations on a tract of land
based on a set of allocation rules; () evaluation of
alternative allocation options based on the projects goals and objectives and on other pertinent
values; () selection of the optimal option; () development of substantive management guidelines
that specify permissible land-use activities and
strategies for managing them; () development of
administrative mechanisms, strategies, and programs for ensuring that activities included in the
selected option are implemented; and () establishment of mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the eects of the implementation.
These functions are standard tasks performed
in the various steps of the conventional planning
process. The dierence, however, is that the functions are organized according to an ecological perspective. As Frederick Steiner noted, ecology provides insights into landscape processes, functions,
and interactions. Consequently, each function inuences and is aected by the others. Together,
the interrelated functions constitute an organizational framework for making and implementing
decisions about the optimal uses of the landscape.
Most of the suitability methods reviewed in this
volume placed a greater emphasis on functions
through . By way of contrast, strategic suitability
methods place additional emphasis on functions ,
, , and . Thus, they have a strategic bias in that
they integrate implementation considerations
with goal setting, as opposed to mere long-range
planning. As the planner Frank So observed,
Strategic planning focuses on the allocation of
scarce resources to critical issues. Development of
the plan sets the stage for the crucial implementation phase.63
The theoretical base of strategic suitability
methods can be found in the literature on organizational and management theory, in procedural
theories of urban and regional planning, and in
methodologies specically adapted for ecological

Ecological Planning

planning. Strategic suitability methods are used

frequently in large-scale planning projects and programs, especially when concerns about environmental quality and about public health, welfare,
and safety are paramount.
Functions through , which deal with implementation and administration, tend to be the least
developed in many of the strategic landscapesuitability models that have been proposed. For example, the METLAND model was designed to
have an implementation phase, which would have
placed it in the category of strategic suitability
methods. However, this phase has yet to be fully
developed. Implementation is also implied but not
examined in any detail in Lyles Design for Human
Ecosystems. From a theoretical perspective, it is
feasible to rene most the allocation-evaluation
methods to include an implementation component. The Australian planning method, SIROPLAN, and the ecological-planning method proposed by Frederick Steiner in The Living Landscape
are promising examples of attempts to bridge goal
setting, plan formulation, and plan implementation. Both SIRO-PLAN and Steiners methods are
inuenced strongly by McHargs work and can be
viewed as extensions of the Pennsylvania method.
SIRO-PLAN: An Australian Approach
to Regional Land-Use Planning
SIRO-PLAN is a methodology for land-use planning specically tailored to the institutional and
statutory context of planning in Australia.64 The
context is characterized by conicting plural values, diverse and conicting uses of landscape planning, and fragmented decision making at various
levels of government. Also included are the demand for public participation in land-use and
ecological decision making and the need to accommodate contingencies. Certainly, these are
common features in the context for planning in
most industrialized countries.
SIRO-PLAN provides a framework for balancing the demands of competing land-use issues

through the spatial allocation of land uses in

agreement with the judgments of varied interest
groups. Developed by CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientic Industrial Research Organization, in Australia in the early s, it has since undergone many renements. SIRO-PLAN has been
adopted as the premier planning method by many
agencies in Australia, including the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. Also, the applications are well documented.65 Several computerprogramming modules collectively referred to as
LUPLAN were developed to facilitate the implementation of SIRO-PLAN.66
Since the focus of SIRO-PLAN is to seek a common ground in balancing public interests with the
sustained use of the landscape for competing land
uses, it draws upon literature from many sources.67
It draws from ecological-planning literature for
ideas on how the tness of a given tract of land can
be established for various land uses. From the literature of multiple-objective planning come its basic
ideas on determining the extent to which dierent
allocation options satisfy the objectives dened by
the public. Lastly, mathematical-programmingoptimization literature provides the basic insights
on maximizing the allocation of uses on a tract of
land given preset or progressively determined
goals for each land use.
The SIRO-PLAN method can be collapsed into
four phases: () policy establishment, () data collection and generation of allocation options, () selection of the optimal option, and () legitimization and implementation. The rst phase involves
developing policies for the use of the landscape
that express the attitudes and values of interests
groups, such as those concerned with urban development, agricultural development, and nature conservation. Table . illustrates some of the policies
set for Redland Shire, a rapidly growing urbanfringe area in Australia using LUPLAN. In the second phase the site is divided into homogenous
parcels of land by natural- and cultural-landscape
characteristics in a manner similar to the way

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Table .. Selected Policies for Redland Shire, Australia

Image not available.

landscape-unit and landscape-classication methods organize the landscape into homogenous

units. The characteristics considered are biophysical factors such as geology, topography, and soil
type. The output is a map showing homogenous
areas or planning zones.
The generation of alternative allocation options requires that each planning zone be evaluated in two steps to ascertain the degree to which
it satises the policies developed in phase . A
policy-satisfaction rating (R) is established for each
planning zone. For example, in rating policy zones
for urban development in the Redland Shire study
one consideration was thermal comfort. A value
of was assigned to planning zones that provided
the greatest thermal comfort based on solar radiation, aspect, and slope, and a value of was assigned to those providing the least thermal comfort. For instance, if there are ten policies and
three land uses in twenty planning zones, the total
number of ratings is

Policy weights (V) are then assigned to establish

the relative importance of each policy. The product of R and V (R V) establishes the land suit-

ability of each location. The output is depicted in

the form of a map and a table showing the landuse and management regimes and controls allocated for each planning zone. Since interest groups
may vary in the way they rate the planning zones,
many allocation options may be generated. These
options are often referred to as discussion plans.
In the third phase, the discussion plans are subjected to public debate. At this point many other
considerations come into play, for example, projected demands on urban land, availability of
public services and facilities, and legal controls.
Through public debate a search is conducted for a
plan that maximizes all the policies developed in
phase . The last phase in the SIRO-PLAN method
involves developing an implementation plan, allocating available resources to the tasks required for
plan implementation, and monitoring the plan to
ensure the continued implementation of the various policies.
The SIRO-PLAN method possesses a number of
distinct features. Unlike McHarg, it does not accept that the landscape has intrinsic values but believes instead that the values depend on the situation. They evolve and are rened in the course of
ongoing actions. Thus, the values are issue-based

Ecological Planning

rather than intrinsic. Goal setting is a crucial task

since it forms the basis for establishing policies. Ultimately, the optimal plan is one that maximizes
the policies generated by often competing and
contending interest groups. Moreover, because
the policies play a key role in evaluating alternative
allocation options, the type of input sought from
the public is specic rather than general. Since
many planning zones are generated, assigning a
policy rating may be a very dicult task. To minimize this, the method enables the development of
exclusion policies, similar to the way sieve methods eliminate lands that are unsuitable for certain
uses. This reduces the number of ratings dramatically.
The SIRO-PLAN method uses a conventional
planning process widely known and understood
by most planners. It is explicit in the way choices
are made among competing landscape-allocation
options. Moreover, the feasibility of implementing
the resultant option is included in the evaluation
criteria. One major weakness is that the implementation phase is the least developed.
Several planners have commented on the obvious weaknesses of the SIRO-PLAN method. Even
with the development of exclusion policies, the
data requirements are still too cumbersome, especially in light of the number of ratings to be undertaken. This problem has been corrected partially by the adoption of computer technology to
facilitate data management. In addition, the policysatisfaction measures have been criticized as being simplistic. The planners G. McDonald and A.
Brown, who applied a version of the method in
their work on the Redland Shire urban-fringe
study, pointed out that the outputs of the method
deed economic evaluation. Another shortcoming is that spatial interdependency between adjacent planning zones is often ignored.
An Ecological Method for Landscape Planning
Frederick Steiner, dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Texas in Austin,

proposed an alternative method for ecological

planning in The Living Landscape (). Steiner described the method as an organizational framework for studying the biophysical and sociocultural systems of a place to reveal where specic
land uses may be best practiced.68 The method
examines the landscape at a variety of scales in
terms of how people use the landscape and how
they aect or are aected by social, cultural, economic, and political forces. Thus, it has a humanecology bias.
Steiners method is capable of performing all
the functions of the strategic suitability methods. Adaptations of the method have been applied in numerous planning projects and programs, including locating areas for rural housing
in Whitman County, Washington, and developing
a growth-management plan for Teller County,
Colorado. I used a variation of the method in my
study of environmentally sensitive lands in Walton County, Georgia. Steiner has also worked with
Lloyd Wright and others for years rening the
NRCS LESA system.
Steiners prime theme is balancing social equity
and ecological parity in making and implementing
landscape decisions. Its theoretical underpinning
is drawn from many sources, including the ideas
and practices of McHarg and his research team at
the University of Pennsylvania, the planning historian Lewis Mumford, and the sociologist and
planner Herbert Gans. Other inuences include
the ecological designer Carol Franklin; the landscape architects Laurie Olin, Bob Hanna, Anne
Spirn, and John Lyle; and the planning theorist
John Friedmann. From the ideas of Friedmann,
Gans, and the community advocate Saul Alinsky
led Steiner to sharpened his ideas on why social
processes should be emphasized in ecological
planning. Steiner was part of the Pennsylvania
group (in fact he was a student of McHargs and
taught ecological planning there for a year), and
the imprint of Ian McHarg and other faculty members there is obvious, especially their views on

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. An ecological-planning process. Reproduced, by permission, from Steiner, Living Landscape.

seeking the intrinsic suitability of the landscape

for human uses and on the importance of culture
in ecological planning.
Steiner was also inuenced by the lawyer-planners Ann Louise Strong and John Keene regarding
the importance of due process and the connection
of planning to protecting the publics health,
safety, and welfare. In Steiners view, suitability
analysis presents a legally defensible, rational process that can protect the health and safety of people
while improving their communities welfare.
Steiners eleven-step method uses techniques
and procedures adapted from both conventional
and ecological planning (Fig. .). The logical sequence of activities provides a framework for organizing the functions to be executed in deter-

mining where specic land uses might best be

practiced. The sequence is punctuated by feedback loops, which means that the process is not totally linear. As Steiner noted, Each step in the
process contributes to and is aected by a plan and
implementing measures, which may be the ocial
controls of the planning area. The plan and implementing measures may be viewed as the results
of the process, although products may be generated from each step.69
Although citizen participation is a distinct step
in the process, it occurs simultaneously in all the
steps. The depiction of citizen participation as a
distinct step emphasizes the primary role it plays
in the making of choices among competing allocation options, what Steiner referred to as plan-

Ecological Planning

ning options. Moreover, natural and cultural

phenomena are analyzed at multiple scales, embracing the idea of hierarchical levels of organization, described earlier.
Conventional planning methods examine socioeconomic issues but provide very little guidance on how they should be combined with biophysical information. Steiners method embraces
techniques for examining the linkages between
the socioeconomic and biophysical factors. The
detailed studies (step ) are based on suitabilityanalysis techniques similar to those documented
in the works of McHarg and Juneja.
For Steiner, the optimal allocation option is a
landscape plan rather than a land-use plan. The landscape plan provides a strategy for managing land
uses in a given location. It is more than a land-use
plan since it emphasizes the overlap and integration
of land uses. Unlike most suitability methods,
design remains integral and explicit in Steiners
ecological-planning method. Design at the site
level helps decision makers visualize the impacts
of the policies embodied in the landscape plan.
Site-design decisions also synthesize the previous
steps in the planning process, enabling the shortterm benets for the user groups and the longterm economic and economic objectives to be
scrutinized spatially.
As Steiner stated, an important dierence exists
between his method and that proposed by the
McHarg, or Pennsylvania, method. The latter
stresses inventory, analysis, and synthesis, placing
more emphasis on the establishment of goals, implementation, administration, and public participation, yet does so in an ecological manner.70
In sum, the interrelated series of functions performed in Steiners method is similar to that in the
SIRO-PLAN method. Both methods are promising in how they link goals to plan formulation and
implementation; however, Steiners method holds
the most promise. Citizen education and involvement are at the heart of the processes of both

methods, which are similar to that used in conventional planning, which is well known to planners and landscape architects as the framework for
organizing activities. Both methods recognize that
turbulence is inherent in industrialized societies.
They therefore build feedback mechanisms into
the planning process. Of the two, Steiners method
utilizes a repertoire of techniques that can be applied in a variety of situations. Qualitative rather
that quantitative assessments are emphasized in
both examples.
Since the s, LSA methods have been developed that are more legally defensible, accurate,
and technically sound when compared to LSA
methods. They reveal the optimal uses of a given
tract of land in light of changing social, economic,
political, and technological circumstances. Unlike
LSA methods, they implicitly or explicitly incorporate both biophysical and socioeconomic factors. Additionally, some LSA methods provide
explicit procedures for making choices among
competing land uses and for implementing the optimal choice. The range of ecological-planning issues they address has broadened to include such
development-related matters as conservation, preservation, restoration, and management.
LSA methods have developed systematically
rather than in the ad hoc manner that characterized LSA methods. I distinguished four major
groups of LSA methods according to the cumulative functions they perform and the phases in the
ecological-planning process they emphasize. These
are () landscape-unit and landscape-classication
methods, () landscape-resource survey and assessment methods, () allocation-evaluation methods, and () strategic suitability methods. Each
group of methods serves a specic purpose. For
example, when the cost of data collection is a limiting factor, one may decide to use the landscapeunit and landscape-classication method as a rst
step in determining suitability. When the evalua-

The Second Landscape-Suitability Approach

tion of alternative landscape-allocation options

is a major consideration, allocation-evaluation
methods may serve the purpose.
Irrespective of the type of LSA method, there
are trends that continue to shape each methods
development. An obvious one is understanding
landscapes based on how they function. Lyles work
is promising in this regard. Whenever feasible,
planners and landscape architects using LSA
methods should describe the tract of land under
consideration in terms of meaningful ecological
units or ecosystems. Since these units are ultimately analyzed for their relative suitability for
prospective uses, the idea is to ensure that the units
make ecological sense in the rst place. However,
agreement is still lacking with regard to the extent
to which locations in the landscape must be similar to constitute a meaningful ecological unit.
There is a tendency in LSA toward understanding and analyzing landscapes from a multiscale perspective since each scale has unique properties. The strategic suitability method proposed
by Steiner exemplies multiscale examination of
the landscape. Society at large is becoming increasingly well informed about the impacts of
planning-and-design projects on people and on
cultural and natural landscapes. Consequently,

landscape plans and designs are coming under intense scrutiny by a growing segment of society. It
is not surprising, therefore, that another trend in
the continuing evolution of landscape-suitability
approaches involves the public or user groups in
land-use decisions; but the degree of involvement
varies signicantly among LSA methods. One reaction is a general inclination to adapt the methods to computers and other technologies.
The techniques for analyzing the relationships
between natural and cultural data have been improved in an eort to provide enhanced technical
validity and accuracy. As a result, the ordinalcombination technique is not advocated as a valid
technique in suitability analysis. Others are recommended to be employed independently or in
combination, depending on the project goals and
objectives. Lastly, some LSA methods use the
output of suitability assessment as a basis for management decisions about landscape use. Except for
strategic suitability methods, such as Steiners ecological method or the SIRO-PLAN method, most
LSA methods rarely recommend administrative
strategies or allocate resources (funds, manpower,
time) to implement the preferred suitability option. In sum, suitability analysis is a promising way
to balance conicting uses of land, water, and air.

the applied-human-ecology

The development of alternative approaches for managing human actions in the
landscape has been inuenced by the convergence of many forces over the past
three decades. Those forces include a growing public awareness of environmental degradation, increased activity worldwide in the areas of environmental protection and resource management, scientic and technological advances, and a
recognition among ecological-planning and design professionals about needed
improvements in the landscape-suitability approaches.
Besides obvious concerns about improving the technical validity and information-management capabilities of LSA methods, they were criticized also for
paying insucient attention to how people perceive, value, use, and adapt to
changing landscapes; to how human and natural ecosystems function; to how
landscapes change in response to interacting biophysical and sociocultural processes; and to how aesthetic considerations may be integrated with environmental ones in assessing landscapes.
These concerns put increased pressure on professionals in landscape architecture, planning, and allied disciplines to develop approaches that were legally defensible, technically valid, ecologically sound, open to scrutiny by the public, and
implementable. Consequently, landscape architects, planners, anthropologists,
geographers, ecosystem scientists, environmental psychologists, historians, and
environmental-design artists worked together to develop concepts and strategies.

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

One outcome was distinct alternative ecologicalplanning approaches. Like the LSAs, each of these
approaches reects a particular way of dening,
analyzing, and solving problems arising from the
human-nature dialectic.
The alternative approaches examined in chapters are the applied-human-ecology, appliedecosystem, applied-landscape-ecology, and landscapeperception approaches. The applied-ecosystem and
landscape-perception approaches are well documented and have the most variations. In contrast,
the applied-human-ecology and applied-landscapeecology approaches rarely have denitive methods that have been tested rigorously.

A P P L I E D H U M A N E C O L O G Y:
Ecology deals with the reciprocal relationship between species and their biological and physical environments. When humans are included among
the species, then ecology is referred to as human
ecology. The applied-human-ecology approach
uses information about the reciprocal interactions
between people and their biophysical environment to guide decisions concerning the optimal
uses of the built and natural landscapes. More
specically, this approach focuses on how people
aect and are aected by their environment and
on how decisions concerning the environment
aect people.1
Human-ecological planning was clearly advocated in the writings of such thinkers as Patrick
Geddes, Rodney McKenzie, Benton MacKaye,
Lewis Mumford, and Aldo Leopold in the early to
mid-twentieth century.2 They argued that planning and design decisions should be guided by an
understanding of the reciprocal, often complex interactions between people and their biophysical
environment. Geddes, for instance, made a passionate plea for planning and design to be viewed
as Sympathy, Synthesis, and Synergy.3 We rst
sympathize with people aected by social ills, then

synthesize all considerations pertinent to a planning situation, and nally work cooperatively with
everyone aected to achieve the best result. Implied in his plea is the need for an intimate understanding of a locale that includes its history,
folklore, and community sense, as well as the
continued involvement of the land users in realizing their shared vision.
Recent calls for human-ecological planning
emerged again in the s and s, especially in
response to the environmental movement. NEPA
and similar legislation passed in other countries
rekindled interest in examining the interactions
between humans and other components of the
natural environment. Yet, many ecologicalplanning approaches emphasize either the biophysical or the human-cultural system, as if they
were mutually exclusive.
The inclusion of humans in ecological studies
has always been problematic. Although humans
have needs that are similar to those of other
species, they display exibility in behavior and
have the ability to control their environment (Fig.
.). They have the ability to conceptualize beyond
the physical exchange processes that characterize
animal behavior.4 Humans also possess culture,
belief systems, and accumulated knowledge, which
together enable them to adapt to their external environment and to one another. Consequently, humans are not subjected to the sorts of controls that
govern biological and physical processes.5 Their
interactions with other species and with the biophysical environment are not easily understood
and thus are dicult to explain.
Ian McHarg noted that if humans are accepted
as an integral part of ecology, and ecology is accepted as part of planning, then one term, planning, would suce for the three.6 I suspect that
many proponents of ecological-planning methods
subscribe to the idea that human use and organization of the landscape must be understood and
evaluated. Often information about the human
processes they examine is relegated to the social,

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. People transform landscapes to suit their needs. Photograph
by William Mann, .

economic, and demographic proles of a community or region. When linkages with the landscape are sought, independent surveys of the historical landscape use, historic sites, visual surveys,
and the like are conducted. Citizen participation is
now mandated in most public projects in North
America and Western Europe, ensuring that the
concerns, desires, and values of the relevant publics will be included in the planning process.
Despite these well-intentioned eorts to include human-cultural processes in planning and
design, that people have a distinct culture, or characteristic way of life, often goes unnoticed. Humans value systems inuence the selection of
alternative ways of doing things, including alternative ways of using and adapting to the landscape. The challenge is to look for systematic spatial concurrences or linking processes between the
landscape and social phenomena.7 If the continued satisfaction of human needs and the quality of

human life depend on the landscape and its resources, then humans have a responsibility to ensure that they are used in a sustainable way.
We can restate the challenge in the form of
questions: How do people value, use, and adapt to
the landscape? What aspects of the landscape are
valued by whom, in what ways, and why? What
range of values and interests do land users have for
specic locations within a local or regional landscape mosaic? How do people relate to the landscape, and what does the landscape mean to them?
How do humans adapt to change and stress in the
landscape? What are the social mechanisms for
eective adaptation? Who benets, and who loses,
from which landscape decisions; that is, who is
threatened by change? These are the primary questions addressed in human-ecological planning.
Planners and landscape architects have proposed human-ecological planning and design frameworks in response to these questions. The devel-

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

opment of such frameworks is hampered for

many reasons. For now, it is enough to say that
human-ecological planning has not yet evolved
into a mature approach with a unied body of
concepts and rigorously tested techniques. However, some methods have been proposed, and
procedural directives can be inferred from very
promising applications.
Human ecology is widely recognized as a conceptual foundation for human-ecological planning
but it is not rmly established in any one discipline. Rather, it occurs at the margins of many disciplines, including sociology, geography, psychology, and anthropology. Cultural adaptation is
arguably the pivotal theme emphasized in most
human-ecological-planning studies that employ
the cultural-ecology perspective. Another is the
notion of place that results from the interactions
between environmental forces and human actions. I examine these themes in depth here, focusing on how they are dened, operationalized,
and applied in ecological-planning studies, as well
as on those applications that integrate concepts
about social processes from sociology, environmental psychology, and geography.

Human ecology embraces an extensive body of
knowledge that links human social organization
directly to the biological and physical environment. Indeed, there is a rich interdisciplinary literature on human ecology, but it is scattered in many
disciplines. When Darwin wrote his groundbreaking book The Origin of Species (), he explicitly
included humans in his explanation of how the
physical and biological environment inuences
the processes of natural evolution and selection.
Subsequent biologists only studied environments
little aected by humans or examined humans as
agents of disturbance in natural communities.
However, the outlines of human ecology as a distinct area of study were provided by an important

series of books and articles written in the s

and s by the University of Chicago biosociologists R. E. Park, E. W. Burgess, and, a little later, by
R. D. McKenzie. In their pioneering book, Introduction to the Science of Sociology (), Park and
Burgess drew heavily on biological concepts such
as symbiosis, succession, dominance, and competition to explain interactions between humans
and their environment. Since then many types of
human-ecology models have been proposed by
such theorists as A. Hawley, C. Steward, O. Duncan, R. Rappaport, K. Bailey, and J. Bennett.8
Partly because the vocabularies of disciplines
vary, a synthesis of these interdisciplinary contributions has yet to be achieved.9 Gerald Youngs
multilevel denition of human ecology is aimed
at such a synthesis, and his is the viewpoint I
adopt. He denes human ecology: ) From a bioecological standpoint as the study of man as the
ecological dominant in plant and animal communities and systems; ) from a bio-ecological standpoint as simply another animal aecting and being
aected by his physical environment; and ) as a
human being, somewhat dierent from animal life
in general, interacting with physical and modied
environments in a distinctive and creative way. A
truly interdisciplinary human ecology will most
likely address itself to all three.10
Human ecology provides the primary conceptual base for human-ecological-planning studies,
but other disciplines have made important contributions as well. For example, human-ecology
studies in sociology provided planners with insights into the structure of human communities.
Most of the insights emphasize a functional analysis dened in terms of community structure, as well
as mechanisms for adaptation acquired through
habits, social traditions, and modications of the
physical environment. Amos Hawley viewed community structure as the functional basis of ecological studies. His book Human Ecology: A Theory
of Community Structure (), is still widely used in
urban planning.

Ecological Planning

Many documented studies in human-ecological

planning use human-ecology models adapted from
cultural ecology. The basic premise in culturalecology studies is that human adaptation to the
environment is contingent upon cultural patterns
values, knowledge, and belief systemsand technology. Julian Stewards book Theory of Culture
Change () provided a denitive statement of
how interactions between culture and the environment could be studied in casual terms without reverting to a simple geographical determinism.11 Steward () illuminated cultural
aspects in which cultural ties with the natural environment were most explicit. Subsequent modications to the Stewardian model emphasized a
systems approach that acknowledged that complex feedback mechanisms operate between cultural variables and ecological factors.12 If ecological planning seeks the optimal tness of the
landscape for human and other uses, then cultural
adaptation can be viewed as one mechanism for
achieving tness.
Human-ecology studies in environmental or ecological psychology have provided planning and design with original insights into how stimuli inuence
the social behavior of individuals in naturally occurring environments, that is, in behavioral settings
that represent discernable, describable units of
every day ecological environments of persons.13
Roger Barker, E. P. Willems, S. B. Sells, H.
Proshansky, W. H. Ittelson, R. Kaplan, and S. Kaplan are noted environmental psychologists who
have provided planners and designers with valuable insights on individuals perception, cognition,
and behavior in activity settings. In turn, these insights served as templates for operational concepts
that enabled ecological planners to be more sensitive to landscape values and meanings in design
and policy making. One such concept, that of
place, has been used by planners and designers as a
framework for understanding human-environment
relations. Place is a specic landscape that embod-

ies cultural meanings where social activities occur

and biological needs are satised.
Geographers brought their focus on spatial
analysis to the understanding of ecological relationships. But according to Gerald Young, they
have been inconsistent in their willingness to
dene their discipline in ecological terms. Geographers have contributed to our understanding of
interactions between humans and the environment by () analyzing settlement locations based
on time and distance, resulting in the development
of central-place theory; () integrating spatial and
ecological concepts that ultimately led to the
emergence of landscape ecology; and () interpreting landscapes in terms of their importance and
meaning to people.
Central-place theory explains how centers of
economic activity are arranged hierarchically in
space, with larger centers surrounded by numerous secondary and tertiary centers. The theory is
based on the assumption that when all things are
equal, people will minimize the cost of movement
to acquire the goods and services they need. Centralplace theory and its modications are used extensively in urban and regional planning studies.
Landscape ecology is an emerging interdisciplinary
area of study that combines the spatial approach
of geographers with the ecosystem approach of
ecologists. It examines spatial change involving interactions among biological, physical, and humancultural processes. The German geographer and
ecologist Carl Troll is widely regarded as the
founder of landscape ecology.
Humanistic, or cultural, geographers such as
D. W. Meinig, D. Lowenthal, Y-Fu Tuan, Peirce
Lewis, W. H. Hoskins, Ervin Zube (also a landscape architect), Edward Relph, and Jay Appleton
have vastly enriched our understanding of the
meanings people attach to the landscape. These
geographers consider the landscape as places that
are, in Meinigs words, symbolic and expressions of cultural values, social behavior, and indi-

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Agricultural landscape on Kauai Island, Hawaii. Subtle but diagnostic features of this landscape reveal
a lot about the islands social and cultural history. Photograph by M. Rapelje, .

vidual actions worked upon particular localities

over a span of time.14 The famed American landscape historian and writer J. B. Jackson described
the sense of place associated with vernacular
landscapes as one way of understanding the distinct features of a landscape and its inhabitants
(Fig. .). Jackson urged his readers to understand
the landscape in living terms . . . in terms of its inhabitants. He argued that in order to determine
the quality of the landscape one must begin by assessing it as a place for living and working and
proceed toward a conclusion based on how well it
meets the needs of the whole humanbiological, social, sensual, spiritual.15
According to Jackson, an understanding of the
landscape comes not only from written and oral histories but also from an appreciation of various art
forms dealing with landscapes, such as poetry,
painting, and music. Similar insights have been pro-

vided by other human geographers. Interpretations

of landscapes provide a rich body of information
that can help determine how the landscape should
be used. Indeed, such interpretations have also been
very useful in landscape-perception studies.
Thus, many disciplines loosely grouped under
the umbrella of human ecology share a common
interest in understanding the interactions between
humans and their environment. Their contributions are equally diverse and beg for synthesis.
This may partly explain why it has taken so long to
systematically integrate human-ecology concepts
into planning and design and, by extension, why
their applications have occurred largely on a projectby-project basis. Nevertheless, one common thread
in human-ecology studies is a focus on how biophysical and human-cultural systems interact, what
the interactions signify, and how they change over

Ecological Planning

The ways we conceptualize the intersections between culture and the biophysical environment
have profound consequences for human-ecological
planning. They direct attention to what cultural
and biophysical factors planners and designers
should examine, why, and what to expect as the
factors interact and change over time.

Cultural Adaptation
Cultural anthropologists assert that culture is the
mediating factor in all human transactions with
the biophysical environment. The primary linkage
mechanism is cultural adaptation, the patterns
and rules of social adjustment and change in behavior by individuals and groups in the course of
realizing goals or simply maintaining the status
quo.16 It can be viewed as a process of tting the
landscape to social behavior, material needs, and
artifacts to enhance the quality of human life. Ian
McHarg dened the tness of an environment
(landscape) for an individual or group as that requiring a minimum of adaptation.17 Sustained
adaptation, thenseeking and maintaining the
optimal tness of the landscape for human and
other usescan be regarded as a goal of ecological planning and design. The task of planning, including human-ecological planning, therefore, is
to identify and reinforce mechanisms for sustaining human adaptation in the landscape.
Culture, which is central to the study of cultural
anthropology, has many overlapping and contradictory meanings. Most denitions agree that culture has three main dimensions: a normative dimension, which consists of patterns of thought
that guide behavior; a behavioral dimension,
made up of patterns of social interactions; and a
non-normative dimension, consisting of material
products that culture creates, such as arts, skills,
and technology. The interaction among the di-

mensions is clear if we view culture as an information system, a perspective initially proposed by

E. B. Tylor in and further developed by M.
Freilich in .18 According to this perspective,
culture is an information system that deals with
the relationships between ideas and beliefs, the
process of social interaction, and material products that culture creates.
Culture may be viewed as a problem-solving
mechanism because it provides a set of control
mechanismsplans, receipts, and rulesfor the
governance of behavior.19 The rules and guides
are essentially bits of information that provide
general answers to general types of problems. The
word general is important since no information
system contains all the information necessary for
solving every problem.
Because culture focuses on general rules and
techniques it can be viewed as a system for solving
general human problems. It provides the standards for deciding what is, . . . for deciding what
can be, . . . for deciding how one feels about it, . . .
for deciding how to go about it.20 The normative
function of culture parallels that of planning and
design in terms of how individual and group actions ought to be guided. Given that culture
guides behavior and social interaction, planning
theories and practice, including those of ecological planning, can be interpreted as material products of culture.
The information that constitutes culture is
structured primarily by a value system. Values are
the aspect of culture that give meaning to individual and group actions. Indeed, the anthropologist
Clyde Kluckhohn posited that it is a cultures value
system that distinguishes it from other cultures.21
Culture and values in large part account for the
peoples ability to cope with immediate problems
that confront them, including the way they use
and adapt to the landscape.
In The Ecological Transition () the anthropologist John Bennett succinctly summarized three
ways in which anthropologists have conceptual-

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

ized human interactions with the environment:

deterministic, mutualistic, and adaptive. In deterministic models, biophysical environmental factors shape culture or culture shapes the environment; the relationship is strictly a linear causative
one. This model was modied slightly in the early
twentieth century, when the anthropologist Franz
Boas and his students proposed the doctrine of
possibilism.22 According to this doctrine, the environment creates a set of opportunities and constraints, from which people make choices in order
to satisfy their needs. But the point of departure in
understanding possibilism is culture, which Boas
assumes shapes human perceptions and needs
within a given geographical area.
Possibilism is thus essentially deterministic. It
provides a simplistic view of interactions between
culture and the environment that is useful in explaining such interactions in relatively simple, isolated societies. In more complex societies many
extraneous factors, such as technology and human
choices, come into play. It becomes necessary to
search for explanations of social behavior in something other than culture or at least to acknowledge
that culture and environment are mutually reinforcing causative mechanisms.
Mutualistic models use the notion of feedback
to explain how culture and environmental forces
reinforce each other (Fig. .). The cultural ecologist Julian Steward was a well-known, respected
spokesperson for the mutualistic viewpoint. He
examined the aspects of culture in which functional ties with the natural environment were
most explicit in order to determine whether similar adjustments occur in similar environments.23
The central tenet of Stewards mutualistic
model is the cultural core, the constellation of features which are most closely related to subsistence
activities and economic arrangements and any
other institutional feature that happens, in particular cases, to be closely connected with the
core.24 The cultural core, therefore, becomes the
prime mechanism for explaining how people ad-

just to their environment. But Steward assumed

that people live in a closed system that can be explained by simple cause-and-eect relationships.
For instance, he rarely considered the direct impact of technological activities on the biophysical
environment or the fact that people make conscious decisions that may not necessarily be culturally induced. I would also argue that the interactions between people and their environment are
multifaceted, sometimes induced by forces outside of the immediate geographical location under
Subsequent modications to Stewards model
emphasized more complex feedback relations.
The anthropologist Cliord Geertz, for instance,
viewed human activities as destructive, stabilizing,
or restorative to the physical and natural environment.25 He emphasized process rather than outcomes of human actions on the environment.
John Bennett moved the argument one step further by integrating complex feedback relationships with the ability of people to make conscious
decisions. This is the adaptive systemic model (Fig.
The model assumes that control or stability is
reached by human decisions and bargains and not
by the automatic operations of processes beyond
awareness, although it acknowledges that such
processes do occur in human systems from time to
time.26 It suggests an open system linked hierarchically through resource use, units of production, economic and political institutions, technology, and the like, to higher and lower levels of
a specic locality. It also assumes that human
choices may not necessarily lead to positive impacts on the environment; certainly, some are negative. The model does not reject the mutualistic or
even the deterministic model but regards them as
empirical outcomes of behavior. Jonathan Berger
and John Sinton neatly summarized the signicance of the adaptive model in human-ecological
planning as follows: The model attempts to integrate data on micro and macro scales by linking

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Major theories of human ecology. Reproduced, by permission, from Bennett, Ecological Transition.

local units of production or resource use of local

social organization, environmental conditions,
and regional markets, and thence, to larger systems.27
The adaptive model is consistent with the cul-

tural-core concept proposed by Steward and elaborated by Geertz but acknowledges the crucial
role of humans in shaping their relations with the
environment. Numerous documented studies in
human-ecological planning use either the mutual-

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. The adaptive systemic model. Reproduced, by permission, from J. Bennett, Ecological Transition.

istic or the adaptive model, or a variation, as their

prime theoretical framework.
Proponents of the models of relations between
culture and environment also prescribed methodological directives for studying them. One of the
most explicit sets of directives was proposed by
Steward, who argued that the most eective way
to understand the cultural core was through historical analysis and synthesis of () the relationships between the exploitative system and the
physical environment (which resources were selected and what technology was used to select
them); () the behavioral patterns involved in the
exploitation (e.g., particular techniques of farming required specic types of organization); and
() the degree to which the behavioral patterns
aected other aspects of culture.

For Steward, these considerations represent

a genuinely holistic approach to understanding
how people relate to their environment.28 His approach raises a crucial methodological issue, however: Who analyzes the cultural corescientists,
planners, designers, and so on, or the people being
studied? The anthropologist R. Rappaport believed that the scientic viewpoint certainly diered from that of the people involved, or insiders:
Two models of the environment are signicant in
ecological studies, the operational and the cognitive.
The operational model is that which the anthropologist (scientist, planner, designer) constructs
through observation and measurement of empirical entities, events and material relationships. He
takes this model to represent for analytical pur-

Ecological Planning

poses, the physical world of the group he is studying. . . . The cognized model is the model of the
environment conceived by people who act in it. . . .
The important question concerning the cognized
model, since it serves as guide to action, is not the
extent to which it conforms to reality (is identical to
the operational model) but the extent to which it
elicits behavior that is appropriate to the material
situation of the actors, and it is against this function and adaptive criterion that we may assess it.29

Both viewpoints illuminate at least two ways of

knowing and introduce dual perspectives on social
reality that have long been recognized by scholars
in other disciplines, where they are referred to variously using such terms as outsider and insider;
explicit and implicit; etic and emic; processed and experiential; and exogenous and endogenous.30 Unfortunately, the experiential viewpoint is not well understood by planners and designers since they do
not have a framework in which to readily incorporate such information. As a result, insiders views
often conict with those of outsiders (e.g., scientists). Yet human-ecological planning requires that
planners and designers elicit both viewpoints to
explain the historical and cultural processes that
created the present spatial conguration of landscapes and to ascertain future preferences for land

Place Constructs
The terms space and place are used interchangeably
in everyday usage. Space is an abstract concept
that is dened as place only when it conveys a distinct meaning to the users. Places result from the
interaction between environmental forces and human actions. According to Kimberly Dovey, place
is a knot of meaning in the fabric of human ecology. Places develop over time through human interactions. They grow, are infused with life, may
be healthy or unhealthy, and may die.31 The
philosopher Martin Heidegger viewed place as the
locale of the truth of being.32 The environmental psychologist David Canter contended that the
concept of place is useful in bridging the gap be-

tween disciplines involved in human-environment

interactions since it can apply to all environmental
F. Lukerman was more precise in identifying
the characteristics of place:
. Every place has a location, described in terms of
internal characteristics (site) and external connectivity to other locations (situation).
. Place involves an integration of elements of nature and culture; therefore, every place has a
unique identity.
. Although every place is unique, it does not exist
in isolation. It is interconnected by a system of
spatial interactions and transfers.
. Places are localized, yet they are parts of larger
. Places have meanings; they are characterized by
the values and beliefs of the users.
. Places are emerging or becoming and so have a
distinct historical component.34

I would add a seventh characteristic: places are

healthy and maintain their integrity when their essential natural and cultural processes continue to
Peoples identication with a place, therefore,
extends beyond the specic place to embrace its
geographical, social, and historical context. Places
are not static; they constantly change as people
adapt to them and to themselves. The past, present, and future of places mutually reinforce one
another. Their span and content are aected by
such external factors as the stability and success of
past experiences, the security of the perceived environment, and the reasonableness of future expectations.
David Canter provided a condensed synthesis
of the interactions among the characteristics of
places prescribed by Lukerman. According to
Canter, a place is a state of harmony created by
the dialogue between human activities, conceptions,
and the physical attributes of the environment
viewed from a historical perspective. The types
of human activities and the ways in which they
are carried out are contingent on factors such as

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Place as the intersection of natural processes, activity systems, and experience. The idea of t is captured concisely in David Canters and Edward Relphs
construct of place. Reproduced, by permission, from Ndubisi, Phenomenological
Approach to Design for Amer-Indian Cultures.

peoples accumulated knowledge, cultural background, and values, as well as formal and informal controls.
The Canadian geographer Edward Relph proposed a similar notion of place but replaced
Canters conceptions with meaning. I prefer to use
experience rather than meaning or conception, a
necessary substitution if we are to include the
imaginal and experiential segments of space in
the denition of place. Conceptions and meanings
neglect anything beyond conceptual thought
patterns, thereby leaving out the instinctual and
mythical aspects of human nature that cannot be
dealt with entirely in the semantic and conceptual
reality (Fig. .).35 Also implied in these place constructs is the idea that places are not static but
linked through time (natural and cultural history)
and space (connection to larger places). Certainly,
our aesthetic experience of a place results from its
natural and cultural history.
Most planners and designers would agree that
until they understand a place, they cannot develop
eective plans or designs. The main reason for em-

ploying the place construct in planning and design

is to determine whether there is a consistent t between what people experience and how the functioning of natural processes and the spatial organization of the physical environment support the
experience. The architect Amos Rapoport and the
planner Kevin Lynch asserted that the environment, that is, the landscape, is meaningful to its inhabitants and users when this t occurs. Our task
as designers and planners, therefore, is to search
for ways to achieve and maintain the t, acknowledging that places maintain their integrity when
their natural and cultural processes are sustained
and connected in time and space. This connection
provides the users or inhabitants with a sense of
identity and belonging.
This review represents only a small part of the
literature on place constructs. Perspectives on
place are diverse, as are the ways for studying
them.36 In the absence of any denitive perspective on place, variations of the notion of place
have been applied by planners and designers on a
project-by-project basis.

Ecological Planning

Eorts to integrate human processes in planning
and design are quite diverse, though not systematic. Landscape architects such as Grant Jones,
Burt Litton, Sally Schauman, Richard Smardon,
and Ervin Zube have considerably advanced our
knowledge of landscape perception, which is considered to be a function of the interactions between people and the landscape. Place constructs
have vastly enriched our understanding of landscape perception.37 Others employ models of cultural adaptation as the conceptual base for ecological planning and design. This perspective was
popularized by landscape architects, planners, and
anthropologists who were at the University of
Pennsylvania or inuenced by developments there
in the s and s. Notable among them are
Jonathan Berger, Yehudi Cohen, Ian McHarg,
Joanne Jackson, Dan Rose, and Frederick Steiner.
The notion of place is also used as a unifying
theme in integrating human-ecology concepts
from many disciplines, including cultural ecology,
cultural geography, and environmental psychology. My plans for Ojibway Indian communities in
Canada in the s, for instance, drew upon concepts from cultural ecology and place theories. I
used the theories to help me understand the nature of the dialectic between human and natural
processes in cases where the culture of the planner
or designer diers from that of the client group.
The Canadian landscape architect Michael Hough,
another McHarg protg, describes a similar view
in Out of Place: Restoring Identity to the Regional
Landscape (). Hough demonstrates how insights derived from natural and cultural processes
can be used to reestablish the identity and uniqueness of places in contemporary landscapes. In
addition, methods found in other ecologicalplanning approaches clearly have a human-ecology
bias, such as the method suggested by Steiner in
The Living Landscape ().

The University of Pennsylvania has been at the

forefront of integrating human-ecology concepts
in planning. From the early s to the late s
planners, landscape architects, and anthropologists at Pennsylvania conducted numerous successful human-ecological-planning studies. Because of their importance, the following studies
are reviewed below: () the Hazleton-region study,
() the Kennett-region study, () McHargs humanecological-planning method; () Jackson and
Steiners human-ecology method for land-use
planning; () Steiners human-community analysis
in The Living Landscape; and () the New Jersey
Pinelands study. I also briey examine Bergers
landscape synthesis. Some of these are applications that illuminate procedural directives, while
others suggest methods. The sequence in which I
discuss them reveals a maturation in their theoretical base.

Hazleton Human-Ecological-Planning Study

The Hazleton human-ecological-planning study
was conducted in the early to mid-s by planners and landscape architects at Pennsylvania under the leadership of Professors Jonathan Berger
and Dan Rose.38 The purpose was to develop future land-use scenarios for the Hazleton region.
The researchers explored the ecological contexts
of various groups as a complement to their landscape-suitability analyses. The Hazleton region is
located in northeastern Pennsylvania, approximately one hundred miles northeast of Philadelphia. It is a rural mining and agricultural
area located in the Appalachian Ridge and Valley
The researchers employed the Stewardian adaptive model as the conceptual base for their work.
They attempted to explore the relationships between exploitative technology and the biophysical
environment, the behavior associated with the
exploitation, and the form that behavior takes in
interactions with other institutions. They interpreted the relationships in terms of () landscape

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

suitability and () adaptation strategies and processes that support exploitative behavior. They
dened adaptation as the organization and use of
space and the way people organize themselves to
use and manage their spaces.39 Their intent was
to match peoples culturally determined needs
and desires expressed in terms of land-use patterns
to ecologically suitable locations.
Berger, Rose, and their colleagues divided the
study into ve interrelated components: () a biophysical-resource assessment; () land-economy
analyses; () a community-health-prole assessment; () a regional ethnographic survey; and ()
human-ecological planning. The planners conducted a land-suitability analysis. Data on the natural phenomena and processes (e.g., bedrock geology, hydrology, soils, ora, and fauna) of the
region were collected and analyzed in terms of opportunities and constraints at a scale of to ,.
The result was a land-suitability map indicating
the best sites for various land uses, such as housing, forestry, and recreation.
They then assessed the economics of their proposed planning scenarios. They focused on factors
such as land-ownership patterns, land value, and
proposed infrastructural development. The outcome was spatial predictions for land uses for
the next ve years. The community-health-prole
assessment involved linking morbidity rates of
dierent groups to their environment. The intent
was to obtain indications of stress induced by
work and by environmental pollution.
The regional ethnographic survey was devised
to identify naturally occurring groups in the region and to elicit their values, preferences, and visions for future land-use patterns. The techniques
used included key-informant interviewing, participant observation, household interviews, and visual reconnaissance. The planners contended that
ethnographic surveys provided rich data on patterns of land use, from small-scale homes to largescale traditional hunting grounds. It enabled them
to obtain a picture of the internal change in the

region. The resultant data were synthesized as a

folk model, dened as a summary of a particular respondents view of the world.40
The nal component of the study was what
the researchers referred to as a human-ecologicalplanning method. In this phase ecologically suitable lands were matched with culturally desirable
locations optimized for the maintenance of the
users quality of life. This component had four
identiable steps:
. Develop dierent land-use scenarios for dierent
groups to determine regional resource use picture based on the ethnographic survey.
. Assess the compatibility of dierent land-use scenarios based on their maintenance of the various
users quality of life. The assumption was that
dierent land-use scenarios reect dierent adaptive strategies and behavior. The output was a
gradient of compatibility: compatible, semicompatible, incompatible, and no competition.
. Recommend ways to mitigate the impacts detrimental to the quality of life of the user groups.
. Match the compatible culturally desirable locations identied in step with the ecologically
suitable locations developed from the suitability

The implementation of these four steps resulted in

policies for managing future land uses in the Hazleton region. The ethnographic survey, for example, revealed that eight dierent groupswho
referred to themselves as farmers, working-class,
lower-class, and middle-class persons, native professionals, non-native managers, retirees, and land
speculatorshad specic preferences for the location of housing, industry, cottage industries, and
commercial activities. For instance, for various
reasons, including proximity to kin, low land
rents, and prior knowledge of local institutions,
the low-income group preferred to locate in the
canyons of the creek corridor, especially in company patch towns, outlying villages, and specic
agricultural areas.
In contrast, the middle-class group rst settled
in inner sections of central cities and then, for

Ecological Planning

amenities and economic opportunities, moved

into newer subdivisions on the fringes of cities.
Berger, Rose, and their colleagues also noted potential conicts between the groups over the future use of resources in the region. They suggested policies to mitigate potential conicts while
identifying future land uses for the region.
Though cumbersome, the Hazleton study was
a pioneering eort to adapt principles from the
Stewardian model to determine the optimal uses
of the landscape. An important discovery of the
study was that the land users did not place the
same value on all ecologically suitable lands. It is
puzzling, however, that Rose, Berger, and their
colleagues treated landscape-suitability assessment
as if it were dierent from human-ecological planning. In my view, the entire study may be seen as
human-ecological planning, with interrelated components dealing with the analysis and synthesis
of biophysical and human-cultural information.
Nevertheless, the study sparked interest in more
rigorous investigations of the linkages between
human actions and natural processes.

Kennett-Region Human-Ecological-Planning
In the spring of a team of planners, landscape
architects, and anthropologists at Pennsylvania,
including some who had been involved in the
Hazleton study, conducted an applied-humanecological-planning study for the Kennett region,
in southeast Pennsylvania.41 Just an hour away
from Philadelphia, in the Brandywine River valley,
the region is made up of six townships and three
boroughs. In their continuing search for eective
ways to integrate human and natural processes
the team investigated how people aect and are
aected by their environment and how the resultant information can guide land-use planning and
design decisions. They lived with residents from
various segments of society to understand the
landscape from a local perspective.
The team constructed a rudimentary model of

the region to better understand the precise interactive relations between people and their environment.42 They leaned heavily on Stewards
cultural-core concept, Rappaports scientic and
cognized models, Hunters community studies
on peer identication of local inuentials, and Von
Bertalanys general systems theorys emphasis
on regulatory controls of local economy.43
To document the biophysical processes and
such information as social, economic, and demographic proles and trends of the region, the study
team conducted an ethnographic survey similar to
that undertaken in the Hazleton study. The survey
was intended to elicit accounts of how people
lived and interacted with other citizens and to illuminate how institutions involved in resource
exploitation aected peoples use of the land. By
synthesizing soft data gathered from the survey
with hard data obtained from published documents, they gained a better grasp of how the region functioned. Dan Rose and his colleagues illustrated the process of synthesis as follows: The
growth or non-growth of specic townships based
on census data and the transfer of real estate documented in the county records could be analyzed
in relation to what a local banker, realtor or home
builder said was happening in relationship to land
supply and housing demand which, in turn, was
investigated in relationship to the biophysical
The team found that the core institutions directly concerned with resource exploitation were
the local political economyagribusiness, banking, real estate, and government. The sources of
control of the local economy were both external
(e.g., the dairy milk market for farmers) and internal (e.g., zoning and bank lending practices), with
the latter predominating. Local elites controlled
the local political economy. Their decisions concerning land use and resource allocation aected
the supply of economic resources, which in turn
aected the use of natural resources.
The team implemented a ve-step procedure.

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

First, they conducted a historical survey to determine how the current settlement pattern had
emerged. Second, they delineated the extent of
settlement patterns from eld work and aerial
photographs. Third, they related the settlement
types to the major groups in Hazleton (about )
based on ethnic origin, class, and religion in order
to identify how the heterogenous population controlled and managed the regions resources and
how the community power structure operated.
Fourth, they explored the interrelationships among
the institutions that managed the land, capital, and
factors of production in order to understand the
regions productive core (Table .).
In the fth step, which I examine in more detail,
they explored the planning implications of steps
through as they illuminated how people actually
organized themselves and controlled their lives in
relation to their physical and social environment.
The purpose of this step was to identify who
gained and who lost in the allocation of land resources. More specically, they intended to develop a process based on an ecological account of
peoples values, accepting that in many cases those
values result in some groups suering, while others benet. The aim was that the suering could
be minimized by developing a plan that reected
reality and which could be utilized by all segments
of the population, including the powerless.45
It is obvious that the team was also interested in
enhancing social equality in the allocation of resources. To achieve this objective, they () identied key land-use issues in the community, such as
housing, surface-water management, and agricultural preservation; () reinterpreted the issues
based on how they were conceived by the people
involved; () examined biophysical factors that
impacted upon the issues and the sociocultural
systemthe local political economy, the values
of the working class, auent homeowners, etc.
(Table .); () investigated which groups suered
and which ones beneted from resource allocation; and nally () developed plans and imple-

mentation strategies for each issue based on values derived from the cultural core. The plans represent a synthesis of ecologically suitable lands derived from suitability analysis and culturally
desirable locations derived from the analysis of the
sociocultural system.
The human-ecology study for the Kennett region is quite similar to the Hazleton study, especially in its emphasis on a historical survey and
interpretation of landscape evolution and in its
use of ethnographic surveys as a prime datagathering technique. Rose and his team modied
the Stewardian cultural-core concept to account
for the complex feedback associated with humanenvironment interactions. Additionally, the team
viewed the citizens and local political and economic institutions as part of a social system adapting to a natural environment. They made more explicit how the views of planners, the aected
parties, and local elites might be elicited and integrated into land-use decision making. Lastly, they
acknowledged that land-resource allocation might
result in inequities that should be addressed explicitly and systematically in land-use decision

McHargs Human-Ecological-Planning Method

After McHargs Design with Nature was published
in , he quickly realized that human processes
did not receive the same emphasis biophysical
ones did in his suitability approach, although he
had consistently emphasized human values and
human health in his previous work. He began to
explore ways to integrate them in planning and
design. Indeed, he inuenced the Pennsylvania
group of landscape architects, planners, and anthropologists who worked on the studies of the
Hazleton and Kennett regions and sometimes
played a leading role in their search for methods
for human-ecological planning. Not surprisingly,
the teams in both studies struggled with adapting
a workable theoretical framework for integrating
human processes in planning and design. In

Image not available.

Table .. Distribution of People in the Core Institutions of the Kennett Region, Pennsylvania

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Table .. Impact of Housing Issue on the Sociocultural System of the Kennett Region, Pennsylvania

Image not available.

McHarg provided a denitive direction in his

provocative article Human Ecological Planning
at Pennsylvania, in which he oered a theoretical
framework and method for human-ecological
McHargs proposition was that the inclusion of
humans as an integral and yet distinct group of organisms interacting with their environment has
immense theoretical and methodological ramications for planning. McHarg suggested viewing
the interactions between humans and their environment as a process of adaptation directed at improving and sustaining human health and wellbeing in a humanly responsible way. The purpose
of planning, therefore, is to create a dynamic balance between syntropy, tness, and health, which
McHarg believed was the basis for the evolution of
life forms. The opposite was entropy, mistness, and

Syntropy is increased stability and a higher level

of ordered energy and matter resulting from energy transactions. McHarg considered healthy natural environments to be the desired outcome of
planning. Healthy environments can be achieved
by nding t environments and adapting to them.
To t implies the active selection of environments, adapting those and the self. The ttest environment requires a minimum of adaptation, allowing us to maintain and enhance human health
and well-being. The pursuit of tness is a function
of adaptation. Of all the forms of adaptation
physiological, innate behavior, and culturalthe
latter is the most plastic instrument for voluntary
action leading to survival and success.47 The
specic aim of human-ecological planning, therefore, can be reinterpreted as selecting t environments for all users (other organisms included) and
adapting to these environments and to each other

Ecological Planning

in a sustained way. The ttest environment would

be achieved by matching the values, needs, and desires of people with the opportunities and constraints oered by the biological and physical environments.
McHarg contended that in order to select t environments, we must rst model the physical, biological, and cultural region as interacting systems using a layer cake that expresses historical
causality. The analysis of the biophysical systems
is conducted independently to reveal landscape
opportunities and constraints. The cultural analysis, which McHarg viewed as the threshold between ecology and human ecological planning,
represents a major advancement over his earlier
suitability approach.48 It is consequently of particular interest to us.
McHarg suggested that the analysis should be
based on Geddess folk-work-place framework for analyzing regions: Which people populate a particular region? Why do they inhabit the
region? Why are they where they are and doing
what they are doing? Such analysis involves an investigation of the environmental history of a region and a scrutiny of people-place interactions.
The ethnographic history reveals the processes of
landscape evolution. Changes in land use respond
to technological changes, major social events, and
the use of resources. Resource use is specic to locale and depends on perceptions and values, which
are conditioned by available technology and capital accumulation.
Studying ethnographic history involves ()
analysis of historical land use beginning with the
initial aboriginal inhabitants, their settlement patterns, transportation corridors, and the like; ()
scrutiny of changes and trends in land-use patterns
to reveal the impacts of technology, social events,
and resource use, including those induced by nonphysical instruments of adaptation such as mores,
codes, and institutions; and () examination of current land-use patterns.
People-place analysis is intended to reveal the

perceptions people have of themselves and of

their environment, their needs and desires, and the
instruments they use to attain them. Consensual
mapping and interviews with key informants are
the primary data-gathering techniques. The specic
procedure involves () locating social groups
within the region that have explicit or implicit interests in land use, for example, the chamber of
commerce; () using them to identify issues and to
state their positions on those issues; () developing
a community-interaction matrix that relates land
uses, the occupants, their location, and their positions on issues; and () ascertaining who benets and who loses in order to identify the consequences of using peoples values for land-resource
The nal phase in human-ecological planning
involves synthesizing the outcomes of the cultural
analysis and the biophysical assessment. An overlay technique or variation thereof is used to develop a gradient of landscape suitability for each
land use, such as agriculture, commerce, recreation, and housing by types. The suitability analysis also shows locations where multiple uses coexist or are in conict. In addition, a protection
map is prepared to identify all hazards to human
life and health (e.g., ood plains, hurricane zones),
areas where human actions exacerbate benign conditions (e.g., induced subsistence by withdrawal of
water), and the locations of rare and endangered
plants and animal species.
Since a key variable in resource allocation is the
value systems of the users, multiple suitability
maps may be prepared based on the diverse value
systems of the users. The maps reveal the implications of employing the users value systems in
resource allocation and illuminate where values
may be modied to achieve the ends sought. Additionally, because of McHargs long-term interest
in human health, he proposed a series of steps
for identifying landscapes that facilitate entropy,
mistness, and morbidity.
Based on the scope of the issues addressed,

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

McHargs method is comprehensive. Fundamentally, he elaborated upon his suitability method in

order to embrace human processes. In doing so, he
employed the concept of cultural adaptation used
in the Hazleton and Kennett regional studies, including the use of ethnographic techniques for
data collection. McHarg also articulated the relationship between cultural adaptation and ecological planning in a succinct and convincing way. Yet,
the comprehensiveness of his method is also its
weakness, a fact he fully acknowledged. The implementation of the method is expensive: the resource commitment exceeds the nancial and
human-resource capabilities of most communities.

New Jersey Pinelands Study

In the early s Jonathan Berger and John Sinton
conducted a human-ecological-planning study for
the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. Designated
as a national reserve by Congress in , the
New Jersey Pinelands is a substate, multicounty
region comprising million acres (, ha.) in
a densely populated region along the Eastern
seaboard of the United States. The state of New
Jersey established the New Jersey Pinelands Commission to develop a plan for preserving, protecting, and enhancing the signicant value of the
land and water resources in the Pinelands. Berger
and Sinton were among several consultants who
worked on the plan. Many of the consultants had
close connections with McHarg and the University
of Pennsylvania, including Jack McCormick, Fritts
Golden of Rogers and Golden, and Leslie Sauer
and her Andropogon colleagues.
Berger has long had an interest in the planning
consequences of how people adapt to the landscape. The Pinelands study enabled him and his
colleagues to explore in greater detail the concept
of the socionatural system and the implications of
utilizing the planners (scientic) and users (cognitive) viewpoints in understanding a region. In his
study of the Hazleton region Berger adopted the

Stewardian model of cultural adaptation. In the

Pinelands study, however, they employed Bennetts adaptive systemic model. In this way they
could account for the complex feedback relations
and the explicit role of human choices in humanenvironment interactions (see Fig. .). Additionally, Berger and Sintons work on the Pinelands
built on, and was inuenced by, the earlier JunejaMcHarg plan for Medford, New Jersey, which borders the Pinelands.
Bennetts adaptive model permits the conceptualization of regions as socionatural entities that
are open systems interconnected functionally at
several scales, from local to national. Socionatural
systems are governed by complex feedback, part
positive and part negative. Moreover, they do not
have a denitive way of responding to changes in
human values, technology, or political systems. In
the New Jersey Pinelands study, adopting the concept of socionatural systems enabled Berger and
Sinton to examine peoples use of resources from
a historical perspective, including how the use was
linked to local, regional, and national institutions
and markets. Moreover, they asserted that a holistic understanding of the New Jersey Pinelands as
a socionatural system required that the planners
perspectives be augmented with the cognized
viewpoints of the users.
In their eldwork for the Pinelands study Berger
and Sinton applied environmental ethnography as
a way to reveal the material and aective aspects
of land use. They used an ethnographic technique
similar to that employed in the Hazleton study to
explore peoples use of resources within the context of local history and ecology. The technique
(interviewing key informants, participant observation, etc.) also enabled them to enrich the planners perspective with the users rich and pragmatic knowledge of the area.
Berger and Sinton used a map-overlay method
to delineate the policy regions of the Pine Barrens.
Then they surveyed various periods of historical
land use, focusing on resource use, migration, de-

Ecological Planning

their results, Berger and Stinton stated ve major


Image not available.

Fig. .. Land use in the late nineteenth century. Reproduced, by permission, from Berger and Sinton, Water,
Earth, and Fire.

mography, and economic structure (Fig. .). The

intent was to reveal the cultural basis of current
land use patterns and to explicate the relationships
between the local and regional socionatural systems. They also examined contemporary land
uses, emphasizing such issues as the seasonality
and distribution of resource uses, methods of resource extraction, and the cultural signicance of
the resource use in both the ecological and cultural contexts.
The examination revealed the traditional techniques of resource use and management; local and
subregional aesthetic forces; local and regional attitudes based on how social, economic, and political resources are controlled; conict-resolution
strategies; and extant land-use patterns. Based on

. Maintain regional control but decentralize the

planning process through relevant public participation.
. Select, when feasible, management strategies
that are best adapted to the social, economic,
and ecological arrangements of a subregion.
. Recognize patterns of landscape use and tradition as a basis for locating new uses.
. Embrace local skills and actors in site management.
. Recognize local and aesthetic subregional norms
in site design and management.49

Under proposition , for instance, Berger and Sinton observed that the traditions that helped stabilize community life along the Pine Barren coast included woodcraft, clean water, agriculture, and a
slow rate of growth and change. Figure . depicts
the traditions of land and water use for woodcraft
within the Manahawkin-Tuckerson subregion,
along the coast. Woodcraft depends on the continued availability and accessibility of woodlands.
It is therefore related to such issues as forest succession, beach access for driftwood, re history,
and the road network. An understanding of such
traditional patterns of land use can help in selecting sites for new development.
Berger and Sinton described the essence of their
approach, which they contended should be viewed
as an aid to existing planning frameworks rather
than a new one, as follows: Our proposed synthesis . . . provide[s] an understanding of the long
traditions of use and belief and their relationship
to the environment and to the quality of lifethe
social and mental health of local communities.
Each land use or complementary cluster of land
uses would then be understood in terms of exploitative technology, development activities, and
the social organization or political economy of a
place as well as the impacts of those landuse patterns on the social and natural environment, the
full range of participants, and the symbolic and
aesthetic meanings of those uses.50

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Traditions of land

and water use for woodcraft within the Manahawkin-Tuckerson subregion. Reproduced, by
permission, from Berger
and Sinton, Water, Earth,
and Fire.

While planning practitioners may not have the

time, technical expertise, or funds to scrutinize socionatural systems in the manner suggested by
Berger and Sinton, these researchers persuasively
demonstrate that understanding a region as a socionatural entity is crucial if one is to understand
the inner workings of biophysical-cultural systems at many spatial scales. Most importantly, they
proposed that ecological-planning studies should
include a section, written from a historical perspective, on interactions between the user group
and the environment. The studies would thus explicitly reveal the natural and cultural forces that
dictate landscape evolution. Additionally, ethnographic surveys provide valuable and rich information that complements information obtained
through conventional techniques of citizen participation.
In a article titled Guidelines for Landscape Synthesis Berger proposed that human-

ecological planning should be informed by a synthesis of data on cultural, economic, and ecological phenomena and processes that govern or are
governed by the use and abuse of resources.51 The
knowledge base for the synthesis should include
environmental history, relations between land use
and the landscape, and the humanistic view. Each
domain explains landscape evolution, but in each
there is a distinctive gap that is lled by the others.
Berger acknowledged that although the Stewardian mutualistic model and Bennetts systemic
adaptive model provide insightful explanations of
cultural adaptation, they neglect the spatial aspects of the landscape. Those who examine the relationship between land use and the landscape
seek to discover the t between landscape features
linked by natural processes that support or limit
human use of the landscape. However, they generalize about social and cultural processes. The
humanistic view of vernacular landscapes ex-

Ecological Planning

pressed in the writings of the landscape historian

J. B. Jackson and those of cultural and human geographers such as D. Meinig, W. G. Hoskins, and
the historian J. Stilgoe provide valuable insights
into historical, political, and sociocultural processes, but they generalize about the natural environment.
A synthesis of information from the three domains of knowledge, Berger argued, should be
fundamental in any human-ecological-planning
endeavor. He recommended a list of biophysical
and sociocultural data to be inventoried and analyzed to reveal information about the history of
landscape evolution; attitudes, norms, and controls associated with resource use; the social organization of resource use; future expectations
about the use of the landscape; and the t between
historical and proposed activities and natural processes. With this information, planners can formulate eective plans for the use, management,
and protection of landscapes.

Image not available.

Human Ecology for Land-Use Planning

If human-ecological planning is to eectively
guide the use of the landscape, its concepts and
procedures should be well understood by planners, politicians, and user groups. The inventory
and analysis of pertinent data should be easily
managed as well. The procedure prescribed by
Joanne Jackson and Steiner in Human Ecology
for Land-Use Planning () makes humanecology concepts readily accessible to planning
practitioners.52 It shows how insiders views of
land users and their adaptive strategies guide the
development of plans and how the plans can be
implemented through the existing social organization of the users.
The procedure is organized around the steps
found in most planning studies (Fig. .). The steps
. Establish planning goals.
. Gather a multidisciplinary team.
. Employ the human-ecology model.
. Obtain an overview.

Fig. .. Flow chart of a human-ecology study. Note

the numerous channels for feedback, indicating that
the process is iterative rather than linear. Redrawn
from Jackson and Steiner, Human Ecology for LandUse Planning, by M. Rapelje, .

. Establish boundaries.
. Identify the natural, sociocultural, and political
zones that make up the region.
. Identify user groups.
. Collect existing data.
. Evaluate the data.
. Generate necessary new data.
. Identify interactions and relationships.
. Produce models and materials.
. Evaluate and revise the process.

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Human-ecology model. Reproduced, by permission, from Jackson and Steiner,

Human Ecology for Land-Use Planning.

Steps , , and provide the human-ecology dimension. Jackson and Steiner argued that a generalized model of human ecology is sucient to understand interactions between humans and their
environment. The model they proposed depicts
the exchanges of energy, matter, and waste between humans and ecosystems (Fig. .). People
use labor, technology, and capital to transform energy and materials from the environment into
food sources. They ultimately consume the food
and create by-products such as heat and wastes,
which may harm the remaining resources.
By generalizing the model, Jackson and Steiner
argued, we can adjust it for various levels of analysis. The model can also be operationalized with respect to specic localities. As with the proposals
made by Berger and others, an understanding of
the insiders view is crucial in operationalizing the
model, especially in determining land uses and
deciding how a plan should be implemented.53
Jackson and Steiner also elaborated on how to
establish natural, sociocultural, and political zones

to make a human-ecology study more manageable. Sociocultural zones, they noted, are the most
dicult to establish since people with widely varying characteristics can occupy a locality. An investigation of the relationships between the land and
the users provides valuable insights for establishing cultural zones since it reveals how people use
and adapt to the land. The needed information is
varied but includes an examination of the landscape-evolution process for the region, the present
pattern of land uses, and the strategies people use
in adapting to the landscape. Published data would
be augmented with a focused ethnographic survey
to make the gathering and analysis of data more
Jackson and Steiner further prescribed four
specic themes to be revealed in synthesizing the
vast amount of data gathered: () interrelationships between the components of the natural system; () interrelationships between user groups;
() the demands made on the ecosystem by each
user group; and () the eectiveness of existing

Ecological Planning

regulations in achieving the future needs of each

user group. Standard suitability rankings are used
to combine the outcomes of the analysis to formulate an ecological plan. The outcomes can also
serve as a human-ecology accounting system for evaluating proposed planning actions.
In summary, Jackson and Steiners procedure is
an adaptation of human-ecology ideas into planning processes that planners understand well.
They noted that the most compelling argument
for human-ecological planning was the increased
likelihood that the resultant plans would be implemented. However, the human-ecology model
should be employed at the outset as a framework
for dening the nature and scope of the planning
problem. The model explicates interactions between humans and their environment and consequently profoundly aects how planning problems are dened.

The Living Landscape: A Human-Ecology Bias

In his eort to make human-ecological planning
more accessible to planners and designers, Steiner
included human-community inventory and analysis in the ecological-planning method he proposed
in The Living Landscape (). He argued for connecting socioeconomic analyses, which planners
do very well, to biophysical information.
Every locale, Steiner contended, has unique
qualities that should be examined and included in
landscape assessment and planning. He reviewed
techniques and data sources for conducting social
inventories, including how to generate new information through surveys, interviews, and participant observation. Once inventoried, social information is linked to information about biophysical
processes through an analysis of established visual
and landscape patterns and through an identication of interactions. Visual-resource techniques
are used to reveal visual patterns. Landscape patterns are discerned through spatial frameworks
similar to the patch-corridor-matrix framework suggested by Richard Forman and Michel Godron
(see chapter ).

Matrices are used to identify interactions between biophysical factors, between user groups,
and between user demands. The results of the various analysespopulation and economic characteristics, visual and landscape patterns, interrelationshipsare combined to establish community
needs. Community needs relate issues to goals being pursued in a planning program, which in turn
may reveal a need to amend or articulate new
goals or even new issues.
If we scrutinize methods used in other approaches, we nd that a number of them emphasize human ecology to varying degrees. Certainly
the work of Juneja and McHarg in Medford Township, New Jersey in the early s continues to
exemplify innovative eorts to integrate social
values into ecological planning. Zev Naveh and
Arthur Liebermans Total Human Ecosystem
model, presented in Landscape Ecology, has a human-ecology bias since it is based on the idea that
man-and-his-total-environment form one single
whole in nature that can be, should be and will be
studied in its totality.54

Place making is a dominant theme in many ecological planning and design endeavors. Here I discuss some of my own works, related works by my
former students, and those of Michael Hough,
Jones & Jones, and Darrel Morrison to illustrate
various ways the concept of place has been operationalized and applied in planning and design.

A Culture-Sensitive Method: The Burwash

Native Canadian Community-Design Study
In the early s I worked with a team of geographers, landscape architects, and planners from the
Rural Development Outreach Project at the University of Guelph, in Canada, on numerous projects that included developing community plans for
Native (Indian) Canadian communities in northern
Ontario.55 The Burwash Native Peoples Project

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. The Burwash community site. The foreground and midground are covered by pasture and open elds.
The background, with its knobs, ridges, marshes, hardwoods, and evergreen trees, is typical of northern Ontarios boreal forests. For the Burwash group the site evokes strong feelings about the Ojibway historical settlements, characterized by diverse ecosystems that support housing, shing, hunting, and trapping. Photograph by
author, .

(BNPP), in which I played a leading role, entailed

assessing the biophysical and cultural resources on
an ,-acre site, selecting the location for a new
community within the site, and developing conceptual master plans.56 The site is located in the
transitional zone between the St. Lawrence River
and the boreal forest regions of northern Ontario,
miles south of Sudbury (Fig. .).
The study was conducted on behalf of the nonprot BNPP, led by an eighteen-member board of
directors made up of both Ojibway Indians ()
and non-native Canadians (). It was formed in
to address social and economic decline in Indian communities. Besides the typical biophysical
assessment conducted in most ecological studies,
the BNPP board required that the planning and design team involve members of the community and
use other mechanisms to ensure that the planning

and design process, as well as the products, reected Ojibway values. Board members were concerned that traditional citizen-participation techniques used in the planning of similar native
communities had not adequately captured native
values. The board contended that the native way
of life was distinct and should be integrated in the
design of their new community.
The primary challenge, therefore, was to develop and implement a framework for integrating
native viewpoints in resource assessment, site selection, and conceptual design development. Thus,
a cross-cultural dimension was added to the dimensions of the human-ecological-planning eorts
reviewed so far. Cross-cultural situations occur
when a planner or designer belongs to a social
group whose culture diers from that of the client
group. Among other ramications, cross-cultural

Ecological Planning

settings suggest the potential for miscommunication and distortion of information among actors
in the planning process.
We synthesized ideas from numerous sources
to develop a conceptual base for the study, especially the sense of place construct, cultural adaptation, and suitability analyses.57 I took the lead in
reinterpreting the challengeseeking the sustained t between the experiential and physical
environments of the future inhabitants of the
Burwash community. Kevin Lynchs comment is
instructive: A good settlement is one that can be
perceived . . . and meaningful to its inhabitants . . .
with its elements linked to other events and places
in a coherent mental representation of time and
space . . . and a representation that can be connected with non-spatial concepts and values. This
is the join between the form of the environment
and the human processes of perception and cognition.58
The t between the experiential and physical
environments diers, however, among various social groups since the basis of the t is largely culturespecic. The idea of t is captured concisely in
David Canter and Edward Relphs construct of
place as depicted in Figure ., in which I substituted experience for meanings and conceptions. Consequently, my proposition for a framework that integrates native inputs eectively in planning and
design involved an examination of () the opportunities and constraints aorded by the biophysical environment (site) based on natives and planners viewpoints; () the activities and institutions
the Ojibway use in satisfying their needs and desires in the landscape, paying attention to formal
determinants and noting their constancy and
change over time; () prior images the future inhabitants hold of nature as identied in the spatial
organization of their past settlements and their future expectations for the site. Furthermore, since
the degree to which an outsider (planner or designer) can understand a peoples way of life is limited, continuous involvement of the client group

in all phases of the planning process was undoubtedly crucial.

We applied the framework in the planning and
design of the Burwash community using an ethnographic inquiry similar to that used by Jonathan
Berger. It involved () a review of the cultural and
natural history of the Ojibway drawn from varied
sources, such as land-use histories, folklore, and
myths; () participant observation; () interviews
with key informants, especially the elders, whose
views were well respected within the Ojibway social structure; () direct communication, including
environmental walks with the client on the geographical site proposed for development; () cognitive mapping to ascertain future preferences for
the organization of space and elements on the site;
and () site reconnaissance and analysis (Fig. .).
We obtained three types of results organized in
a past-present-future continuum. These results included: () signicant factors in their way of life
that have remained consistent over time as formal
determinants in the physical organization of their
settlements; () cultural interpretations of biophysical resources, notions of environmental quality in
relation to the site, and preferred linkages of activities within the site; and () cultural denitions
of land-use requirements and notions of environmental quality as expressed through ideal spatial
qualities of activities and their locational relationships.
The results were synthesized as culturally based
planning and design criteria and guidelines that
might be used in two ways. First, the future inhabitants of the Burwash community might use
them to lay out the proposed settlement after the
designer had developed a structural plan depicting
a generalized layout of spaces and infrastructure.
Second, working in conjunction with the community, the planner or designer might develop a master and site plan based on the cultural criteria. Although the rst method captured the real meaning
of ongoing community involvement, we recommended the latter since it was more consistent

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Master plan for the Burwash community, Ontario, Canada. Reproduced, by permission, from Ndubisi,
Phenomenological Approach to Design for Amer-Indian Cultures.

with the approach the Canadian federal government, which is responsible for the aairs of Native
Canadians, uses in evaluating native-community
The outcomes of the BNPP study are too numerous to list here. For example, we found that
historically almost all Ojibway settlements have
been located close to bodies of water, emphasizing the Ojibway symbolism of water as a giver of
life. This trend continues today. For the Ojibway,
recreation is a part of all living, not something that

takes place in a designated time or place. Consequently, their settlements do not have areas set
aside specically for recreational use but exist
within natural settings that can be viewed as parklike, with large tracts of land separating individual
homes. Moreover, linear and grid patterns have
never existed in their settlements, only curvilinear
and circular forms, expressing unity, continuity,
completeness, and circular aspects of natural process.59
The framework we implemented revealed the

Ecological Planning

underlying social structure of this Ojibway group,

permitting us to move beyond the typical functional and aesthetic considerations employed in
most planning and design studies. For example, I
attempted to conduct visual studies, only to nd
out that my notions of perceived beauty were
dierent from those of the Ojibway, for whom an
environment was beautiful if it served their everyday needs.
While I do not expect most planners and designers to commit the resources essential to undertaking this type of study, much can be learned
from the Burwash study. Crucial aspects include
examining the clients viewpoint and expectations
on issues dened by the client; understanding
landscape evolution from both a natural and a cultural perspective; understanding the clients notion of spatial organization and environmental
quality; and providing mechanisms for continuous
community involvement in the development and
implementation of a plan.
The BNPP study provided the conceptual and
procedural framework for subsequent community planning and design studies conducted for
native communities by an interdisciplinary team
that included Elizabeth Brabec, Richard Forster,
George Penfold, and my mentor and friend, the
late architect Joan Simon.60

Other Studies
Recently, two of my former students utilized the
place construct as the analytical base for their
work. Jeery Fahs operationalized the place construct to develop a design for the central business
district (CBD) in Del Rio, Texas.61 Del Rio sits on
the bank of the Rio Grande, which separates the
United States from Mexico. Seventy percent of Del
Rios population are Mexican Americans. Many of
them migrated from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, a sister city to Del Rio, located just beyond the border.
Jeery Fahs operationalized the place construct
I used in the Burwash study in the form of a series
of questions. Peoples responses were intended to

reveal spatial elements and relationships in the

landscape that have persisted over time, and also,
based on the user expectations and experience, [to
reveal] which elements are [likely] to persist in the
future.62 He deconstructed the elements of place
into functional, structural, and experiential categories:
Functional: What do people do? Who does what,
why, how, and when?
Structural: Where do people perform which activities? How does the form of the site respond to
the users purpose?
Experiential: How are overt and covert site phenomena revealed? What signicance do the site
elements and site phenomena have for the users?
What are the major spatial themes associated
with the phenomena?

By means of an ethnographic survey Fahs provided answers to these questions that, combined
with site analysis, enabled him to propose design
criteria sensitive to the users needs and values.
Philippe Doineau adapted a similar place construct as an analytical tool to develop a heritage
and demonstration trail in Sapelo Island, Georgia.63 One of the barrier islands along the coast of
Georgia, Sapelo Island is located approximately
forty-ve miles southeast of Savannah. It is one of
the few islands along the Eastern seaboard that is
still inhabited by Gullah African Americans, descendants of slaves. Doineaus place concept, initially proposed by Amos Rapoport, links culture to
activity systems.64 My elaboration on the framework reveals culture as an embodiment of values,
behavioral patterns, artifacts, activity systems, and
lifestyles.65 Value systems, which can be used to
dierentiate among subcultures, motivate people
to satisfy their needs in specic ways. Given the
same goals, and within a perceived and cognitively
dened eld, the ways of satisfying needs become
roughly similar. The satisfaction of peoples needs,
therefore, is reected in their activity systems and
lifestyles, both of which are culturally informed.
As dened by Amos Rapoport, lifestyles comprise

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

manners, roles, choices, role allocation, and resource allocation.66

Doineaus design of the heritage and demonstration trail was based on () the values the Sapelo
Island residents placed on the landscape and its resources; () constancy in the artifacts and technology of the Gullah culture, especially vernacular
forms that have not changed much; () the traditional activities in which the African American inhabitants are currently engaged; () the manner in
which those activities are conducted; and () the
identication of ecologically suitable lands that
support such activities. His design was based on
the t between the outcomes of steps and
step .
In his provocative, well-illustrated book Out of
Place () Michael Hough examined why and
how contemporary landscapes lose their identity
and then prescribed procedural principles for
reestablishing their uniqueness. Houghs ideas are
particularly instructive because they touch upon
an important debate reected in the writings and
comments of many landscape architects in the
s and s, namely, the culture-ecology divide.67 One important argument in the debate was
that the need to deconstruct natural and cultural
systems in order to analyze them by itself created
a separation between natural processes and humanity. If that argument is valid, which I doubt,
then the human-ecological methods, especially
those developed at Pennsylvania, must be subject
to the same criticism. Additionally, I suspect that
Hough and many others do not view their works
as falling under the label of human ecological
planning and design. Yet, their obvious concern
for a synthesis of human and natural processes to
guide design decisions certainly is human ecology.
Natural processes and social forces, according
to Hough, create characteristic and distinctly identiable landscapes. Drawing on examples from diverse parts of the world, including Hong Kong,
England, Turkey, Canada, and the United States,
he illuminated forces that erode identity in con-

temporary landscapes. The primary determinants

of todays landscapes are capitalism, economics,
and technological forces that disregard the rich
traditions of the past and the inherent diversity of
ecological systems and human communities.
Creating places in contemporary landscapes, he
argued, begins with a search for their regional
identity. For Hough, regional identity represents a
blending of the native landscapethe natural processes of a region or localityand the social processesthe way people perceive, use, and adapt to
the region. Whenever the processes of nature are
the same, similar landscapes emerge. Conversely,
similar cultural forces produce similar forms in
biophysically dierent landscapes . . . [and] regional dierences where biophysical forces produce similar forms. One begins, therefore, with
an examination of the natural history of the landscape to reveal, among other things, the complexity of forms and species . . . and life forms
uniquely adapted to the environment.68
But natural history, Hough noted, is not totally
natural once we view humanity as a part of natural processes. The next important and parallel
consideration, therefore, is cultural history. The
vernacular of a region is the dominant expression
of the places history, the forms that emerge from
peoples adaptation to the landscape to satisfy
needs given the constraints of the region, climate,
social and legal control mechanisms, and technology. Vernacular forms occur when people are tied
to places because of their sense of investment in
the landscape. As new human needs and technological forces exert themselves, new landscape
forms may emerge that are not congruent with
the existing vernacular. But the vernacular is not
totally erased: its elements may still be revealed in
remnant plant communities, old paving stones,
land forms, and the like.
A third component of regional identity is the
aesthetic experience people have as a consequence
of interactions between natural processes and
cultural forces. Once humanity is viewed as part

Ecological Planning

of nature, we can seek to understand peoples aesthetic experience of the landscape. But peoples
aesthetic experiences cannot be fully understood
through landscape-perception techniques currently
employed in most ecological planning. Most
landscape-perception techniques leave out the
unmeasurable, ephemeral things that in reality are
largely responsible for the aesthetic experience.69
Hough argues that aesthetic experience has little
to do with the creation of vernacular landscapes.
Instead, perceived beauty is a result of how well
our landscapes coincide with our ability to solve
the problems of living and habitation.
To create places, therefore, Hough recommended that we begin with an understanding of
the regional identity. But a peoples regional identity is not xed in space and time; it has to be sustained: The connections between regional identity and sustainability of the land are essential. A
valid design philosophy, therefore, is tied to ecological values and principles; to the notions of environmental and social health; to the essential
bond of people and nature; and to the biological
sustainability of life itself.70
A number of design principles emerge from this
Understand a place in terms of its natural and cultural processes, establishing identity through the
landscape and creating dierent places for dierent people.
Maintain a sense of history through the use and integration of old and new.
Promote environmental learning to encourage
people to maintain the integrity of the natural
and the cultural landscape.
Intervene only when necessary; from minimal
resources and energy comes maximum environmental and social benets.
Invest in the productivity and diversity of landscapes,
Focus on the things that can be accomplished.

Similar views are evident in the writings of

many designers. In The Poetics of City and Nature Anne Spirn argues for understanding the un-

derlying landscape structure (natural processes and

social structure) as a basis of design, a theme she
elaborated upon convincingly in The Language of
Landscape (). The social critic and landscape architect Randolph Hester has long advocated the integration of social values and design. His numerous works, especially that on Manteo (on Roanoke
Island, o the northeast coast of North Carolina)
in the early s, illustrate how places can be understood in terms of their importance to those
who use them and how the continued maintenance of such places is related fundamentally to
the social structure and the natural processes from
which they evolved.71
The ecological-planning-and-design studies undertaken by Jones & Jones, a landscape-architecture, environmental-planning, and urban-design
rm in Seattle, exemplify eorts to operationalize
the notion of place in ecological design and planning. In numerous projects conducted in the
past three decades, the rm sought to understand
peoples aesthetic experiences in the landscape to
better illuminate how the landscape functions.
Grant Jones, a co-founder and partner in the rm,
and Megan Atkinson describe the rms philosophy as knowing how to design our relationship
with the land.72
Jones & Joness study of the Nooksack River in
Washington State in was a notable early study
that put their philosophy into practice.73 The purpose of the study was to identify those portions of
the river that were best suited for preservation
(limited use), passive recreation (moderate use),
and active recreation (intensive use); to recommend areas of the river to be acquired; and to
identify critical areas where conservation-management techniques must be implemented. Their
emphasis was to discover the highest potential
levels of a river experience based on how strongly
the river expressed itself.74
To address the rst question in their philosophy,
Where am I, and what is this place? Jones &
Jones postulated that the way people experienced

The Applied-Human-Ecology Approach

a landscape, in this case a river, was a function of

the rivers intrinsic characteristics. According to
Grant Jones, areas of the river possessing the
highest aesthetic quality were assumed to be those
that most strongly and distinctly express inherent
natural processes and form. . . . The Quality of
Experience can be predicted and given a value
based on the magnitude of natural landscape expression and its health, which combined represent
landscape integrity.75
To implement the rms postulation in the
Nooksack River study, Jones & Jones established a
hierarchy of river segments that served as a framework for data collection and evaluation. They
dened the study boundary as the river realm, made
up of the geographical territory of the watershed
and the viewshed, what people see in the watershed. They broke the river realm down into its
component parts, smaller drainage basins linked
to a stream order. Jones & Jones then recorded the
type, frequency, and magnitude of the natural and
cultural characteristics within each segment.
Each segment was evaluated for its ecological
health, based on indicators such as uniqueness, the
signicance and distinctiveness of natural or cultural characteristics; diversity, the variety, complexity, and evenness of the physical and visual characteristics of the river and within the river landscape;
and fragility, the ability to survive stress. Information on the magnitude of the river characteristics
was combined with information on the health of
the river to establish the overall value for the rivers
integrity, which they used as the primary criterion
for designating segments of the Nooksack River for
preservation, recreation, and conservation.
After the rst question was addressed, Jones &
Jones then focused on the second and third questions, which I will not elaborate upon because they
emphasize site-specic design issues. The rms
postulation about how people experience the
landscape provided the framework for numerous
later projects, including their upper Susitna River
study in south-central Alaska (), the Yakima

River Conservancy in Washington State (), the

lowland-gorilla exhibit in Seattle (), and the
North Carolina Botanical Garden ().
The works of Darrel Morrison, formerly dean
of the School of Environmental Design at the University of Georgia, deserve mention. Morrison
views his work as sustainable design. Deeply inuenced by Aldo Leopolds land ethic, Jens Jensons
ideas on capturing the essence of a regional landscape, as well as the Brazilian Burle Marxs notions
of curvilinear forms, where the visual terminus
is always changing, he espoused specic ideas
about understanding places. One must understand
the character of the regional landscape, the types
of human uses, and the visual essence of a site.
The visual essence of a placeforms, lines, texture, and patterns that together endow a place
with its coherence, intactness, and memorabilityevolves from the landscape.76
Place making, according to Darrel Morrison, is
a design process that reects the patterns created
by historically and ecologically identiable patterns: naturally occurring plant communities, the
values and aspirations expressed by the users of
the site, and the visual character. His plans for the
Atlanta Historical Society and the Wildower
Center in Austin, Texas, reect the principles he
espoused (see Fig. .).
If the fundamental idea in human ecological
planning and design is to synthesize information about natural and human processes to guide
planning and design decisions, then the idea is
alive and well today. Irrespective of the perspective from which one views relations between humans and the environment, the central argument
of human-ecological planners and designers is to
search for the best t between ecologically suitable and culturally desirable locations, maximized for the adaptive strengths of the various
users of an area. People and their interactions
with the land are the primary focus of humanecological planning, which assumes that culture

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. The Wildower Center in Austin, Texas.

Morrisons design captures the landscape structure and
the visual essence of the site. Photograph by Darrel
Morrison, .

is the mediating factor in human-environment

Human-ecological planning has not received
the attention it deserves in ecological-planning lit-

erature or practice. In fact, recent literature hardly

uses the term human-ecological planning. Instead,
planners and designers use terms such as sustainable design and place making.
Human ecology has always been a stepchild of
many disciplines and is rarely recognized as a
discipline. Its conceptual boundaries are poorly
dened. There are numerous human-ecology
concepts, but well-developed ecological-planning
methods are lacking. Additionally, while humanecology concepts provide valuable insights into social and cultural processes, they generalize about
the natural environments.
In the absence of a denite set of methodological directives, the translation of the concepts is
cumbersome, involving a repertoire of qualitative
techniques, such as ethnographic surveys, unfamiliar to most planners and designers. Consequently, the operationalization of these concepts
into planning has occurred on a project-by-project
The emerging discipline of landscape ecology
fascinates many planners and landscape architects
because of its concern with three inseparable
perspectives: visual, chronological, and ecosystemic.77 Indeed, these are quite similar to the issues addressed by human-ecological planners and
designers. Unlike human ecology, however, landscape ecology has an explicit spatial emphasis.

the applied-ecosystem

The applied-ecosystem approach is chiey concerned with managing human societies within their ecological contexts. It embraces an array of methods that examine the structure and function of landscapes and how they respond to human
and natural inuences. Those who have proposed applied-ecosystem methods use
the concept of the ecosystem as the framework for understanding and analyzing
landscapes. They view the ecosystem as a combined human and natural system
in which the components are related and interact. For them, the ecosystem is selfregulating and has a limited capacity for recovery.
The ecosystem approach is not unique to the eld of ecological planning. It is
used in many disciplines, including human ecology, cultural anthropology, sociology, and psychology. In ecological planning, however, the applied-ecosystem approach emerged from the conuence of concepts derived from the following disciplines: ecosystem sciences, particularly ecosystem ecology, with its emphasis on
the structure, function, and behavior of ecosystems through both theoretical
work and eldwork;1 systems theory, leaning toward cause-and-eect relationships
and the related concepts of cybernetics and holism; economics, with a focus on environmental externalities in the allocation of resources; and landscape suitability,
particularly in methods and techniques that permit ecological processes to be
linked to their landscape location. This conuence was made possible by the
dominant inuence of systems thinking in the late s and early s and the
popularity of the ecosystem concept as an organizing theme for understanding

Ecological Planning

human-dominated and natural landscapes and

how they respond to change.
In the applied-ecosystem approach general systems theory structures and denes the boundaries
of a management problem or issue. At its most elemental level, the concept of system entails physical or social environment, inputs, transformations,
outputs, and complex feedback mechanisms. Once
the boundary of the landscape is described in terms
of ecosystems, concepts such as resiliency, replacement time, and equilibrium are employed to examine the characteristics of the ecosystems and to
understand their potential responses to human and
natural inuences. Quantitative rather than qualitative techniques are favored in assessing ecosystem dynamics and responses.
Criteria for evaluating the state of the ecosystem
include explicit or implicit considerations of its
value, quality, well-being, or integrity. The output
is varied but often results in principles that guide
management actions. Many applied-ecosystem
methods also have a strong administrative and
institutional orientation. Often deemphasized in
studies using applied-ecosystem methods are the
aesthetic features of the ecosystems.
The applied-ecosystem approach is used by a
much wider group of ecological-planning professionals, including landscape architects, planners, resource managers, wildlife and conservation biologists, and environmental managers, than
are the LSAs and the applied-human-ecology approach. The applied-ecosystem approach is used
to address large-scale development, conservation,
preservation, restoration, and management issues
in both urbanizing and rural landscapes, though
most applications have occurred in natural and
rural landscapes.
The applications are numerous, for example,
the development of state-of-the-environment reports such as the United Nations Environmental
Programmes (UNEP) Environmental Data Report,
prepared by the Global Environmental Monitoring Center in London; the development of indices
for air and water quality; the management of agri-

cultural ecosystems to maximize the production

of food and ber; the restoration of damaged
landscapes; the enhancement of water quality in
the Great Lakes based on the Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement of , amended in ; and
the planning and management of state and national parks, wildlife preserves, and wilderness areas. A majority of the documented applications
are found in the research environment, such as in
pilot and experimental projects; however, applications in practice are increasing.
Ecological-planning professionals use the applied-ecosystem approach to answer the following
questions: What is the current state, health, wellbeing, or integrity of the ecosystem under consideration and what is its capacity for self-sustenance?
How does the ecosystem behave in response to human and natural inuences? What management
actions and administrative arrangements ensure
the sustained integrity or well-being of the ecosystem in the face of human and naturally induced
change? These broad questions largely separate
the applied-ecosystem approach from other approaches, especially in terms of the methodological directives it oers for managing human actions
in the landscape.
The more specic questions typically include:
How can the study area be dened in terms of ecologically meaningful units? What are the structural characteristics of the ecosystem? What are
the primary pathways for the input and output of
materials, nutrients, and energy? How does change
(human and natural inuences) aect the quantity
and quality of the pathways? What is the impact of
the change on the ecosystem? How are the byproducts of output treated? Which measures best
describe the stability of the ecosystem? Which
management actions (restoration, conservation,
preservation) ensure the sustained productivity of
the ecosystem? How can the cumulative eects of
the management decisions on the ecosystem be
predicted? What resources (funds, manpower, organization) will be needed to ensure the successful implementation of the management actions;

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

for instance, which agencies are best suited to

manage the ecosystem, and how will they cooperate in its long-term management?
Methods within the applied-ecosystem approach
address these questions but vary on which ones
they emphasize. The adjective applied arms that
ecological planning is a problem-solving activity
that draws on principles from ecosystem sciences
and allied disciplines to solve problems dealing
with human adaptation to the landscape. Thus,
my review of the methods favors the applied
rather than the theoretical methods.

The Ecosystem Concept
The ecosystem is made up of interacting physical
and chemical environmental and biotic factors
connected through the ow of energy and material. It is a part of a hierarchy of physical systems

that range from the atom to the universe. Equilibrium is the fundamental force that drives the organization and conservation of the ecosystem,
always moving it toward stability. However, complete stability is rarely attained; it can only be approximated whenever the factors at work are
constant and stable for a long period of time.2
Ecosystems are open systems in that energy,
materials, and species are constantly entering and
leaving. They also have a characteristic structure
and function (Fig. .). Structure is the spatial composition of the biotic and abiotic elements in the
natural and human environments, while function
deals with the ow of energy and materials within
or between the elements. Ecosystems range in size
from the biosphere to a pond. Recognized as an integral part of the ecosystem, humans are seen to
have the ability to alter the ecosystem drastically.
As the ecologist Frank Golley put it, An understanding of the ecosystem concept and the realization that mankind is a part of these complex

Image not available.

Fig. .. The visible features of the landscapelandform, riparian areas, and treesare sustained by the ow of
nutrients, energy, and species. Photograph by author, .

Ecological Planning

biogeochemical cycles is fundamental to ecology

and to human aairs generally.3
How has the ecosystem concept informed the
applied-ecosystem approach? Golley suggested
three ways in which the ecosystem concept has
served science and society. First, the ecosystem
is the object under scientic investigation. In this
sense the ecosystem is viewed as an ecotype, the
smallest spatial object that has scientic properties.4 This was the way Arthur Tansley conceptualized the ecosystem in . Following Tansleys
lead, Raymond Lindeman operationalized the
ecosystem in his study of an object, the Cedar Bog
Lake in Minnesota, published in . Numerous
ecological studies conducted under the auspices of
the International Biological Program, or IBP, have
also investigated the ecosystem.
Second, the ecosystem is used as a theoretical
paradigm for organizing ecological research.
When used in this way, stated Golley, the concept meant that the investigators [as well as
ecological planners] had in mind that they were
dealing with a natural system wherein the components were linked and interacted; this system
has certain operating properties and controls and
evidenced a constant pattern under certain conditions . . . if we adopt this latter point of view, we
will manage our relations with each other and
with the environment in a dierent way than if we
view humans and nature as separate systems.
Thus, the ecosystem perspective can lead toward
an ecological philosophy, and from philosophy it
can lead to an environmental value system, environmental law, and a political agenda.5
The third way combines the notions of the
ecosystem as object, scientic paradigm, and
holistic point of view. Since the applied-ecosystem
methods focus on the application of ecological
principles in planning, most planners adopt the
third perspective. A study area is usually reinterpreted as ecosystems, which then become objects
to be investigated. Properties and behavior are
examined, the examiners bearing in mind that

the components of an ecosystem interact and

are linked by the ow of nutrients, energy, and
species. When additional substantive information
is needed, the methods draw upon ecological research that uses the ecosystem as object. An example is the long-term ecosystem studies conducted by Herbert Bormann and Gene Likens on
watersheds, discussed in chapter .

General Systems Theory

Tansley used the idea of systems in his conceptualization of the ecosystem. Delineating systems
helped him clarify his ideas about the organization
of nature. A system is a complex in which the interactions of the parts constitute the functioning
of the whole. The landscape ecologists Zev Naveh
and Arthur Lieberman dened general systems
theory, or GST, as a holistic scientic theory and
philosophy of the hierarchical order of nature as
open systems with increasing complexity and organization and with living systems and ecological
systems as their special biosystem subsets.6 It
stresses the cybernetics of open systems, placing
emphasis on self-regulation, self-organization, and
feedback, cybernetics being the study of interactional systems.
Ludwig von Bertalany, the German theoretical biologist, proposed GST in the late s,
though the idea can be traced back to the fthcentury .. Greek philosopher Heraclitus (
).7 Heraclitus, Von Bertalany realized that
biological systems are too complex to be understood in terms of simple causal linear relationships. Traditional scientic methods tend to reduce a system to its component parts to reveal
causal linear relationships.
In contrast, GST emphasizes the relationship
between the parts, taking into account the possibility for feedback, self-regulation, and hierarchical relationships. GST assumes that the parts are
in harmony as long as the system remains in a
state of equilibrium. Since ecosystems are open
systems, GST has been especially useful for ex-

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

plaining the complexity of ecosystems and, by

extension, dening the nature and boundaries
of ecological-planning and resource-management
problems. Similar to the ecosystem concept,
GST links and integrates cultural and ideological,
quantitative and normative approaches, and qualitative and descriptive approaches.8 The problem
with using GST, some argue, is that details are sacriced when the focus is on the relationships
among the parts of a system. In addition, there is
always a tendency to use GST to develop models
that are removed from reality. This was particularly evident in the ecological modeling studies
undertaken by the IBP. They suered from the lack
of adequate data and failed to produce comprehensive descriptions of ecosystems and predictions that could be readily veried.
Related to GST is the concept of holism proposed by the ecologist John Smuts in Holism and
Evolution. Holism is grounded in the notion that
unied structures or wholes have an identity and
an existence that are more than the sum of their
component parts. A holistic entity results from a
process of creative synthesis that integrates its
components. Extended into ecological studies, the
signicance was that one could study an ecosystem without knowing all the components. As
Anna Hersperger points out, Holism gave the
impetus to the development of GST and modeling to bridge the gap between the analyst and the
holist.9 However, the utility of holism at an operational level remains a subject of much debate.

Ecosystem Dynamics and Behavior

The applied-ecosystem approach is used to understand an ecosystems structural and functional
characteristics and how they interact. The eects
and signicance of human-induced and naturally
occurring stresses are evaluated, and appropriate
management actions are prescribed. I use the term
dynamics to denote the interactions among an
ecosystems characteristic components. Behavior
implies changes in the interactions as ecosystems

Table .. Key Structural and Functional

Characteristics of an Ecosystem

respond to stresses. Table . shows the key structural and functional characteristics of an ecosystem.
Understanding ecosystem dynamics and behavior has been hampered by the extreme complexity
of ecosystems. They lie in a nested hierarchy, and
yet for purposes of description and analysis they
must be abstracted from reality by placing them
within boundaries.10 The size of an ecosystem under examination depends on the interest of the analyst or on convenience. In a similar vein, distinct
ecosystem boundaries rarely exist. Often they
are adapted to embrace all functioning processes
within the study area, for example, nutrient cycles
and ows of energy.
Multidimensional interactions between a wide
range of organisms are involved in examining
ecosystem dynamics.11 The interactions themselves are dynamic, time-dependent, and constantly changing. In addition, some of the eects
of the interactions are carried back to their source
(feedbacks). Some feedbacks may be positive when
the eect is increased, and some may be negative
when it decreases. Moreover, living organisms are
variable in the sense that the actions of one impact
on the others, directly or indirectly, such as in competition or predation among organisms.

Ecological Planning

Because of these characteristics of ecological

systems, ecologists have examined ecosystem function, structure, and dynamics in many ways.12
Natural history records ecological entities that can
easily be perceived rather than abstract concepts
such as energy and nutrient cycles. Usually, one
or more subsets of ecosystem characteristics, such
as predator-prey relationships or the habitats of
keystone plant species, are examined in greater
Other ways of describing ecosystem characteristics and interactions include the compartmentow analysis, which simulates energy and material
exchange processes within and among ecosystems;13 the stimulus-response strategy, which relates natural inuences or human actions to
transformations in ecological systems and pays
particular attention to the ability of the systems to
survive the eects of the actions;14 the thermodynamics method, which describes the physical
states and transactions in ecological systems using
the concept of entropy to determine whether the
systems will transform from one state to another.15 These varied ways of examining ecosystem characteristics and dynamics recognize the
complexity of ecological systems and the limits of
predicting the eects of human-induced and naturally occurring stresses.

Ecosystem Response to Stress

Equilibrium and stability are two fundamental
features of ecosystems. Since ecosystems are dynamic entities, they always move toward equilibrium or seek a state of stability (Fig. .). The more
stable an ecosystem, the greater the likelihood
that it will be able to sustain itself. According to the
ecologist Eugene Odum, ecosystem development
culminates in a stabilized ecosystem in which
maximum biomass [or high information content]
and symbiotic function between organisms are
maintained per unit of energy ow. In a word, the
strategy of succession as a short-term process is
basically the same as the strategy of long-term

evolutionary development of the biosphere

namely increased control of, or homeostasis with,
the physical environment in the sense of achieving
maximum protection from perturbations.16
Stresses or perturbations may disrupt the stability of an ecosystem by modifying its behavior.
Dening stress in ecosystems is problematic even
though published summaries are numerous.17
The problem arises because ecosystems are continuously subjected to external conditions that
cause stress. Naturally induced stresses may be air
pollution, extreme uctuations in climatic conditions, or pest infestation on plant species. These
stresses may be intensied by human actions such
as construction activities, deforestation, and elevated levels of ozone. Under certain conditions,
minimal levels of stress enhance the productivity
of ecosystems. Indeed, the evolutionary development of ecosystems has occurred under divergent
stress conditions; ecosystems have developed varied abilities to recover from stress and establish a
new equilibrium. The inability to do so results in
a progressive degradation of the ecosystem.
Sustaining an ecosystems stability while maximizing its productivity for other uses, therefore, is
the end state most applied-ecosystem methods
seek to promote. This end state is termed ecosystem health or well-being, ecosystem integrity, and
ecosystem value. Stability is implied in each of these
terms, implicitly or explicitly. Stability is a much
more complex state than suggested in chapter .
There is much controversy over how ecosystem
stability can best be measured. An important question at the core of this controversy is, What characteristics of the ecosystem should be stable in the
face of change induced by natural and human
Ecologists responses to this question are varied. Among factors they suggest examining are
the stability of species populations, including
their feeding relationships;18 the biomass of the
species;19 and the integrity of the ecosystem,
dened by variables such as species diversity,20 nat-

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Successional sequence after disturbance in the Piedmont landscape in Georgia. Photograph by author,

uralness,21 and the eciency of energy transfer

and nutrient cycling.22
Other responses include determining the ecosystems sensitivity or vulnerability to perturbation
(the greater the sensitivity, the less the stability);23
its resilience, or ability to respond to disturbances,
measured by factors such as the presence or absence of biota and water-holding capacity;24 its
resistance to disturbance, measured in terms of
biomass, capacity to store essential resources, and
survival history of past environmental changes;
and changes to its structure and functioning, measured in terms of factors such as species composition, species diversity, gross production, biomassrespiration ratio, and entropy.25
These varied responses suggest the immense
disagreement that exists about indicators of ecosystem dynamics and behavior. In the last thirty
years, catastrophe theory and nonequilibrium

dynamics have further complicated the search for

reliable indicators of ecosystem stability. These
theories suggest that complex systems such as
ecosystems sometimes develop in nonlinear, discontinuous (catastrophes), unpredictable (bifurcations), and multiple pathways.26 In Ilya
Prigogine won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for
explaining better than anyone before him how
living systems defy the second law of thermodynamics, sometimes known as the entropy law:
under certain conditions living systems move
away from equilibrium and establish new organizational structures and species.27
To sum up, the ecosystem concept provides the
organizational framework for both investigating
the landscape and dening questions to be resolved in managing landscape change. GST and
holism establish the methodological rules by emphasizing a systems approach. The complexity of

Ecological Planning

ecosystems, however, calls into play diverse procedures for examining ecosystem structure, function, dynamics, and behavior. The spectrum of
procedures speaks to the disagreement that exists
about reliable indicators of ecosystem stability.


The applied-ecosystem approach may be subdivided into methods for ecosystem classication,
ecosystem evaluation, and holistic ecosystem management. Similar to the LSA methods, the divisions
reect an increasing capability of the appliedecosystem methods to accomplish tasks typically
associated with conventional planning: goal setting, inventory and assessment, development of
alternative plans, decision making, and implementation. The tasks, however, are organized from
a system perspective that emphasizes cause-andeect, interdependency, and feedback relationships.
Ecosystem-classication methods are used to
describe the structural and functional characteristics of ecosystems, spatially and temporally. Ecosystem-evaluation methods are used to classify
ecosystem characteristics, examine their interactions, and evaluate their behavior in response to
stress. The holistic-ecosystem methods can perform all these tasks; in addition, they are comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and goal-oriented, as
well as having a strong administrative and institutional orientation.

In order to understand the behavior of an ecological system, we must rst describe the characteristics and then examine the interconnections among
them (abiotic, biotic, and cultural components).
This is what ecosystem-classication methods do.
However, the description is undertaken irrespective of the prospective uses of the ecosystem. The

classication of an ecosystems characteristics is

the primary connection between the ecosystem
sciences and planning since the resultant ecological and spatial units are evaluated in light of project goals and other pertinent considerations. Implied in classication methods is the notion of
spatial heterogeneity in the characteristics of ecosystems. The cataloging of these characteristics is
intended to provide a uniform understanding of
the type and magnitude of the heterogeneity. The
prime dierence between LSA classication methods and those I review here is that the ecosystem
is the unit of the landscape examined. Moreover,
emphasis is placed on ecosystem dynamicscodifying the interconnections among ecosystem characteristics.
Cataloging interactions in ecological systems
arose from many sources, but certainly two were
particularly inuential: the long-term watershed
studies conducted by Bormann and Likens and
Eugene Odums conceptualization of the ecological functions of landscapes.28 In the past three
decades technological advances, especially in computer and remote-sensing technology, have vastly
increased the objectivity and eciency of information management in ecology-based classication schemes. Despite continued advances in ecological studies, the development of ecological land
classications has been hampered by the complexity of human and natural ecosystems. As the ecologist Paul Risser noted, Simple connectionsfor
example, between soil productivity and plant productivityare easily visualized. More complex
connections are not so intuitively obvious.29
The major debates on the development of classication schemes focus on how ecosystems are
dened and which transactions among the abiotic,
biotic, and cultural components should be emphasized. As I pointed out in my review of humanecological planning, North American ecological
studies traditionally emphasized the physical (abiotic) and biological (biotic) aspects of ecosystems.
The inclusion of human processes, when it occurs,

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

is recent, though it is practically impossible to nd

ecosystems that have not been inuenced in some
way by humans.
The problem with including human-cultural
processes is that they are too complex and confusing to be integrated with the abiotic and biotic
components. The complexity arises in part from
insucient knowledge of human-cultural processes and from the fact that human-dominated
ecosystems are fundamentally dierent from the
natural ones. For instance, the distribution and
functioning of human ecosystems are inuenced
heavily by sociocultural, economic, and political
factors. The stability of natural ecosystems rests
on a more narrow base than that of humandominated ecosystems since energy and materials
are transferred from the former into the latter. In
addition, the rates of change in ecosystem structure and function in human-dominated ecosystems dier from those in natural ecosystems.30
Classication schemes describe the properties
of ecosystem structure and function listed in
Table . in many ways. Excluding the naturalhistory method, they are of academic rather than
practical interest. Promising strategies adapted for
classifying ecosystem characteristics in ecologicalplanning studies include variations of the naturalhistory classication, the qualitative compartmentow classication prescribed by Eugene Odum,31
and the energy-ux classication suggested by the
ecologist Pierre Dansereau and the geographer
M. R. Moss.32

Variations of the Natural-History Classication

Vegetation classications are widely used in ecological-planning studies largely because vegetation can be used as an indicator of the ecosystem
state. Vegetation is a primary producer on which
other organisms ultimately depend. It also integrates environmental factors involved in ecosystem function and is relatively stable. The widely
used vegetation classications are the oristic, the
dominant-species, and the ecological.

The oristic technique, proposed by Josias BraunBlanquet () in , classies individual

plants based on species, genera, families, and so
forth, using the widely recognized system of
botanical names. The dominant-species technique,
popularized by Tansley in his study of wild
and seminatural vegetation in Britain, focuses on
dominant-species associations that occur in the
successional development of plant communities.
For example, in the Piedmont region of the eastern United States the associations of hickories
(Carya sp.) and oaks (Quercus sp.) are dominant in
climax hardwood forests. The ecological scheme
classies plants according to their habitats or some
critical association of the physical environment,
such as soil moisture or seasonal air temperatures.
Although the dominant-species and ecological
schemes can serve as surrogates for ecological associations, focusing on a subset of an ecosystem
rarely provides complete information about the
response of the whole ecosystem to intentional alteration, a prime objective in ecological-planning
A variation of the natural-history strategy
popularized by McHarg in numerous ecologicalplanning studies describes the structural and functional characteristics of ecosystems in an evolutionary sequencehistorical geology, bedrock
geology, physiography, hydrology, and so forth.
Socially valuable or relevant functional processes
are described in greater depth with regard to the
prospective uses of the ecosystem. Functional relationships are examined further by combining the
independent characteristics recorded using welldeveloped techniques for spatial analysis, for example, the overlay technique and matrices. The
problem with examining ecosystem dynamics in
this way is that the ecosystem characteristics are
treated as if they were separate and independent
features. Moreover, emphasis is placed on the
ecosystems potential for use and the eects of
use. The ecological planner Brenda Lee noted that
aspects of the ecosystem which dene its re-

Ecological Planning

siliency and longevity, and which do not have any

use implications, are not addressed. . . . [McHargs
strategy does not provide] a framework for predicting the cumulative eects of management decisions on ecosystems or for judging whole ecosystem responses [to change].33
Continuing the development of ecological
land-classication schemes, Angus Hills in
reinterpreted his physiographic-unit classication in terms of ecosystems. He argued that
ecosystems should be the basic unit for understanding and analyzing landscapes: In landscape
[ecological] planning, it is useful to conceive
ecosystems as production systems whether the
production is biological from farm, forest or shery ecosystem or physiographic from mine,
aquifer or energy developing ecosystems or societal cultural ecosystems.34
Hills proposed that the basic unit for understanding landscapes is the site type, derived from
the congruence of those features of the landscape
that in their interactions control production. Site
types include () physiographic, that is, climate,

landform, soil, water, and so on; () biotic, that is,

biotic communities of plants and animals; and ()
cultural, the congruence of human communities
with biotic site types. No one can quarrel with the
logic of Hillss classication; however, its replicability remains questionable. It is unlikely that
people using his classication will achieve the
same results because of the practical diculties in
delineating site types in the manner he proposed.
Hills also presents a simplistic view of the interactions between natural and cultural phenomena,
which in reality are complex and dynamic.

The Compartment-Flow Classication

In a paper published in , The Strategy of
Ecosystem Development, Eugene Odum proposed an ecological compartment scheme that
classied landscapes based on the ecological functions they serve (Fig. .). Based on ecosystemdevelopment theory, Odum asserted that ecological functions are carried out by dierent land
uses: protection (e.g., mature forests, wetlands),
production (e.g., agricultural land, productive

Fig. .. Eugene Odums

compartment scheme. Redrawn by M. Rapelje, .

Image not available.

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Howard Odums energy language. Reproduced, by permission, from Odum, Environment, Power, and

forests), nonvital (e.g., industrial land), and compromise (e.g., suburban development under the
forest canopy).
For Odum, the transactions emphasized are nutrient cycles and energy ows among the dierent
land uses. These include community metabolism
(e.g., production-respiration ratio, food chains)
and biogeochemical cycles (e.g., storage capacity,
internal cycling). The energy language developed
by his brother, Howard Odum, can be used to represent the energy exchanges, though the latter
cautioned that additional research is needed to
measure them, especially in large landscapes (Fig.
.). Eugene Odum recognized that conicts between human uses and resource conservation are
inevitable, and he suggested that land-use allocation be based on the ecological functions that
dierent land uses serve. Moreover, the classication assumes a closed condition in which biological production is equal to biological respiration.
Certainly this is not the case, especially in humandominated landscapes, where massive inputs of
energy and nutrients occur.
Eugene Odums scheme has been applied in
many ecological-planning projects. However, the
landscape architect William Hendrix and others
observed, and I concur, that Odums scheme
serves only in a conceptual way to structure research questions in ecological-planning studies
since additional research is needed to model ecological interactions quantitatively.

The Energy-Flux Classication

Pierre Dansereau and his colleagues at the University of Montreal developed a classication
scheme based on energy ux. First proposed in
and subsequently rened in , the scheme
related energy processes between natural and human systems to land-use changes.35 Historical
uses of the land can be inferred as land-use transformations occurring over time. The geographer
M. R. Moss, at the University of Guelph, Ontario,
in proposed a classication system based on
the moisture and energy transactions taking place
between the natural and cultural features of the
landscape.36 The result was a set of maps depicting primary productivity that can be used to allocate land uses in large, more complex planning areas. Indeed, the works of Dansereau and Moss are
promising targets for research. At the level of practice, however, the applications require signicant
technical expertise, and the mapping techniques
are cumbersome.
More recently, Frans Klijn, at Leiden University
in the Netherlands, examined numerous ecosystem-classication methods in his edited volume
Ecosystem Classication for Environmental Management (). Some methods, such as Roman Lenzs,
denitely fall under ecosystem classication,37
while others lean more toward landscape ecology.
Lenz proposed a hierarchical classication based
on dierent levels of organization of matter and
the necessity of integrating them into a unied

Ecological Planning

scheme. One signicant point he made was that

the larger the impact of human-induced disturbances in a given area, the greater the need to base
ecosystem classication on processes rather than
on structural characteristics.
Despite these promising eorts, insucient
knowledge of the dynamics of ecosystems has
hampered the development of ecological classications. Those used, often in ecological planning,
tend to describe the functioning of ecosystems in
a static way, requiring supplementary text and
graphic illustrations to describe historical and future ecological processes. Classications that emphasize ecosystem functioning are used extensively in experimental projects, usually requiring
substantial outlay of resources (time, skilled manpower, funds) that are not cost-eective in professional practice. When used in applied work, these
function-based classications, such as Odums
compartment model, are only conceptually useful.
Including human-cultural processes in classication schemes continues to be problematic.
While progress has been made in including social,
economic, and demographic characteristics in
classication schemes, the ways people value, use,
and adapt to the landscape are often neglected. Ultimately, a projects goals and objectives are paramount in determining what classications are
adopted in ecological-planning and resourcemanagement studies. Other important considerations include costs, simplicity, replicability, adaptability to varying spatial scales of problem solving,
and ease of communication to lay and technical

Once a landscape has been reinterpreted as an
ecosystem and the characteristics of that ecosystem have been described, it is necessary to conduct
detailed studies on how the characteristics inter-

act. Often such detailed studies involve examining

the dynamics and behavior of the ecosystems and
evaluating the resultant information with respect
to the project goals, to the maintenance of ecological stability, and to other relevant social values.
The output is a prescription of spatial units that
are valuable and deserve preservation, as well as
spatial units that may be altered under specic
management practices. These are the primary
concerns of the ecosystem-evaluation methods.
Ecological-planning professionals using the
ecosystem-evaluation methods usually () dene
the boundaries of the problem and identify project
goals and objectives; () reinterpret the study area
in terms of ecosystems; () describe the structural
and functional characteristics of the ecosystem using one or more classication schemes; () examine the dynamics and behavior of ecosystems, especially the quantity and quality of nutrient cycles
and energy pathways and their responses to
stresses; () assess the signicance or impact of the
changes in light of project goals and objectives using a variety of valuative concepts similar to those
reviewed earlier under the heading Ecosystem
Response to Stress; and () develop management
options that sustain the stability of the ecosystem
while accommodating prospective uses. In practice, these activities may not occur in the sequence
presented here since feedbacks occur among
The major variations in ecosystem-evaluation
methods are largely contingent upon how they
evaluate ecosystem well-being and behavior. Two
major subgroups stand out. The rst, which I refer to as index-based methods, relies on indicators
to evaluate ecosystem dynamics, state, and wellbeing.38 The second uses a modeling approach to
simulate the ow of energy and materials essential in understanding ecosystem behavior and response to perturbations. However, the distinction
between indices and modeling is sometimes obscured. William Hendrix and others elaborated
further: The distinction [between the subgroups]

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

is somewhat arbitrary, since many of the environmental indicators are derived from mathematical
models . . . the construction of a mathematical
model of an ecosystem may require more data and
theory than is currently available. Therefore, it appears more attractive to use an environmental index.39
In my view, the distinction really lies in whether
models are used to examine ecosystem dynamics
and behavior prior to the development of management options. At any point in the modeling
process pertinent indicators may be used to assess
the state of the ecosystem.

Index-Based Assessment Methods

Index-based assessment methods are used to manage or monitor specic resources such as wetlands,
water quality, and eroding soils, or to plan for the
management of multiple resources. They assume
that the structural and functional characteristics of
an ecosystem vary predictably with their location
in the landscape and that ecosystem quality and
well-being can be inferred from indices. Indices reduces a large amount of data to its simplest form,
retaining the essential meaning of questions being
asked about the data.40 An indicator focuses on
one ecosystem characteristic, for example, soil
productivity, dominant plant species, or nitratenitrogen concentrations in a water body. Indicators are combined to form indices in order to account for behavior and changes in the whole
Indeed, numerous methods for evaluating
ecological resources described in the ecologicalplanning, resource-management, and conservationplanning literature are indices-based assessment
methods. One subgroup, resource survey-andassessment methods, sometimes referred to as ecological evaluation methods, are arguably the most
widely used and merit closer examination. Also
briey reviewed are state-of-the-environment reporting, environmental indicators and indices, environmental thresholds, and cumulative-impact assessment.

Resource Survey-and-Assessment Methods

Resource survey-and-assessment methods are
used to describe the characteristics of an ecosystem and to evaluate its dynamics and behavior using indicators. The purpose is to maximize the
productivity of an ecosystem while sustaining the
quantity and quality of its nutrient cycles and energy pathways. Which methods are used depends
on considerations such as the project goals, the
availability of resources (skills, funds, time) and
pertinent data, the scale of application, and the
level of detail necessary to allow generalization of
the results. Planners who use these methods must
also address other questions, some of which are
technical in nature.
Which abiotic, biotic, and cultural characteristics of the ecosystem should be described and surveyed? Are the raw data gathered in sucient detail to permit generalization of the results? How
are the interactions among ecosystem characteristics examined? At what steps in the inventory, assessment, and evaluation phases are the recorded
individual ecosystem characteristics integrated to
illuminate their interactions? What form does the
integration takeinterdisciplinary, graphic, ecological? What valuative criteria are used to assess
ecosystem productivity and stability? How valid
are they? How can the resultant information be
communicated in a form that is meaningful to
technical and lay audience?
These questions are the main sources of the
variability found in the resource-survey-andassessment methods. I describe the abiotic-bioticcultural (ABC) strategy to illustrate their theoretical intent and then use it as a template to discuss
alternative responses.
The Abiotic-Biotic-Cultural Strategy
The ABC strategy was proposed by Robert Dorney in and modied by other researchers at
the University of Waterloo, Canada, including
Jamie Bastedo and John Therberge, who applied it
to the planning of environmentally sensitive areas

Ecological Planning

(ESAs) that involved large tracts of land in the

Canadian Yukon Territory.41 In my graduate
students and I used the ABC strategy in a resource
survey and assessment for greenway planning in
Walton County, Georgia, forty miles east of Atlanta.42
The ABC strategy divides the landscape into
naturally occurring or humanized ecosystems
and classies abiotic (e.g., physiography and
soils), biotic (e.g., ora and fauna), and cultural
(e.g., changes in human activities) phenomena in
terms of their structural (descriptive) and functional (relational) characteristics. The resultant information is interpreted for relative ecological
values and constraints, which are then integrated
to establish priorities and to develop policies for
managing ESAs (Fig. .).
The ABC strategy is organized vertically into
four levels of data integration. Level involves the
identication and mapping of raw data on abiotic,
biotic, and cultural characteristics of an ecosystem
organized in terms of its structural and functional
attributes. An example of a structural abiotic attribute would be the soil and drainage, while an example of a functional attribute would be a contemporary modifying feature, such as soil erosion
(Table .). In level , raw data are organized more
meaningfully using interpretive indices to permit
a comparison of signicant natural and cultural
values, as well as constraints, within ESAs. For example, an interpretive index for cultural resources
may be historical uniqueness (Table .). The interpretive indices reect specic objectives and
natural, cultural, and management considerations.
Level provides a summary picture of ecological
signicance and constraints through the integration
of abiotic-, biotic-, and cultural-signicance maps.
The integration displays the coincidence between
concentrations of ecological values and conicts
with extant and adjacent land uses. Other specic
issues resolved at this level include boundary
renements and the establishment of priorities

and management guidelines for protecting ESAs.

Level involves matching the policies and management guidelines to the institutional arrangements for implementation. These may include delineating the roles and responsibilities of relevant
public or private agencies and landowners and
making appropriate modications to land-use
regulations and development controls. However,
Level is not fully developed, which is why the
ABC strategy is reviewed here rather than under
the holistic-ecosystem methods.
Bastedo stated that the ABC strategy attempts
to stimulate a form of land-use (ecosystem) planning that incorporates the three objectives of the
World Conservation Strategy . . . : (a) maintenance of ecological processes and life-support
systems, (b) preservation of genetic diversity, and
(c) sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems.43
The ABC strategy acknowledges the interdependency of natural and human processes and
therefore seeks to understand an ecosystem in
terms of its abiotic, biotic, and cultural characteristics. A similar procedure is used in the welldocumented general ecological model (GEM) for
regional ecological planning developed by the
Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning in the
Netherlands (Fig. .).44
GEM examines the biotic and abiotic characteristics of the landscape and interprets them in
terms of the functions they serve to society, similar to the way Eugene Odum proposed in his
compartment model. The examination includes
the diagramming of energy, material, and information exchanges within ecosystems. Next, an
ecological evaluation is conducted to assess the
capability of the characteristics to fulll these
functions. Ecological-interaction analysis follows,
focusing on the threats that restrict the abiotic and
biotic characteristics from fullling the functions,
especially those that emanate from the side eects
of social activities. Lastly, social evaluation and
conict analysis are conducted to identify the in-

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. The abiotic-biotic-cultural strategy. Redrawn from Bastedo, ABC Resource Survey Method for Environmentally Signicant Areas, by M. Rapelje, .

terests of various social groups in the fulllment

of these functions.
A series of analyses are conducted to develop
management options that reect the optimal uses
of a landscape. Unlike the ABC strategy, GEM

examines the interactions between natural and

cultural processes by emphasizing the functions
ecosystems serve to society, the values people
place on the functions, and the manner in which
conicting values are minimized. Values that do

Ecological Planning

Table .. Data Variables for Greenway Planning

Image not available.

not have obvious human-use implications, such as

the continued ability of unthreatened plant and
animal species to survive, are often neglected.
The ABC strategy pays attention to both the
structural and the functional characteristics of an
ecosystem and thus makes the examination of
ecosystem dynamics explicit. In some methods,
however, indices are employed at the outset to
dene which ecosystem characteristics should be
surveyed and analyzed. In these cases, unlike in the
ABC strategy, only those dened by the indices are
surveyed. For example, J. P. Grime proposed a procedure that examined plant habitats dened by
three indicators: species composition, stress, and
disturbance.45 Only the data needed to describe
the indicators were collected. The spatial locations

of habitats identied using the indicators became

the ecosystem units Grime evaluated for their sensitivity to human inuences.
In a similar vein, the conservation biologist Jay
Anderson suggested using the concept of naturalness to assess ecosystem integrity. He dened
naturalness as the way a system in question
would function (or would have functioned) in the
absence of humans.46 Anderson suggested that
subsequent data collection, assessment, and evaluation should focus on indicators such as the energy subsidy supplied by technology required to
maintain the functioning of the ecosystem as it
currently exists or the number of native species
currently present in the area compared with the
number present prior to settlement.

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

Table .. Sample Interpretive Indices

Image not available.

Image not available.

Fig. .. The General ecological model. Reproduced, by permission, from Netherlands, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment, Summary of General Ecological Model .

Ecological Planning

The eectiveness of using indices to dene the

scope of resource survey and evaluation undoubtedly depends heavily on their reliability and
validity. When ecosystem characteristics are rst
classied is critical. Classication is an objective
exercise of categorizing regularities in the distribution of ecosystem characteristics, whereas
assessment and evaluation embrace subjective
judgments because values are assigned to the categories. The botanist P. Wathern and his colleagues argued that when classication, assessment, and evaluation are combined in a single
activity, objective and subjective arguments become obscured.47 R. G. Bailey and his colleagues
provided another explanation: Resources are usually too dierent and their interaction with other
resources are too complex to be combined in the
same classication. Each should be classied separately by its intrinsic character and in the context
of values and uses for society. Once classied independently, dierent resources can be compared
objectively to study their interactions.48
A related issue is how the recorded ecosystem
characteristics are integrated to illuminate functional relationships. Bastedo dened three types of
integration: () multidisciplinary, when research
eorts (eld schedules, write-ups, etc.) of surveyors from several disciplines are consolidated; ()
graphic, when aggregation techniques such as
overlays and matrices are used; and () ecological,
when ecosystem dynamics and behavior are examined using modeling or other techniques to
simulate the ow of materials and energy critical
to ecosystem self-maintenance. The ABC strategy
explores functional relationships using multidisciplinary and graphic integration. It is not surprising, therefore, that it is static: the functional processes are compiled in the form of supplementary
text to the base information.
The evaluation phase is the point in resourcesurvey-and-assessment methods at which the
most variability occurs. This is not surprising
given the lack of agreement on the appropriate

measures of ecosystem state, stability, or wellbeing. Because of the complexity of ecosystems,

it is not always feasible in ecological-planning
studies to undertake a rigorous examination of
ecosystem dynamics and behavior. Instead, values
are assigned to ecosystem characteristics based on
their functions. For example, wetlands have many
values, including providing habitats to endangered
wildlife. These values are not measured directly;
instead, surrogate measures that illustrate their
worth are evaluated. The interpretive indices presented in Table . are typical of the measures employed.
Single indicators may be used, or they can be aggregated to form composite indices. For example,
in numerous conservation-planning studies in the
United Kingdom conducted by D. Helliwell in the
s plant rarity was the sole basis for delineating
conservation areas.49 Similarly, in an ecological
evaluation study in the Voorne dunes, near Rotterdam, in the biologists M. J. Adriani and E.
Van der Maarel in Voorne assessed a site based on
ora, avifauna, and geomorphology.50 Each factor
was interpreted independently, and no attempt
was made to combine them into a composite
score. Instead, Adriani and Van der Maarel developed a baseline value from literature and other
sources that they used as a reference point against
which to evaluate the site.
In contrast, C. F. Cooper and P. H. Zedler used
a composite index to locate power-transmission
lines in southern California in .51 They synthesized three factors to develop an index of ecological sensitivity: ecosystem signicance, rarity,
and resilience. Ecological units were identied,
mapped, and assessed for each of the three factors.
A team of six ecologists assigned sensitivity values
by aggregating the results of the independent
assessments. In a comparable manner, the ABC
strategy uses a composite index for assessment
and evaluation. In general, the ecological validity
of aggregating single indicators into a composite
index is suspect. Values are scored numerically on

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

subjectively dened criteria and then combined

into an aggregate value, thereby compounding the
subjectivity in the evaluation process.52
Lastly, resource-survey methods vary in the way
they communicate the output of ecological evaluation to the intended users. To be legitimate, the
output of ecological evaluation must be understood by the intended users and decision makers,
and the merits and weaknesses debated in an open
political arena. One strength of the ABC strategy
is the ease with which its results can be communicated to technical and lay audiences.
Miscellaneous Index-Based Techniques
Environmental monitoring is a strategy that standardizes the collection and organization of a wide
range of ecological, demographic, and socioeconomic data. It assumes that reliable, readily available information is crucial for understanding and
intervening in environmental problems. In the
United States, NEPA provided the legislative
framework for environmental reporting and the
use of indices by requiring federal agencies to
gather authoritative, timely information on the
quality of the environment. It also directed the
Presidents Council on Environmental Quality
(CEQ) to document and dene changes in the
natural environment.53 Similar legislation requiring the reporting of environmental quality has
been passed in many countries.
Environmental monitoring addresses two fundamental but related questions: What are the
structural and functional characteristics of the
natural and cultural environment? What is its current quality and value? These questions emphasize
the cause-and-eect relationship between understanding and monitoring the eects of human actions on the landscape. State-of-the-environment
reports address one or both questions.
On a global scale, one of the most authoritative
and comprehensive reporting is done by the
Global Environmental Monitoring Center based
in London. Since the center has prepared the

UNEPs biennial Environmental Data Report, which

contains data that can be interpreted and used for
a variety of purposes. This report alternates with
the World Resource Report, prepared by the World
Resource Institute for Environment and Development, based in Washington, D.C., which contains
interpretive information about environmental
quality. By , according to the Environmental Data Report, ten international agencies and
thirty-eight countries had prepared similar reports. Moreover, some countries prepared multiple reports on various aspects of the environment.
In the United States, for example, the CEQ publishes reports such as Environmental Statistics, Environmental Trends, and the annual Environmental
Quality. State-of-the-environment reports are also
prepared by state agencies and nonprot organizations in many countries.
Environmental-monitoring reports generate
data on which indices are calculated. Indices assist
in policy formulation by providing benchmarks
for environmental conditions; evaluating the eectiveness of regulatory programs; allocating funds
and priorities in program design; determining
changes in environmental quality; and informing
the public about the well-being of ecological systems.54 In addition, indices are used to establish
environmental thresholds, to assess the cumulative eects of environmental change, and to conduct ecosystem-risk assessments.55
Even though many state and nonprot organizations in the United States have compiled indices
on various aspects of the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency has taken a leadership role. The indices prepared by these various
bodies are quite varied, especially in terms of
which variables are included (air, water, etc.), the
process for aggregating indicators into indices, the
organization of the information, and the intended
An environmental index is constructed by aggregating indices and indicators through mathematical manipulation. There are indices in which

Ecological Planning

the value increases with the intensity of pollution

(e.g., air-pollution indices) and indices in which
the value decreases with increasing pollution (e.g.,
water-pollution indices). A water-pollution index,
for instance, is an aggregation of many indicators,
such as trophic conditions (intensity of biological
conditions), dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature. The current trend is to relate these aggregate
indices to their eects on humans and other organisms using the concepts such as environmental
thresholds, which provide empirical estimates of
the impacts of stresses on ecosystems.
The major debates in the use of indicators and
indices have been over the acceptable amount of
information lost when indicators are used to simplify complex ecological relationships; the validity
and reliability of the indicators; the technical validity of the mathematical operations used in aggregating the indicators; and the manner in which
extraneous variables are taken into account in the
aggregation process, given that ecological systems
are complex entities characterized by the ow of
energy, nutrients, and species within and across
their boundaries.
Environmental thresholds have been advocated in
ecological-planning and resource-management
studies as a means for assessing the point beyond
which additional stress to an ecological system results in a marked decrease in its functioning. As the
planner Stuart Glasoe and his colleagues put it,
Our ability to recognize and understand the limitative quality of ecosystems directly inuences
our ability to design appropriate landuse and environmental regulations capable of maintaining
ecosystem integrity.56
Threshold analysis was rst conceptualized in
the early s as a tool for assessing urbandevelopment opportunities and constraints; it has
since been applied in ecological-planning studies.57
Over the past three decades the documentation
of ecological-planning and resource-management
studies that use thresholds and the related concept
of cumulative-impact assessment has expanded.58

How thresholds are used depends on how they are

Glasoe and his colleagues from the Program in
Environmental Science and Regional Planning at
Washington State University examined thresholds
that had been applied successfully in their comparative examination of water-resource management in the New Jersey Pinelands, the Lake Tahoe
Basin of Nevada and California, the Edwards
Aquifer in Texas, and the Spokane-Rathdrum
Aquifer of Washington and Idaho. The thresholds
include () capability studies and carrying-capacity
assessments; () descriptive policy thresholds expressed in statements such as maintaining the current water quality while preventing degradation,
reducing nutrient loading, and sustaining algal
populations; and () quantitative indicators that reveal ecosystem state and quality. For example, in
the New Jersey study Glasoe and his colleagues reported that an increase in nitrogen-nitrate concentrations from levels of . ppm (parts per
million) to . ppm in undisturbed watersheds
had an adverse impact on the sensitivity of the
Pinelands terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Environmental thresholds are especially useful
when precise cause-and-eect relationships between specic ecological interactions and human
activities are known and agreed upon. Such relationships can be transformed into mathematical
equations that can be used to predict ecosystem
value and stability. In practice, however, these relationships are rarely suciently understood to be
dened precisely by mathematical relationships.
Even so, the ecosystem interactions considered,
such as nitrogen-nitrate concentrations, are few. In
addition, the thorny issues regarding the use of indicators and indices hold true when environmental thresholds are employed in ecological planning
studies. I prefer to use multiple indicators and to
make decisions based on their relative merits
rather than to aggregate them into indices. Aggregating indicators that measure one or more dimensions of the complex interactions between

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

species and the physical and chemical environment is a simplistic way to account for the complexity of ecological systems.

Model-Based Methods
Models provide a logical and orderly way to understand the myriad interactions within ecological
systems. A model is a simplied construct that
simulates a real-world phenomenon in a way that
makes complex situations comprehensible and
even predictable. Models retain the complexity
and variability of ecosystem interactions in a form
that is amenable to analysis. Models range from
descriptive ones, such as simplied verbal or
graphic representations of relationships, to complex mathematical ones.
Mathematical models provide a symbolic logic
capable of expressing ideas and relationships simply. When ecosystem dynamics are well understood and amenable to quantication, we can
predict changes in stressed ecosystems. The predictions allow us to compare the model to the realworld systems they represent. The use of mathematical models in examining ecosystem behavior
and responses to change was popularized by the
The ecologist J. N. Jeers noted that although
individual models are either descriptive or mathematical, they can change from one type to the
other in the course of a study. Irrespective of the
type, all models specify at least three groups of
variables: () input variables, the sources of stress
(e.g., toxic chemicals); () state variables, characteristics of the ecosystem (e.g., the amount of biomass, phosphorus, or nitrogen); and () output
variables, the eects of stress (e.g., reduced trout
populations). The variables are connected by feedbacks and the pathways for nutrient and energy
In ecological-planning studies, ecosystem dynamics and behavior can be examined using compartment-ow and stimulus-response models,
which can be descriptive, mathematical, or both.59

Compartment models depict ecosystems as a series of compartments between which energy, nutrients, and materials ow. Some of these models
manipulate quantitative data using mathematical
operations, such as the compartment-ow models
used in determining phosphorous loading in numerous studies conducted in the Great Lakes.60 In
such studies the problems are relatively simple and
the number of variables examined is few. Compartment-ow models are also used in situations
where quantitative analysis is inappropriate or impossible, for example, where simple cause-andeect analysis will not do. In such situations compartment-ow models serve in a conceptual way
to structure research questions. (A notable example is Odums compartment model, reviewed
Stimulus-response models focus on the transformations that enable ecosystems to survive present and future levels of stress. Stimulus is usually
an external eect, and response is usually an internal cause. Emphasis is placed on identifying indicators that best describe and measure the threshold at which energy ows and nutrient pathways
are damaged irreversibly by various types, intensities, and frequencies of human-induced stresses.61
Some researchers have moved one step closer to
translating these indicators into indices for ascertaining ecosystem health and stability.62
Like compartment models, stimulus-response
models can be descriptive or mathematical. For instance, John Lyle, an articulate advocate for using
descriptive models in ecological planning, documents numerous studies in Design for Human
Ecosystems () and Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development () that clearly illustrate
the use of descriptive models (Fig. .).
Mathematical models, as Paul Risser notes,
are often dicult to construct, operate, and even
validate. Studies often take a long time, and
the complexity of the models makes interpretation dicult.63 The current trend, especially in
ecological-planning and resource-management

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Eects of upstream grading. A simplied representation of cause-and-eect relationships in the lling of wetlands in San Elijo Lagoon, in southern California. Redrawn from
Lyle, Design for Human Ecosystems, by M. Rapelje, .

studies, is to use simple models with enough detail to address the ecosystem characteristics under study and to illuminate conicts with prospective uses. A concise review of an application
of Odums compartment model illustrates one
way compartment models have been used in

ecological-planning endeavors. Also examined

are the Statistics Canada Stress-Response Environmental Statistical System, or S-RESS, technique and cumulative eect assessment (CEA) to
illustrate the theoretical intent and procedural
principles of stimulus-response models.

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

An Ecosystem-Evaluation Procedure
Utilizing Odums Compartment Model
In the mid-s researchers at the University
of Massachusetts adapted Odums compartment
model to a regional ecosystem-evaluation procedure. The procedure was applied in forestmanagement and land-use studies in the communities of Bernardston and Greeneld in western
Massachusetts.64 William Hendrix, Julius Fabos,
and Joan Price adopted Odums model because it
recognizes that ecological functions are carried
out by dierent land uses, for example, agriculture
(productive lands) and matured forests (protective
lands) (see Fig. .). Odums model also recognizes
that interactions between land uses are characterized by biogeochemical cycles and energy ows.
Hendrix, Fabos, and Price modied Odums
model to account for the fact that regional ecosystems are open systems characterized by the exchange of materials and nutrients across their
boundaries. In such situations biological production may not equal biological respiration as the
Odum model implies.
Hendrix and his colleagues rst developed a
two-part classication of the ecosystems. They used
the statistical techniques of discriminate analysis
to assign land uses to ve groups, with those uses
assigned to each group having similar ecological
characteristics. The production-respiration ratio,
biomass (standing crop), and yield were used as
the discriminating variables. The land units were
further dierentiated into substrate functions
based on their ability to support ecological processes. The ecological processes examined were
the biological potential and the loss of biochemical
materials (runo and erosion) necessary for ecosystem maintenance. Biological potential was viewed
as a function of soil productivity and exposure to
solar radiation. The resultant physical-substrate
classication was an aggregation of the biological
and denudation potential of the land broken down
into eight categories, such as protection, high agri-

cultural production, and natural production. For

instance, lands with a very high denudation potential were classied as protection ecosystems.
Once the physical-substrate classication was
conducted, Hendrix and his colleagues used an
overlay technique to assess the ecological compatibility of land assigned to each of the eight categories (Fig. .). The assessment assumed that a
relationship exists between the ecological characteristics of the cultural landscape and the substrate characteristics of the physical landscape.
The application of Hendrixs procedure to forest
management and land-use planning for the two
towns in Massachusetts resulted in ecologicalcompatibility maps showing areas deserving protection, conservation, and development. The classication and evaluation of ecosystem dynamics
were facilitated by the use of geographical information systems that permitted the manipulation
of spatial and attribute (e.g., ecosystem characteristics) data.
In his compartment model Odum suggested
factors that may be used to classify the landscape
based on the ecological functions they serve.
These include community energetics, nutrient
cycles, community structure, and life history. Because it is extremely dicult to measure these factors on a regional landscape level, Hendrix and his
colleagues focused only on community energetics,
for which a substantial amount of quantied and
empirical data already existed. Additionally, the
researchers attempted to model ecosystem behavior, but they resorted to using an ecologicalcompatibility index as the primary basis for deciding which spatial units deserved protection and
which were to be modied under management
The Stress-Response Environmental
Statistical System
Developed by Statistics Canada in the late s,
the Stress-Response Environmental Statistical

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Interactions between the substrate and

ecological functions of the
landscape. The delineation
of the eight substrate categories was based on the
biological and denudation
potential of the land.
Reproduced, by permission, from Hendrix, Fabos,
and Price, Ecological
Approach to Landscape
Planning Using Geographical Information System

System, or S-RESS, technique was one strategy

for managing the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin
ecosystems, located between Canada and the
United States.65 This technique focuses on the
relationship between ecosystem health and the
activities that enhance or degrade it. S-RESS
provides a database that informs three concerns:
stewardship, environmental quality, and irreversibility (damaging the biophysical environment permanently). S-RESS recognizes that species within

an ecosystem have dierential capacities to absorb

and funnel impacts of human activities and therefore systematically relates human-induced stresses
to ecosystem dynamics and behavior.
The S-RESS strategy has four major features.
First, it describes the types of stresses and the
ecosystem characteristics and interactions potentially aected; it also recognizes the synergistic
eects of stresses. Second, it establishes indicators
for stressor activities (human impact dened in so-

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

cial and economic terms), behavior (changes in

ecosystem interactions), and responses (individual
and collective responses of the ecosystem); data
related to these measures are collected. Third, it
makes explicit the relationships between stressor
activities and ecosystem behavior. Fourth, it dierentiates among stressor activities, ecosystem behavior, and the individual and collective ecosystem
responses. The data are accumulated for as much
of the past as possible to build a continuum of
The eects of stresses on ecosystems are subsequently evaluated based on the stressor data,
which are socioeconomic, and on the responses,
which are ecological. Future management options
are prescribed based on predictions of how the
ecosystem will respond to particular human activities. But what constitute the best indicators of an
ecosystem response to stress continues to be debated.
Cumulative Effect Assessment (CEA)
The cumulative eect assessment focuses on landscape changes that result from the additive, compounding, and synergistic eects of individual human actions over time. Peoples individual actions
accumulate in space, so that over time the cumulative eects exceed the sum of the individual
eects. For instance, the use of pesticides or fertilizers by individual farmers residing in a watershed may result in small, ecologically insignicant
amounts of pollution in a nearby lake. Continued
over time, the use of the fertilizers may lead to a
signicant deterioration of the lakes water quality. Certainly, this is the nature of most human and
naturally induced environmental stresses.
NEPAs development of environmental-impact
assessments served as a catalyst for the evolution
of CEA. Historically, EIAs did not stress the cumulative nature of individual actions; however,
the nature of EIAs inuenced the development of
CEA. EIAs strengthened the theoretical understanding of cumulative change through empirical

modeling of ecosystems and through the renement of techniques for analyzing and predicting
stresses to ecosystems.66
Most CEA applications employ a descriptive
modeling process similar to that used by Lyle and
also employed in the LSA network technique
in conducting EIAs. CEA traces human actions
through a series of iterations that focus on the
type, intensity, and duration of stresses (e.g., point
and nonpoint pollutants, construction activities),
the resultant transformations in ecosystem dynamics (e.g., the disruption of energy pathways
and nutrient cycling by the pollutants), and the
eects of the stresses (e.g., reduction in trout
population). Unlike the network technique, which
traces the eects of a single action or perturbation,
the CEA emphasizes multiple actions, direct and
indirect processes or pathways, and cumulative
and synergistic eects (e.g., synergistic chemical
reactions between fertilizers).
CEA has evolved in two directions, scientic
and applied. The scientic orientation emphasizes
information gathering that identies and denes
ecosystem dynamics and behavior aected by cumulative processes. The applied orientation uses
such information as decision rules to initiate management actions. In practice, however, the results
produced by applications of CEAs using the scientic orientation are not signicantly dierent
from those produced by the network impactassessment technique.
The scope of CEA tends to be narrow because
most projects have a short time frame. With few
exceptions, the study area is typically conned to
the immediate locale. Additional constraints are
resource limitations and a partial knowledge of
the synergistic eects of multiple change sources
and pathways. Ultimately, few actions, as well as
few ecosystem characteristics and interactions, are
examined using simple cause-and-eect relationships. The geographers Harry Spaling and Barry
Smit added that this limited scope overlooks environmental change involving multiple perturba-

Ecological Planning

tions, complex causation, higher-order impacts,

interacting processes, time lags, and extended
spatial boundaries.67 In sum, many conceptual
frameworks for CEA have been proposed, but few
successful applications are documented. The use
of CEAs in ecological-planning and resourcemanagement studies is still hampered by the
shortage of valid indicators of cumulative change.

Holistic-ecosytem-management (HEM) methods
are the most comprehensive of the applied-ecosystem methods. They are designed to describe the
characteristics and dynamics of ecosystems and to
evaluate their behavior in light of the prospective
uses of an ecosystem. In addition, and unlike other
applied-ecosystem methods, the HEM methods
have the ability to implement the outputs of ecological evaluation.
The HEM methods address both technical and
policy questions that emphasize all phases of the
conventional planning process. The major questions are: What social, economic, technological,
and ecological factors interact collectively to
dene the well-being of an ecosystem? How are
the boundaries of the problem reinterpreted
based on the understanding of the interactions?
How are ecosystem structure, function, and dynamics described and examined? How are the
eects of stresses on the ecosystem assessed? Can
the ecosystem accommodate prospective uses
while sustaining its stability? How does the understanding of the eects of stresses on ecosystems
inform a systematic generation of management
Policy questions are raised as well. What roles
do the public, policymakers, and relevant others
play in problem denition, ecosystem assessment,
formulation of management options, and implementation? Which agencies or bodies will implement the prescribed management options and

which one(s) will take on the coordinating role?

Do they agree on their roles and responsibilities in
ensuring the long-term management of the options? What resources (funds, time, etc.) are committed to implementation and by whom? What
mechanisms are put in place to evaluate and monitor the eects of the implementation?
These questions reect the HEM methods emphasis on a holistic understanding of the interactions and responses among social, economic, technological, and ecological factors impacting an
ecosystem. Again, cause-and-eect relationships
are implied. Moreover, HEM methods pay attention to the systematic generation of management
goals and options using both quantitative and
qualitative analysis. Also emphasized are public involvement and institutional strategies for the longterm implementation of the management options.
HEM methods tend to be used in well-funded,
long-term, regional landscape-planning and resource-management studies that involve multiple
objectives, resources, aected interests, and numerous political subdivisions. One of the welldocumented applications of HEM methods is the
numerous strategies for implementing the
amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
The formal agreement between Canada and the
United States works to restore and enhance water
quality within the drainage basin of the St. Lawrence River. HEM applications include the Great
Lakes Fisheries Commission study, which examined the ecological rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems and explored the applications for the
Great Lakes ecosystems;68 the six-year ()
study conducted by the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes on managing point
and nonpoint pollution in the lakes;69 and the
joint Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and
National Research Council (NRC) study on
evolving instruments for managing the Great
Lakes ecosystems.70 Others include numerous
habitat-conservation plans documented by Reed

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

Noss, Michael OConnell and Dennis Murphy in

The Science of Conservation Planning ().
Although the HEM methods have been applied
to large-scale ecosystems, it is feasible to adapt
their logic and theoretical intent to address planning and resource-management issues in smaller
ecosystems. Robert Dorney, for instance, applied
the key principles of the ecosystem-management
methods to numerous ecological-planning studies
he conducted in Ontario, Canada, in the s and
s. His studies include the planning of Erin
Mills and the new town of Townsend, both in Ontario. My brief comments below on how the proponents of the HEM methods have addressed
these technical and policy questions are illustrative
Implied in the HEM methods is the idea that
ecosystems evolve in response to social, economic, ecological, technological, and institutional
forces. The temporal and spatial interactions
among these forces are complex. Singularly or in
combination the forces are seen as temporal. The
method anticipates that those that predominate
at one time will be replaced by others at a later
time.71 HEM methods exploration of systemic interactions between stresses and ecosystem characteristics is the point of departure for dening the
boundaries of the problem and structuring the
planning and management questions to be examined. A strategy proposed for sheries management in Ontario illustrates this point: To dene
and understand sheries problems and issues, a
larger system must be considered. The system includes, among other components, sh communities, aquatic environment, shermen, polluters,
conicting users of land, water, and air, and sheries agencies themselves.72 Thus, the boundaries of the problem are framed by the expanded
system, and the components of the expanded system are the variables evaluated for their response
to stresses.
The procedures used in the HEM methods have
common threads. The strategy prescribed in the

RSC-NRC joint report, for example, involves

the following interrelated steps:
. Conduct scientic assessment of the conditions
of the lakes and trends that inuence their future
human use.
. Develop scientic and technical measures for addressing the problems (management options).
. Examine problems of laws, politics, and economics that impede eective implementation of the
. Identify and build support among key actors and
administrative bodies involved in implementation.

This procedure is typical of those used in numerous ecosystem-management studies.73 A variation

proposed by Dorney makes a clear distinction
between plan making and implementation. His
procedure has two phases: ecoplanning and environmental protection (Fig. .). Ecoplanning
embraces problem denition, plan making, and
decision making, while environmental protection
addresses implementation and monitoring. Both
phases can be adapted to the planning of aquatic
and terrestrial ecosystems at a variety of scales.
Another noteworthy variation cited extensively
in the ecosystem-management literature is the
ecologist C. S. Hollings adaptive management
strategy, rst described in Adaptive Environmental
Assessment and Management () and updated in
subsequent publications in and .74 Holling and his colleagues at the University of British
Columbia, in Vancouver, proposed a strategy for
ecosystem management that emphasizes the adaptive nature of ecosystems. Their strategy assumes
uncertainty in the extant knowledge of ecological
interactions, including the manner in which economic systems and ecological systems are linked.
Their procedures also acknowledge the unpredictable way in which ecosystems respond to change:
The more the variability in partially known systems is retained, the more likely that both the
natural and management parts of the system will
be responsive to the unexpected.75 To account for

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Ecosystem-management process. Redrawn from Dorney, Professional Practice of Environmental Management, by M. Rapelje, .

uncertainty and for the unpredictable nature of

ecosystems, their strategy permits the design of
trial-and-error management options.
Hollings adaptive ecosystem-management strategy places equal emphasis on social, economic,
and ecological considerations used in problem
denition and ecosystem assessment. It emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of ecosystem
assessment and management by paying explicit at-

tention to how information is generated by various analytical techniques that are rened by the
key actorssta, decision makers, citizens. Workshops are critical to the successful integration of
the outcomes of individual analyses that use these
varied techniques. Holling and his colleagues elaborated further on this issue: At the beginning of the
study, all elementsvariables, management acts,
objectives, indicators, time horizons, and spatial

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

extentare jointly considered and integrated.76

Workshops are used to dene the boundaries of
the problem, to set management objectives, and
then to explore uncertainties in order to provide
new information for constructing alternative management options.
Both quantitative and qualitative techniques
are employed in assessing ecosystem behavior, in
exploring unknown and partially known human
impacts on ecosystems, and in evaluating management options. The techniques range from nonqualitative (e.g., cross-impact matrices) to simple
descriptive models and large quantitative models.
The selection of appropriate techniques depends
on the number of variables considered, the management actions and their spatial extent, the scope
and depth of understanding required of social,
economic, and ecological processes, and the number and quality of data. In addition, remedial
mechanisms are developed as an integral part of
the ecosystem-management process rather than
as additions after implementation.
Models are used in two ways: to understand the
behavior of ecosystems and to evaluate the social,
economic, and ecological eects of alternative
management options. One documented application of Hollings adaptive procedure is the forestmanagement study of the spruce budworm in
New Brunswick, Canada, in the s. The study
was conducted by an interdisciplinary, interinstitutional group made up of the Canadian Forest
Service and the Institute of Resource Ecology at
the University of British Columbia. Another exemplary management study is the study of the
Pacic salmon undertaken by Holling and his colleagues in British Columbia in the s.
The essential features of Hollings adaptivemanagement strategy were incorporated in the
strategies and principles Noss, OConnell, and Murphy documented in for developing habitatconservation plans. They noted that adaptive
management is perhaps the most important issue
for the implementation phase of conservation

planning. Because habitat conservation plans will

always be experiments with uncertain outcomes,
some elasticity is required in implementation so
that managers have the advantage of learning
from experience and modifying their practices accordingly.77
Managing uncertainty was also the major
theme in the procedure suggested by James Agee
and Darryll Johnson in Ecosystem Management for
Parks and Wilderness (). They acknowledged
that while the quality and quantity of social and biological information may improve over time, it
will never allow precise prediction of ecosystem
behavior. Their strategy involves () dening goals
and measurable targets for ecosystem condition;
() clarifying the ecosystem boundaries for the primary components of the ecosystem since each
component (e.g., grizzly bears or giant sequoias)
will likely have dierent boundaries; () formulating management strategies to achieve goals that
transcend political boundaries; and () evaluating
the eectiveness of the management strategies in
achieving the identied goals. Agee and Johnson
also emphasized that political boundaries are inadequate for dening ecology-level problems and
solutions. The study area, therefore, should be redened in terms of ecosystems. Almost always,
the assessment of the well-being of the ecosystem
is the point of departure for identifying the appropriate intervention strategies: protective (conservation, maintenance, or preservation); corrective
(restoration or rehabilitation); and exploitative
(maximizing productivity for human-type uses
such as development).
Some HEM methods used in ecosystem management in the Great Lakes regard ecosystems as
a continuum of more or less degraded states. A
wide range of ecosystem states are established; for
example, examining the historical states and comparing similar ecosystems. At one end of the continuum is the pristine state, reconstructed from
historical records, species composition, and waterquality data. The state of the current ecosystem

Ecological Planning

is then compared with this historical state to establish levels of degradation.78 Possible management options range from further degradation to
Facilitating public involvement is a central feature of the HEM methods. In large-scale ecosystem projects, especially those involving multiple
uses, ownerships, and agencies, implementation
cannot succeed without widespread public understanding of the management issues and options.
The methods used in such studies pay special attention to the mechanisms for sharing and communicating information among aected local
groups, elected ocials, and citizens.79
HEM methods almost always embrace institutional strategies for implementing management
options. As the then executive director of the
Great Lakes Commission, Michael Donahue, put
it, If policy is to be viewed as an output of organizations, the institutional arrangements that
shape, interpret, and administer policy become a
critical determinant of the policys impact upon
society.80 Regional governance has been advocated as a key mechanism for implementing management options, especially when ecosystems traverse jurisdictional boundaries. But designing
eective regional governance structures is not an
easy task. The major topics of debate include the
lack of shared understanding of the concept of
ecosystem management; the likelihood that the
participating entities espouse dierent management philosophies; the extent of agreement
among the participating bodies about their roles
and responsibilities; the extent of commitment
among them toward cooperative management of
a shared resource; the authority vested in, and resources committed to, the coordination of eorts
among the relevant entities given that regional
governance traditionally has been hampered by
limited authority and resources; the political will
to implement the options; and the design of objective techniques for measuring performance. According to Donahue, while regional governance is

a promising way to manage ecosystems, we must

. . . accept the fact that regional management
eorts remain experiments, and hence must remain open to change.81
The applied-ecosystem approach embraces a wide
array of methods and techniques for examining
the structure, function, dynamics, and behavior of
the ecosystem. Irrespective of a projects goals and
objectives, maintaining the integrity and stability
of the ecosystems is a central feature of the approach. The ecosystem concept provides the
framework for dening the study area as, to use
Frank Golleys word, objects that can be referenced geographically at any time. The ecosystem
is used also as a conceptual framework to determine problems arising from the human-nature dialectic. Except when ecosystem boundaries can be
nicely tted around convenient landscape units
such as watersheds and drainage basins, dening
study areas in terms of ecosystems is still problematic.
Because of the extreme complexity of ecosystems and the limited knowledge about how they
respond to human-induced and natural stresses,
users of this approach dier about which interactions among ecosystem characteristics should be
studied in order to understand and mitigate the
eects of stresses and which indicators best measure the short- and long-term consequences of the
The evaluation of ecosystems always entails implicit or explicit judgments about their quality,
well-being, and ecological integrity. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses are employed in order to understand the behavior of ecological systems and to suggest appropriate management
options. Quantitative analysis is predominant.
The major subgroups of the applied-ecosystem
approach are the ecosystem-classication methods, the ecosystem-evaluation methods, and the
holistic-ecosystem methods. The subgroups reect an increasing level of sophistication in ad-

The Applied-Ecosystem Approach

dressing activities typically undertaken in conventional planning but organized from a systems perspective. Despite the contributions made by the
applied-ecosystem approach to understanding the
dynamics and behavior of ecosystems, in general
the approach has not been eective in revealing
how the spatial arrangements of ecosystem characteristics aect ecological processes, and vice
versa;82 how ecosystems evolve to develop an
identiable visual and cultural identity; how ecological systems are linked both vertically and horizontally through the ow of nutrients, energy,

and materials; and how to understand ecological

processes across large areas such as the southern
Appalachian Mountains or Yellowstone National
Park.83 In addition, human-cultural processes are
rarely rigorously examined in applied-ecosystem
methods. This is another shortcoming of the
method, especially when it is essential to understand the way people perceive, value, use, and
adapt to the landscape. Information on the physical and biological features of the landscape has less
meaning when it is separated from human concerns.

the applied-landscapeecology approach

Landscape ecology is an interdisciplinary area of theoretical and applied study

having most of the features of a well-established scientic discipline. It is chiey
concerned with understanding spatial change that involves interacting biophysical and human-cultural processes. Landscape ecology combines the spatial approach of geographers, which emphasizes spatial analysis, with the functional approach of ecologists, which focuses on the functioning of ecosystems.
In Europe, landscape ecology emerged in the s as an interdisciplinary area
of inquiry concentrating on land conservation in human-dominated landscapes.
It was introduced to North America in the early s. Perhaps because of the opportunity to study natural landscapes, North American landscape ecology focused
mainly on landscape patterns and processes. Regardless, its introduction to North
America was a catalyst for new interactions among ecologists, geographers, landscape architects, wildlife biologists, and others. Landscape ecology, with its concern for understanding spatial change involving interacting ecosystems, provides
a template for exchanging ideas about ways to create sustainable landscapes.
Since it is a relatively new discipline, landscape ecology has not yet developed
a core body of knowledge to give it a clear sense of identity and direction.1 The
last decade, however, has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of studies
that fall under this broader rubric of landscape ecology. The landscape ecologists
Monica Turner, Robert Gardner, and Robert ONeill pointed out that this increased expansion in landscape-ecology studies is largely due to the need to better understand and evaluate impacts of broad changes in our environment, the
development of new concepts about spatial and temporal scales, and technologi

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Relatively regular pattern of volcanic loess, used for agricultural production in western Washington.
The patches have dierent shapes but with homogenous propertiesplanted elds, hedgerows, and woodlands.
Materials, energy, and species move across the patches. Photograph by Robert Scarfo, .

cal advances.2 Nevertheless, there is substantial

agreement on the major questions it addresses:
How does the spatial arrangement (structure) of
landscape elements and ecological objects inuence the ow of energy, materials, and species
(processes) across large land mosaics? In turn, how
does landscape function inuence structure? How
are these spatial arrangements revealed? What levels of spatial resolution and temporal scale are appropriate in understanding landscape structure
and processes? What are the physical, visual, and
cultural manifestations of modications in landscape structure and processes? How does the understanding of landscape structure, processes, and
change inform the resolution of spatial problems
arising from human-nature dialectic?
The rst ve questions address theoretical issues in landscape ecology. They emphasize the origin, functioning, and modication of landscape

patterns and processes. The last question stresses

the applied aspect of landscape ecology, the application of landscape-ecology knowledge to land
use and ecological problems that have a spatial
component. Indeed, there is overwhelming evidence in the literature that landscape ecology is a
valid and reliable scientic foundation for ecological planning and design. I refer to planning that
employs the substantive theory of landscape ecology as landscape-ecological planning.
Landscape ecology is still developing its identity
as a distinctive area of scholarly inquiry and an applied eld. It is just beginning to develop a theoretical foundation backed up by a body of rigorous
empirical studies. Even though applications exist,
there are no denitive procedures for applying
landscape ecology to ecological planning and design.3 In this chapter I introduce the basic principles of landscape ecology and present a synthe-

Ecological Planning

sis of its contributions to ecological planning. Numerous book-length reviews and articles on the
theory and selected applications of landscape ecology to ecological planning already exist for anyone
interested in specic details.4 For context and also
to be consistent with the historical emphasis in this
book, I provide a brief history of the development
of landscape ecology as a way to highlight its distinctive features and to illuminate the major contributions in its evolution.5

Landscape is a recurring theme throughout the
history of science and art; however, the origin of
landscape ecology is very recent. Three major,
overlapping periods in its evolution can be distinguished.6 The rst, an awakening phase, began
in the late nineteenth century and prevailed until
the s, when scientic advances were made in
understanding physical and biological processes
occurring over large areas. The second was a formative phase, extending from the s to ,
when landscape ecology developed as a distinct
interdisciplinary area of scholarly inquiry and an
applied discipline. The period after was a consolidation period, when its conceptual foundations were solidied. It was during this phase that
landscape ecology was introduced to North America.
Ecologists like A. von Humboldt, J. Braun-Blanquet, Frederick Clements, and Herbert Gleason
provided invaluable insights into the origins of
broad-scale ecology. However, the term landscape
ecology was rst coined by the German ecologist
and geographer Carl Troll in the late s. Troll
was fascinated by the ecosystem concept as
dened by Tansley in and by the holistic view
of the landscape depicted in aerial photographs.
However, not until the late s and early s
did the preliminary conceptual foundations of
landscape ecology emerge. At the international
meeting of the Association of Vegetation Science

in Troll dened landscape ecology as the

study of the entire complex cause-eect network
between living communities [biocoenosis] and
their environmental conditions which prevail in
specic sections of the landscape. This becomes
apparent in specic landscape pattern [as depicted
in aerial photographs] or in a natural space classication of dierent orders of size.7
Trolls denition revealed the landscape as
made up of heterogenous landscape elements. He
referred to the smallest ecological landscape element as an ecotope, a notion similar to the biogeocoenose concept proposed in the Soviet Union by
the Russian forest botanist V. N. Sukachev.8 Troll
also made explicit the dominance of two disciplines in dening the core subject matter of landscape ecology: geography and biology. Geography bestows on landscape ecology its spatial and
holistic approach. From biology, landscape ecology draws its insights into the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Soil science, geomorphology, and vegetation science also contributed to
the spatial approach, particularly the emphasis
they place on mapping the land and its resources
in terms of location and area.
Besides Troll, other ecologists and geographers
made important contributions to the denition of
landscape ecology as a distinct discipline. In the
s and s the German scholars Ernst Neef,
Josef Schmithusen, and G. Haase provided additional insights into the ecological structure of
landscapes. Their contributions, along with those
made by the Dutch scholars Isaak Zonneveld and
A. P. A. Vink, the Soviet ecologists V. Sochava and
V. Vinogradov, and the Slovak Milan Ruzicka, revealed certain distinctive features about landscape
ecology. Unlike ecosystem ecology, which focuses,
in Zonnevelds words, on the topologic, or vertical, relationships within biophysical elements
(plants, animals, water, soil) in relatively homogenous spatial units, landscape ecology examines the
chorological, or horizontal, relationships among
the units as well. Indeed, the topologic and choro-

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Isaak Zonnevelds widely referenced illustration depicts the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the
landscape examined in landscape-ecological studies, in addition to the specic landscape characteristics under
study. Redrawn from Zonneveld, Land Unit, by M. Rapelje, .

logical emphasis in understanding landscapes is a

major distinguishing feature of landscape ecology
(Fig. .).9 Zonneveld elaborated: While each
separate relevant science (geology, soil science,
etc.) selects a stratum for study and considers the
others as forming factors for its own selected attribute, landscape ecology takes the [horizontal]
and vertical heterogeneity formed by all land attributes as a holistic object of study.10
Many people made important contributions to
the clarication of the relationship between spatial change and landscape structure. In R. H.
MacArthur and E. O. Wilson introduced the concept of island biogeography, focusing on habitat
diversity and its relation to the size, shape, and interactions among species on isolated islands.11 In
R. Levin oered his metapopulation theory
for examining wildlife-habitat relations.12 Ecolog-

ical investigations of hedgerows in Britain conducted by E. Polland and his colleagues provided
additional insights into the linkages between
landscape structure, function, and human-induced
change.13 German ecologist H. Leser explored the
relations between the methods and concepts in geography and ecology.14 In an important lecture in
dedicated to Troll the German landscape ecologist K. F. Schreiber sketched the conceptual and
methodological development of landscape ecology, emphasizing the importance of ecosystem research in furthering advancements in landscape
classication and ordination.15 The Dutch ecologist C. Van Leeuwen linked temporal variation to
spatial heterogeneity in landscapes.16
As interest in landscape-ecology studies ourished, scholars from allied disciplines expanded
the boundaries of landscape ecology. Urbaniza-

Ecological Planning

tion theorists identied and described landscape

corridors and networks.17 The cultural geographer D. Meinig and the landscape historian J. B.
Jackson illuminated the importance of culture and
aesthetics in landscape studies. Landscape architects introduced an understanding of the relationship among landscape structure, function, and
aesthetics.18 The development of land-evaluation
techniques similar to those used in LSA and LSA
provided additional denition to landscape ecology. Land classication is a major linkage between
landscape ecology and its applications. The classication units are the basis of land evaluation, on
which ecological and land-use planning rely. Especially noteworthy are the land classications
proposed by the Australians C. Christian and A.
Steward (), the German G. Olshowy (),
the Canadians J. Thei and G. Ironside (), and
Zonneveld (), from the Netherlands.19 In addition, foresters, conservation biologists, and
those in allied disciplines provided supportive
case studies.
By the end of the s landscape ecology had
emerged as a denitive domain of interdisciplinary inquiry in Europe. Indeed, many landscape
scholars in Europe realized that a truly comprehensive understanding of the landscape as interacting ecosystems can only be gained from the
contributions of many disciplines. John Smuts
concept of holism provided a philosophical and
conceptual basis for a holistic understanding of
landscapes, especially the emphasis he placed on
examining a whole system without knowing the
details of constituent components. GST enhanced
the understanding of the landscape as a system
made up of interacting and related components
organized in a hierarchical manner. Understanding the landscape as a holistic entity made up of
heterogenous components is another distinctive
feature of landscape ecology.
Advances in remote-sensing technology since
the s provided additional stimulus for the
holistic understanding of landscapes. Satellite im-

agery permitted a more comprehensive depiction

than did aerial photographs of the earths surface
as comprising heterogenous elements. In addition,
satellite images provided more accurate information about the physical systems of large land mosaics. With the broad-scale image, scientists were
better able to study the earths surface at an organizational scale larger than the ecosystemthe
landscapebut with a ner resolution. Moreover,
developments in GIS technology enhanced the
ability to capture, store, manipulate, and display
holistically surveyed landscape data.
European landscape ecologists also made important contributions to the application of the
substantive theory of landscape ecology, especially with regard to addressing land-use and ecological concerns in human-dominated landscapes.
They quickly realized that landscape ecology provides a framework within which ecological planners can explore how the structure of the land
evolves with relevant human-induced and natural
processes. The emphasis landscape ecology places
on how spatial change inuences the functioning
of natural and cultural landscapes, and vice versa,
makes it especially useful in landscape-ecological
planning. The landscape classication schemes of
Dutch and German landscape ecologists are instructive. In fact, until the early s the major literature of landscape ecology was mainly in German and Dutch.20
Landscape ecology is a much younger science
in North America than in Europe. It was introduced in , after U.S. scientists began to attend
European conferences on landscape ecology. In an
important paper published in Bioscience in
Richard Forman and Michel Godron raised conceptual issues about the validity of the landscape
as a useful unit for conducting ecological studies.
They provided denitions for terms such as patch,
corridor, and matrix, used widely today in landscapeecology studies.21 The ecologist Zev Naveh provided the conceptual basis for landscape ecology
by articulating the integral relationships between

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

humans and the landscape, as well as the importance of a system approach in understanding the
relationships.22 Richard Rommes study of re history in Yellowstone National Park laid down new
techniques for quantifying changes in the landscape.23
Two meetings held in the early s provided
a forum for formulating principles governing the
interactions between patterns and processes in the
landscape.24 The rst, held in the Netherlands in
, brought a group of American scientists together in Europe to discuss common threads in
their research.25 In a follow-up meeting in Allerton
Park, Illinois, in , a group of American landscape ecologists explored landscape-ecology concepts. Since then, numerous meetings have been
held. These meetings, along with numerous papers on landscape ecology presented at the conferences of allied disciplines, the emergence of
seminal texts in landscape ecology, and the development of the journal Landscape Ecology, provided
a synergism that nurtured an exciting period of development in North American landscape-ecology
Today, landscape ecology is recognized as a distinct subdiscipline within North American ecological studies. In the s these studies emphasized the
biological aspects of landscape ecology, the fundamental issues about landscape structure, function,
and change, especially in more or less natural landscapes, such as national forests. A comparable emphasis on the applied aspects is beginning to emerge.
Increasingly, scholars and professionals from allied
disciplines are seeking to apply landscape-ecology
principles to solve ecological-planning-and-design
problems such as habitat fragmentation, design of
nature preserves, resource management, and sustainable development. Noteworthy are the contributions of geographers, foresters, landscape architects, soil scientists, and wildlife biologists.27 Today,
most North American landscape ecologists agree
with the statement by F. Van Langevelde that it is
neither a pure science, with only the goal to in-

crease knowledge, nor is it a purely applied science, with the sole purpose of solving problems.28


The landscapeits spatial structure, function,
and changeis the subject of landscape ecology.
Landscape ecology is closely related to ecological
planning; both focus on the ecology of natural
and human-dominated landscapes, especially their
spatial and temporal patterns and processes. They
are interdisciplinary elds that focus on spatial
change induced by the interactions between humans and natural processes. Ecological planning
might be viewed as a process of making spatially
explicit hypotheses or predictions on how landscape functioning will change in response to
human-induced and naturally occurring inuences. Landscape ecology arguably provides a scientic foundation for making such predictions.
Landscape ecology and landscape-ecological
planning dier in other ways. Ecological planning
involves making normative statements about a desired spatial structure of the landscape. While
landscape ecology may provide the substantive
theory for identifying an optimal spatial structure,
ecological planning must address the consequences,
including ethical ones, of applying the theory: Is
ecological planning appropriate within its social,
economic, and political context? What are the
social costs and benets? Additionally, ecological
planning involves a synthesis of the relevant information with respect to the ends sought, rather
than the description, analysis, and modeling of
landscape patterns and processes.29 It seeks to understand the forces that bring about the need for
intervention and to propose appropriate spatial
structures and policies to mitigate the forces and
prevent them from occurring again.
Figure . presents one way to conceptualize
the connections between landscape ecology and

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Connections between landscape ecology and ecological planning. Redrawn from authors original by
M. Rapelje, .

ecological planning. The diagram is intended to

serve only as a heuristic devise. In Figure ., A represents landscape ecologys substantive theories
that focus on patterns, processes, and change, the
primary domain of scientic work for theoretical
landscape ecologists. Applied landscape ecologists
test and validate these theories through eld experiments (AB), using both quantitative and qualitative methods tailored to analyze landscape
heterogeneity. These ecologists also explore the
implications of both theory and eldwork for
managing human actions in the landscape and present the implications in the form of what I refer to
as bridging concepts (B).

Bridging concepts are spatial ideas and frameworks that specify landscape patterns and processes used to create sustainable spatial congurations of land uses in the landscape; examples are
the patch-corridor-matrix framework, habitat networks, and hydrological landscape structure, examined in greater detail below. Bridging concepts
nurture the maximum fusion of ideas among landscape ecologists and allied disciplines concerned
with spatial and temporal change in the landscape.
Professionals in these disciplines, particularly ecological planners and designers, translate bridging
concepts into specic ecological-planning principles and procedures (BC), using appropriate tech-

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

nology (e.g., geographical information systems and

satellite-imaging technology) to prescribe sustainable arrangements of land uses in the landscape
(C). Planned landscapes (C), in turn, provide a template that enables landscape ecologists to validate
the principles, which subsequently enrich the theoretical foundation of landscape ecology (A). At
each phase (AB, B, BC, C), feedback may occur to
reinforce A. Landscape-ecological planning deals explicitly with phases BC and C.
In the remainder of this chapter I review basic
scientic concepts that frame landscape-ecology
knowledge (A). Less attention is given to those
concepts that simply explain the biological aspects
of landscape-ecology studies. Next, I review selected bridging concepts (B) to illustrate the varied
functions they serve. Procedural directives (BC)
are examined using examples of applications in diverse settings (C).

Drawing from a diverse philosophical and theoretical base, landscape ecology is based on many
scientic theories and concepts, some of which are
dicult to separate. Two sets of concepts are especially useful in understanding the basic principles
of landscape ecology in a manner that reveals its
potential linkages to ecological planning and design. These concepts deal with ecosystem functions at the landscape scale and others that reveal
how landscape-ecology knowledge is ordered,
such as general systems theory (GST), holism, and
hierarchy. I highlight their specic contributions to
landscape ecology below.

Ecosystem Functions at the Landscape Scale

The term landscape has dierent meanings for
dierent people. Its usage in the English language
began toward the end of the sixteenth century,
when the Dutch word landschap was introduced
to England through Dutch scenery paintings, or
landschappen. Since then the word has been used

loosely in everyday language. Landscape commonly

refers to the land surface and its associated features
or to natural scenery seen from a single point.30
From a landscape-ecology perspective, landscapes
have certain distinctive features. They comprise
heterogenous elements and objects, such as landforms, vegetation, and roads. Landscapes vary in
scale, from a few meters to several kilometers. Repeated over time and across large land mosaics,
processes that form the landscapes (geomorphology, natural disturbances, and human inuences)
create a distinct, recognizable visual and cultural
identity. Moreover, landscapes are sustained by
ecological processes that occur at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.
In their book Landscape Ecology () the ecologists Richard Forman and Michel Godron synthesized these features into a rigorous denition of
landscape: a heterogenous land area composed
of a cluster of interacting ecosystems or elements
that is repeated in a similar form throughout its
kilometer-wide extent.31 Ecosystems, as conceptualized by Arthur Tansley, are part of a hierarchy of systems involving interacting the physicalchemical elements and their biotic (and cultural)
features. Ecosystems are connected through the
ow of minerals, energy, and species across the
landscape mosaic. Not surprisingly, Golley dened
landscape ecology as the study of ecosystem functions at the landscape scale.32
Recent studies in landscape ecology, however,
argue against using absolute spatial scale in dening the landscape. Landscape ecologists typically
study areas that are larger than those examined in
most community- and ecosystem-level studies,
such as the studies of the Columbia River Basin or
the southern Appalachian Mountains. Turner,
Gardner, and ONeill elaborated: Landscape ecology does not dene, a priori, specic spatial scales
that may be universally applied: rather, the emphasis is to identify scales that best characterize
relationships between spatial heterogeneity and
the processes of interest.33 Thus, they dene the

Ecological Planning

landscape as an area that is spatially heterogeneous in at least one factor of interest.34 They
agree with Forman and Godron that at the human
scale it is possible to observe a cluster of interacting ecosystems or elements that is repeated in
similar form throughout its kilometer-wide extent, but they emphasize that landscape ecology
may deal with landscapes that extend over tens of
meters rather than kilometers, and a landscape
may even be dened in an aquatic system.35 I
agree with Turner, Gardner, and ONeill and
adopt their denition of the landscape.
Scale, the organizational means for ordering ecological knowledge or the extent of spatial resolution, is especially important in landscape-ecology
studies. Ecologists use hierarchical levels to structure ecological knowledge. Beginning with the
smallest, Eugene Odum dened these levels as
organisms, population, community, ecosystem,
landscape, biome, biogeographic region, and biosphere.36 While all these levels can be studied
from an ecosystem perspective, the most important ones for understanding ecosystem functions
at the landscape level are population, community,
ecosystem, and landscape.37
The other interpretation of scale I use throughout this chapter views it as a spatial dimension of
an object or process. As commonly used in ecological studies, ne scale refers to minute resolution
or a small study area, while broad scale refers to
coarse resolution or a large study area. Scale is especially important in landscape-ecology studies
because the relative importance of factors controlling ecological processes varies with spatial
scale. Since landscapes are made up of spatially
heterogenous elements, their structure, function,
and modication are dependent on scale.38 For example, a given landscape may be stable at one spatial scale but not at another.
Spatial scale also has a temporal dimension. Usually, many short-term events occur over a small
area, while long-term changes take place over a
larger area. For instance, the ecologists W. H.

Romme and D. H. Knight illuminated two spatial

and temporal scales of re disturbances in Yellowstone National Park: small, frequent res aecting
areas of fewer than hectares; and larger, less
frequent res aecting large land mosaics ( ha.
or more).39 Ecosystem studies at the landscape
scale embrace spatial and temporal patterns and
processes that occur across large areas.
Which ecosystem features are useful to consider in relation to landscape scale? Forman and
Godron suggest three: structure, function, and change.
Structure deals with the spatial relationships between the heterogenous elements that make up
the landscape mosaic. Landscape function refers
to the interactions among the spatial elements,
that is, the ow of energy, materials, and species
among the component elements. Change is the alteration of the structure and function of an ecological mosaic over time. An alteration may be
caused by natural disturbances, human inuences,
or both.
One important characteristic of landscape ecology is that it examines both the vertical and the
horizontal structure of landscapes. It is common
practice to describe the vertically overlaying layers
as land attributes, such as landform, soils, vegetation, animals, and human artifacts. Indeed, most
of the resource surveys conducted under the LSA
and LSA methods describe the landscape in
terms of the vertical structure.
Following the lead of Forman and Godron, we
can dene the horizontal landscape elements in
terms of patches, corridors, and their surrounding
matrix. Each of these has specic characteristics
and functions. Landscape elements can also be
dened in terms of ecotopes, a term suggested earlier by Troll and used widely today. It refers to the
smallest spatial land unit that has homogenous
properties. An ecotope is the spatial expression of
ecosystems determined by their structural characteristics, such as soil and vegetation. The structure
of the landscape can thus be described by aggregating ecotopes.

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Ordering of Landscape-Ecology Knowledge

Landscape ecologists regard the landscape as a
holistic entity, composed of interacting landscape
elements integrated into levels of increasing complexity and organization. Each level has a capacity
for self-regulation, self-organization, and feedbacks. GST and the related concepts of cybernetics,
hierarchy, stability, and holism help explain this
unique characteristic of landscape ecology.
As explained in chapter , GST is a philosophy
that views nature as comprising interacting open
systems hierarchically organized. The systems are
made up of living organisms and ecosystems and
become increasingly complex as we move up the
hierarchy. Extended into landscape studies, GST
formalizes the way we understand and perceive
the landscape comprising interdependent wholes.
It enables scholars from diverse disciplines to
study the landscape by focusing on the interactions among its components, even though accuracy in detail may be sacriced. Z. Naveh and A.
Lieberman identify as one of GSTs greatest contributions to landscape ecology its ability to provide a conceptual framework to bridge the gap
not only between the two cultures of science and
the humanities, but also between these and the
techno-economic and political culture in which
decision making on actual land uses are carried
out.40 GST also enables us to focus on cause-andeect relationships among landscape components
and to embrace other system-related concepts to
enrich our understanding of landscapes.
Holism provides the philosophical basis for GST.
As conceptualized by John Smuts in and expanded upon by ecologically minded scientists
and philosophers such as F. E. Egler, J. Phillips, and
E. V. Bakuzis, the universe is an ordered whole that
is organized in a hierarchical structure consisting
of atoms, molecules, minerals, organisms, and so
forth. Each whole represents an organized set of
relationships that are in a state of stability. A.
Koestler coined the term holon to describe this
stable set of relations.41 Yet the functioning of a

holon is contingent upon its interactions with a

larger context, or whole; thus a holon must be
considered both part and whole.
The importance of holism to GST, and by extension to landscape studies, is that one can comprehend an ecological system or a landscape
without understanding the details of its internal
functioning. Because landscapes are complex systems, it would be extremely dicult, as well as expensive, to understand them by working from
their basic components upwards. While holism
has been extremely useful in understanding landscapes as interacting wholes, operationalizing it is
troublesome. At the interface between science and
philosophy, holism is often misinterpreted in landscape-ecology studies when it is used in a nonscientic context, for instance, emphasizing the
metaphysical linkages between the components of
the universe. Zonneveld cautioned that we should
avoid its usage when discussing methodological issues in landscape ecology.42
Landscape ecologists and traditional ecologists
refer to the mechanisms for maintaining a state of
stability, such as in holons, as homeostasis. Ecological systems are self-maintained through a set of
positive and negative feedback mechanisms that
hold the system in a state of dynamic equilibrium.
Cybernetics, the study of interactional systems,
provides valuable insights into how feedback
mechanisms work. It deals with the interactions
among components of a system based on causeand-eect relationships. We know from ecological
studies that disrupted ecological systems reorganize to reach another state of stability. But these
systems are not as easily disrupted as one might expect because they have internal feedbacks that
minimize strong uctuations and help maintain
their stability. Homeorhesis is another concept that
helps landscape ecologists understand how systems move toward a state of stability.
Hierarchy, the idea of levels of organization, is
fundamental to both GST and holism. It evolved
as a framework for understanding a complex sys-

Ecological Planning

tem by examining the functional linkages among

its constituent parts at two or more scales. Hierarchically organized systems can be divided into
functional elements. A large forested landscape,
for instance, can be hierarchically divided into its
component watersheds, which in turn are made
up of tree stands and tree gaps. The tree gaps have
their own properties and dynamic, such as the nutrient and energy exchanges that occur between a
single tree and its surroundings. These properties
and dynamics become the functional aggregates at
the next level, the tree stands, which represent a
mosaic of gap-sized patches with similar properties, for example, species composition and growth
conditions. Thus, as we move up the hierarchy, the
structure at each level and the ecological processes
occurring become increasingly complex.
R. V. ONeill and his colleagues reinterpreted
the concept of hierarchical organization in the
context of dierent rate processes.43 Thus, events
at a given level, say, the tree stands, have a characteristic natural frequency and a corresponding spatial and temporal scale.44 In our earlier example of
re events in Yellowstone National Park, low-level
events or processes tend to be comparatively small
and frequent, while the higher-level ones are large
and less frequent. Indeed, the application of hierarchy theory in landscape-ecology studies helps
us to better understand landscapes by directing
our attention to their functional components and
process rates and by dening how they are linked
at dierent temporal and spatial scales. It may even
be feasible to predict how external factors will alter the functioning of landscapes.
Other concepts have provided valuable insights
into spatial patterns and processes in natural and
cultural landscapes. Euclidean geometry enables us
to understand scaler relationships in spaces and
objects with regular dimensions, such as points,
lines, planes, and solids. It is not helpful in dealing
with objects or features with irregular dimensions,
such as landscapes that exhibit consistency in tem-

poral, spatial, and biotic scaling relationships (Fig.

Fractal geometry, the study of dynamic systems
with nonlinear, unpredictable behavior, is one
means for understanding spatial relationships in
landscapes. Unpredictability arises in part from a
phenomenon known as extreme sensitivity to
initial conditions.45 Small, perhaps unnoticeable
changes in dierent parts of a system aggregate in
time and space to induce signicant systemwide
changes. Following the lead of P. A. Burrough, B. T.
Milne, and F. Burrel, landscape ecologists can now
quantitatively measure and describe the shapes
and textures of landscape elements and even attempt to predict the dynamics of landscape processes at varied scale levels.46 Other recent applications of fractal geometry in landscape-ecology
studies include measuring landscape texture,47
characterizing landscape pattern,48 creating articial landscapes,49 and designing landscapes.50
Fractal geometry is arguably a geometry of
chaos. Simply put, chaos is order without predictability.51 Chaos theory alerts us to the potential for uncertainty in predicting the behavior
of systems, including ecological systems. It has
heightened the sensitivity of landscape ecologists
to the potential for chaos behavior in ecological
systems, thereby broadening our traditional understanding of landscape stability. The application
of other system-related concepts, such as information theory, in landscape ecology is described in
detail in a well written book by M. Berdoulay and
M. Phipps, Paysage et systeme ecologique.
Perculation theory has provided insights into the
nature of fragmentation and connectivity in the
landscape.52 It deals with spatial patterns in systems that are randomly assembled.53 The application of perculation theory to landscape studies has
provided deeper insights into the relationships between size, shape, and connectivity of habitats as
a function of the amount of the landscape occupied by that habitat type.54

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Richard B. Russel Lake, in Georgia. The irregular shape of its shoreline cannot be described precisely by
Euclidean geometry. Photograph by author, .

Bridging concepts focus on spatial relations in the
landscape. They reveal knowledge about landscape patterns and processes that are especially
valuable for creating sustainable landscapes.
Bridging concepts help us to illuminate the key
challenges encountered in ecological-planningand-design situations; to decide which landscape
features should be surveyed and analyzed; to formulate principles for synthesizing the relevant information; and to select sustainable spatial structures in the landscape.
Bridging concepts that deserve further comment
are () ecotope assemblages, () the patch-corridormatrix framework, () hydrological landscape structures, () habitat relations, and () landscapeecology-based spatial principles. These ve illustrate

the varied functions that bridging concepts serve.

The rst three describe the functional components of landscapes. They provide a basis for
classifying the landscape, a major way to link
landscape-ecology principles to application. The
concept of habitat relations emphasizes the synthesis of information derived from examining
patterns and processes to achieve a desired goal.
The fth concept, landscape-ecology-based spatial
principles, illustrates principles for guiding landuse allocation in which assumptions about ecological relations and eects are made explicit. Bridging
concepts can also aid in evaluating alternative spatial arrangements of the landscape.

Ecotope Assemblages
Landscapes are typically described in terms of
their featuresphysiography, climatic regimes,

Ecological Planning

agricultural practices, and so forth. Many convenient schemes have been proposed, but truly
phytogenic description based on structural, functional, and historical characteristics does not yet
exist. Describing the landscape based on ecotopes
is a tradition with strong roots in Europe.55 An
ecotope, as previously mentioned, is the smallest
spatial unit of land that has homogenous properties, for example, relief, soil, and vegetation structure. It is regarded as the spatial representation of
an ecosystem comprising a unique assemblage of
living and nonliving things.
Similar ecotopes have recurring properties that
permit their aggregation into increasingly larger
clusters of ecotopes (landscape types). When the
clusters correspond to specic locations in the
landscape, they are regarded as classication units.
In applied landscape ecology such assemblages are
mapped as landscape types and assigned a map legend. Clusters at each scale typically display similar
properties and serve specic ecological functions.

Examples include classications proposed by G.

Haase, W. Haber, and Zonneveld. For instance,
Zonneveld proposed a scheme in which the increasing scale levels were sites (ecotopes), land
facets (combinations of ecotopes), land systems
(combinations of land facets), and main landscapes
(combinations of land systems) (see Fig. .).
Ecochores is another term used by geographers
to represent assemblages of ecotopes. Haber combined ecotopes and ecochores into larger spatial
units, regional natural units (RNUs), distinguished
by common geological and geomorphological
properties and by a characteristic climatic regime
(Table .).
Larger landscape units can be subdivided into
smaller ones, the smallest being the ecotope. The
Australian and Commonwealth classication, developed by C. Christian and G. Steward, and the
Canadian Ecological (Biophysical) Land Classication, proposed by J. Thie and G. Ironside, are notable examples. In the Australian scheme the land-

Table .. Main Ecosystem or Land-use Types

Image not available.

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

scape is subdivided into land systems, land units, and

sites (ecotopes). The land system is a unit of mapping described in terms of the patterns generated
by its component land units and sites. A land unit
is an aggregation of sites that depict recurring patterns of landforms. The site is the smallest identiable unit that is homogenous in terms of landform, soil, and vegetation.
The increasing or decreasing scale levels (spatial
hierarchy) may not have a corresponding systematic hierarchical structure (hierarchy of aggregation). For instance, in a landscape mosaic made
up of individual forest patches with dierent
species composition, combining patches with similar species to obtain a higher level of systematic
hierarchy does not yield larger forest patches.56
But a systematic hierarchical classication can be
achieved if each has unique characteristics. The result, states F. Klign, is not one single classication
at dierent systematic levels, but rather a series of
classications at specied spatial scale levels.57
A similar classication proposed by R. Dorney
conceptualizes the landscape as either a natural or
a cultural ecosystem resulting in an assemblage of
hierarchical ecotopes (Table .). Dorneys scheme
subdivides the landscape hierarchically into ecotope assemblage units of progressively ner scale.
His intent was to describe major and minor biological uses of the landscape informed by the concept of island biogeography. As Dorney pointed
out: An island biogeography concept implies that
such islands [agricultural and urban] are minor
uses; i.e. areas embedded in a dominant matrix.58
Dorneys classication identies three major
ecotope assemblagesnatural, agricultural, and
urban. Natural assemblages have more than
percent of the land in natural vegetation cover, either managed or unmanaged. In agroecoystems
percent or more of the land is in agricultural production. There are three types of urban ecotope
assemblagesbuilt city, urban fringe, and urban
shadowwhich together embrace all lands having more than percent of their designated land

type within a daily commuting eld of cities. Dorney noted that the strengths of his scheme were its
simplicity and its adaptability to varying spatial
scales of problem solving. However, he cautioned
that it was intended as a rst step in dening the
scope of a study, to be followed by a more detailed
landscape-ecology investigation. These observations are equally applicable to all the ecotope
topologies examined here.

The Patch-Corridor-Matrix Spatial Framework

In their book Landscape Ecology Forman and
Godron proposed a patch-corridor-matrix spatial
framework for describing the functional components of any landscape, from urban to rural. They
rst described the terms patch, corridor, and matrix
in an article in .59 Unlike the ecotope assemblages, their framework stresses the heterogeneity
of landscape elements, making it possible to describe the landscape as a mosaic of patches. Patches
are landscape elements that dier from their surroundings. Patches vary widely in size, shape, type
of edge, and so forth. In a rural landscape, for instance, they may include farmsteads, distinct areas
of clear-cut timber, and farm elds.
Corridors are linear strips of land that dier from
their surroundings on all sides. What surrounds
them is the matrix. Water courses, power lines, and
hedgerows are examples of corridors. Width, connectivity, and quality are three important characteristics of corridor structure. Connectivity refers to
the presence or absence of breaks. The area identied as the matrix is the landscape element that
exerts the most inuence over landscape processes
and change. In general, the total area of a matrix
exceeds that of any other landscape element present, even though it may be distributed unevenly.
Each component of the patch-corridor-matrix
framework serves a specic ecological function.
Shape, size, and edges, for instance, are important
patch characteristics that aect biomass, production, nutrient storage, species composition, and diversity. Corridor characteristics such as connectiv-

Table .. Natural, Agricultural, and Urban Ecosystems

Image not available.

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Models of mosaic sequences. Each conguration exerts a distinct regulatory function on the ow of
minerals, energy, and species across the landscape. Reproduced, by permission, from Forman, Land Mosaics.

ity, width, and nodes control conduit and barrier

functions, while the landscape matrix is crucial in
landscape dynamics.
Since landscapes are modied by human and natural disturbances, the patch-corridor-matrix framework theoretically permits informed speculation on
the inuence of disturbances on landscape structure and processes, and vice versa. I use the word
speculation because we do not exactly know how the
patch-corridor-matrix framework contributes to a
precise understanding of ecological function. Nevertheless, it is a promising approach to understanding spatial relations in landscapes. In fact, Forman
used the framework as the basis for distinguishing
types of mosaic sequences that exert distinct influences on the functioning of landscapes (Fig. .).
In his comprehensive and insightful book Land
Mosaics () Forman examined the landscapetransformation processes that create dierent
spatial arrangements of patches, corridors, and
matrices. He also explored their ecological consequences for creating sustainable landscapes. The
patch-corridor-matrix spatial framework is increasingly being used for describing landscape
structure in ecological-planning-and-design projects. Forman has been especially inuential in fusing landscape ecology with landscape design and

Hydrological Landscape Structure

Hydrological phenomena have long been recognized as a valuable source of information for eco-

logical planning and design. Water, for instance, is

an important visual element in landscape design.
It also has cultural signicance, as lucidly described by the landscape architect Anne Spirn in
her essay on a new aesthetic of landscape and
urban design.60 From a landscape-ecology perspective, water and, more specically, hydrological
systems and the landscape relations they create
can play a key role in allocating land uses to the
Building upon the concept of ground-water
ow proposed by J. Toth in , Michael van Buuren and Klass Kerkstra, of Wageningen University
in the Netherlands, suggested that the ows of
surface and ground water result in specic landscape patterns, which they referred to as the hydrological landscape structure.61 These patterns or
relations determine the extent to which the various landscape elements and ecological objects are
connected. They distinguished between surfaceand ground-water ows to permit a precise understanding of how the chorological, or vertical,
relationships in the landscape inuence hydrological phenomena.
The fundamental idea of the concept of hydrological landscape structure is that the ow of water through a landscape transports nutrients and
other chemical matter. Over time, dierent patterns of water-related landscapes are created,
from wetter to dryer areas. These landscapes have
well-dened environmental characteristics that
create ecological gradients for diverse ora and

Ecological Planning

fauna. While these characteristics may change

with specic landscape features (e.g., geology, geomorphology, climate), the structural features of
the water-related landscape types remain relatively stable. Consequently, a knowledge of relations among the landscape types may be used to
create sustainable multifunctional landscapes. Hydrological landscape structure is arguably a special
type of ecotope assemblage since land types formed
by water relations have homogenous properties.
While the concept of hydrological landscape
structure focuses on which landscape relations
should be examined, the subsequent allocation of
land uses is governed by the framework concept,
proposed by Kerkstra and P. Vrijlandt.62 It implies
delineating and interconnecting large natural areas
to provide a long-term sustainable environment
for land uses requiring stability and continuity in
space and time, for example, nature conservation,
forestry, and outdoor recreation. Van Buuren and
Kerkstra have applied their hydrological-landscapeframework concept successfully in numerous projects, including the planning of a network of nature areas for the catchment of the Regge River, in
the eastern Netherlands.
The concept of hydrological landscape structure reinforces similar ideas advanced by Spirn and
Paul Selman.63 Both authors contend that the
deep structure underlying the surface manifestation of landscapes provides valuable insights
into the dynamics of human actions in the landscape. Consequently, plans and designs can be created based on these slowly changing structures.
Understanding hydrological phenomena is one
way to reveal the deep structure of landscapes.

Habitat Networks
One important objective in both landscape ecology and ecological planning is the sustained movement of nutrients, energy, and species across the
landscape mosaic. However, the continued intensication of urban and rural areas has led to decreasing heterogeneity and increasing fragmentation of

landscapes. Both homogenous and fragmented

landscapes disrupt, among other things, the ow
and survival of species. Indeed, they rank among
the most serious causes of the erosion of ecological values and reduced biological diversity.64 Extensive research has been conducted on the dynamics of species in fragmented landscapes.65 One
such eort is directed at sustaining interactions
among species in a landscape mosaic through habitat networks, the spatial connectedness of species
habitats with comparable physical characteristics
and structural features (e.g., species composition,
soil moisture content). Networks are essential for
the survival of native species that have not adapted
well to human-dominated landscapes. They act as
vehicles for the dispersal of species and the enhancement of the ow of nutrients and energy.
The theoretical basis for habitat networks is
provided largely by the metapopulation theory of R.
Levins and the connectivity concept suggested by
G. Merriam.66 Metapopulation refers to a set of local populations of animals and plant species in
which the individuals mingle. Together, hospitable patches for local species and dispersal corridors, which ensure connectivity of patches, prevent species extinction and enhance colonization
of empty patches.67
The concept of connectivity explains those landscape qualities that enhance interactions among local species so that they can form metapopulations in
which individuals interact freely. Sustaining metapopulations, therefore, is a major goal of habitat
networks.68 Because species vary in their habitat
requirements, habitat-network structures will dier
among species. Research on habitat networks has
provided ecological planning with substantive criteria and guidelines for dealing with such diverse
issues as planning nature preserves and allocating
land uses in fragmented landscapes. The landscape
ecologist and planner Michael Kleyer, for instance,
used habitat networks with great success to develop a plan for nature conservation in the metropolitan area of Stuttgart, Germany.69

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Landscape-Ecology-Based Spatial Guidelines

It is evident from our review that the interactions
of landscape patterns and processes at various spatial and temporal scales are complex. Ecological
planners do not have time to conduct the pertinent
empirical studies to ascertain which spatial arrangements sustain which landscape processes. They
therefore have to rely on generalized knowledge
derived from landscape-ecology research and from
related disciplines, such as conservation biology.
Landscape ecologists sometimes present the generalized knowledge in the form of spatially explicit
principles and guidelines that facilitate the creation of sustainable spatial arrangements of the
landscape. Increasingly, such principles are being
Drawing upon the theory of island biogeography, J. M. Diamond and others prescribed generalized spatial principles for designing nature reserves.70 Island biogeography theory, as originally
conceptualized by R. MacArthur and E. Wilson,
states that the likelihood of species migrating to
an island is directly proportional to the size of the
island and inversely proportional to the distance
from the island to the mainland. Once an island is
invaded by species, the likelihood of extinction is
dictated by the size of the island.
Figure . is a graphic representation of Diamonds principles. In a book that is popular among
conservation biologists and landscape ecologists,
Nature Reserves: Island Theory and Conservation Practice (), M. L. Shafer rened Diamonds spatial
principles and proposed others that address habitat heterogeneity. Many of them are yet to be
tested. In fact, considerable evidence suggests that
while the island-biogeography theory was a milestone in the development of conservation biology
and landscape ecology, there are signicant limits
to its use as a primary model for studying the
landscape because of its simplied assumptions.
In landscape ecology, extrapolating the islandbiogeography theory to study patches in the landscape has been criticized. For instance, while

Image not available.

Fig. .. Spatial principles for designing nature reserves

based on principles of island biogeography. Principles
B, C, and F continue to be debated. Simberlo, Biogeography, and Simberlo and Abele, Conservation
and Obfuscation, maintain that some principles are
not derivable from the theory of island biogeography
(e.g., B) or are unrelated to it, for example, F. Reproduced, by permission, from Diamond, Island

species richness and isolation are primary features

of island biogeography, they are relatively minor
variables on land.71 Nevertheless, it has served
well as a useful heuristic tool for designing nature
reserves. In fact, many empirical studies have validated the general features of the theory. Metapopulation models, however, have proved to be more
useful that island biogeography as theoretical
frameworks for exploring habitat fragmentation.
Similarly, R. Noss and L. Harris proposed multiple-use-modules (MUMs), clearly dened habitat
cores suciently large to support interior species,

Ecological Planning

as a way to sustain habitat diversity at all spatial

scales.72 They argued persuasively that each landscape should have at least one MUM. External perturbations are minimized by providing a concentric buer around MUMs. Since species dier in
their habitat requirements, the size and spatial
conguration of the patches that make up the
habitat core will likely be species-specic.
Although it has yet to be tested rigorously, Formans aggregate-with-outliers principle makes sense.
Many empirical studies validate the principle. The
principle focuses on spatial guidelines for creating
sustainable multifunctional landscapes (Fig. .).
One should aggregate land uses, yet maintain
corridors and small patches of nature throughout
developed areas, as well as outliers of human activity spatially arranged along major boundaries,
stated Forman.73 Components of Formans principle include maintaining () a few large patches of
natural vegetation; () wide vegetation corridors
along major streams; () connectivity for the move-

ment of key species among the large patches; and

() heterogenous bits of nature throughout humandeveloped area.
Forman further explained specic landscapeecology attributes that are addressed by the
aggregate-with-outliers principle. They include
the signicance of large patches of natural vegetation, grain size (the average area of all patches in
the landscape), and boundary zones between land
uses. Large patches of natural vegetation, for
instance, should be integrated in the design of
multifunctional landscapes because they protect
aquifers, support viable populations of interior
species, and serve as shock absorbers for natural
disturbances. Forman warned, however, that the
principle has not been tested across spatial scales.
The book Landscape Ecology Principles in
Landscape Architecture and Land-Use Planning, written by W. Dramstad, J. Olson, and Forman, names
fty-ve landscape-ecology, spatially based principles and guidelines and provides numerous ex-

Image not available.

Fig. .. The allocation of land uses based on the aggregate-with-outliers principle. N = natural vegetation;
A = agriculture; B = built area. Note that outliers of natural vegetation, agriculture, and built area are depicted
by small dots in (a), circles in (b), and triangles in (c). Reproduced, by permission, from Forman, Land Mosaics.

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

amples of how they can be used in planning-anddesign projects. In fact, some of the principles
are detailed elaborations of Formans aggregatewith-outliers principle. The fty-ve principles are
grouped into patches, edges and boundaries, corridors and connectivity, and mosaics. In addition,
the book provides references to the fourteen case
studies described.
C. Duerksen and his colleagues proposed biological principles and management guidelines at
the landscape and site scales for mitigating the
eects of residential development on wildlife and
developed an interactive decision-support system
for the Front Range of Colorado.74 The biological
principles were based on principles from conservation biology and landscape ecology. They also identied operational principles to enhance collaboration among ecologists, planners, and citizens. The
distinction between principles and guidelines proposed at the landscape and site scales is clearly consistent with the emphasis landscape ecologists place
on examining the landscape across spatial scales.
At the broad landscape scale, Duerksen and his
colleagues argued that development aects the
distribution, survival, and perseverance of wildlife
populations and communities. In contrast, at the
site scale, development inuences the behavior,
survival, and reproduction of individual animals.
Consequently, they proposed biological principles
and management guidelines appropriate for each
scale. One guideline recommended at the landscape scale for habitat protection was to maintain
large, intact patches of native vegetation by preventing fragmentation of these patches by development, a guideline very similar to, if not derived
from, Formans aggregate-with-outliers principle.75
A comparable guideline at the site scale was to
maintain buers between areas dominated by human activities and core areas of wildlife habitat.76
Duerksen and his colleagues pointed out that the
site-scale principles and guidelines are especially
eective in urban landscapes that are already fragmented, whereas the landscape-scale principles

and guidelines are more suited to rural areas,

where animal habitats are relatively intact and
where future development can be guided to prevent negative impacts on wildlife habitats.
Similar principles have been proposed for rehabilitating species habitats,77 planning habitat networks,78 and developing greenway corridors.79
The challenge for ecological planners and designers is to apply these principles cautiously since
many of them have yet to be tested. Perhaps, we
can learn from planned landscapes to know which
ones work.

Findings and concepts from landscape ecology are
relevant in ecological planning, especially when
they are systematically synthesized into planning
ideology, principles, and procedures. Even though
landscape ecology and ecological planning focus
on the ecology of the landscape, the emphasis that
the former places on spatial change involving interacting abiotic, biotic, and sociocultural processes is relatively new to ecological planning. A
systematic integration of both disciplines ideas,
methods, and techniques is essential.
Substantial evidence indicates that such integration is taking place, but not in a systematic fashion. Indeed, there are hardly denitive methods
for applying landscape ecology to planning. It is
not surprising, therefore, to nd some of the
methods and techniques I examined in other approaches, such as LSAs and the applied-ecosystem
methods, included in my discussion of landscapeecological planning. The development of spatially
based principles is one area in which much systemic integration has occurred.
Selected uses and applications of landscapeecology concepts in planning are reviewed below.
Landscape ecologists such as Forman, Frans Klign,

Ecological Planning

Milan Ruzicka, and Lanislav Miklos have oered

specic procedures. Those reviewed are: () uses of
the ecotope-based topologies; () applications of
the patch-corridor-matrix spatial framework; ()
uses of habitat networks; and () integrated assessments based on well-known interrelations of
ecosystem components.

Selected Uses of Ecotope Assemblages

Early applications of landscape-ecology principles
focused on land evaluation in rural and semirural
areas in an eort to determine the suitability of
land for dierent uses. Ecotopes and their assemblages are the spatial units of the landscapes
mapped and evaluated. Because ecotope assemblages can be regarded as holons with a capacity
for self-regulation (homeostasis and homeorhesis), land evaluation aims at illuminating interactions within and among ecotope assemblages that
enable them to maintain a state of stability, or sustained yield.80 Thus, their stability, fragility, or vulnerability to anticipated uses is usually stressed in
land evaluations. When topologies of ecotope assemblages are used in landscape-ecological planning, additional emphasis is placed on their connectivity, or mutual interdependency, since they
are linked by the ow of materials, energy, and
species. Often, the results of land evaluations are
used directly as inputs in land-use decision making, similar to the way soil surveys are used.
At present, most ecotope-based classications
primarily describe land attributes and their patterns; however, ecotope assemblages delineated
provide a static picture of the landscape. Mapped
units have to be supplemented with text that describes the interactions between landscape function and processes. Notwithstanding, ecotopebased topologies have been used in more dynamic
ways in landscape-ecological planning.
Isaak Zonneveld summarized the generalized
ecotope-based method developed by Dutch landscape ecologists as follows.

. Through initial consultations, establish project

goals, scope, data requirements, and clarify the
nature of survey and evaluation activities.
. Identify the kinds of land uses to be considered,
as well as their land-use requirements and limitations.
. Ascertain ecotype assemblages (land units) to be
mapped and evaluate their qualities.
. Assess interactions between land-use requirements (step ) and the land qualities (step ) to
determine land uses that best match the land
qualities, taking into account economic, social,
and environmental-impact considerations.
. Establish a land-suitability rating based on the
outcomes of step .
. Present results to stakeholders.
. Recommend appropriate uses of the land.81

Note that this method developed by Dutch

landscape ecologists is strikingly similar to LSA
methods. Unlike the LSA methods, which examine the vertical relationships between biophysical
and sociocultural features in the landscape, the
Dutch method examines the horizontal relationships between the features as well.
The German professor of landscape ecology
Wolfgang Haber and his colleagues at the Munich
University of Technology proposed a strategy for
conducting impact assessment using the regionalnatural-units classication (see Table .).82 Their
strategy involves ve steps:
. Identify the principal regional land-use types and
their subtypes using the RNU scheme, arrange
them according to decreasing naturalness, and
assign environmental impacts typically generated by them grouped by material and nonmaterial impact and by impact-receiving natural resources, such as water and soil.
. Map the spatial distribution of RNUs and assess
the amount of land in each RNU to ascertain
ecotope diversity.
. Conduct a special inventory and assessment of
ecotopes or ecotope assemblages within RNUs
that are most sensitive to environmental impacts
and worthy of preservation.
.Assess the spatial interrelations among all eco-

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

topes or assemblages of an RNU with special emphasis on connectedness and interdependencies.

. Assess the impact structure of an RNU based on
information generated from steps with special emphasis on impact sensitivity and impact

The resultant information is organized on the basis of RNUs and their subunits, computerized and
stored in digital data banks using GIS, and subsequently made available to local governments to
assist them in land-use decision making. Besides
the examination of cause-and-eect relationships,
the analysis of spatial patterns and processes reinforces a basic principle in landscape ecology,
namely, that landscape systems such as RNUs are
open systems that can be well understood only if
the inuence of social, economic, and environmental factors on the systems is known.
In Ecosystem Classication for Environmental Management (), Klign demonstrated how the hierarchical ecotope classication he proposed can
inform the spatial scale at which specic environmental problems can be addressed. He argued that
environmental hazards such as ground-water pollution, fragmentation, and acidication may be
viewed as chains of ecological processes that aect
the structural characteristics of ecosystems at
many spatial and temporal scales. The structural
characteristics may be the soil texture, the organic
content of the soil, or the direction and rate of
ground-water ow. Each hazard has an immediate
impact on specic biophysical characteristics of
the landscape and cascades down to the others.
Pollution, for instance, begins in the atmosphere
and moves down to surface water, ground water,
geology, and so forth.
Klign proposed a ve-step procedure for evaluating the susceptibility of ecotopes to specic environmental hazards:
. Establish the spatial and temporal scale or point
of attack for addressing the hazard.
. Examine processes that determine the suscepti-

bility of ecotopes and their assemblages for a

particular environmental problem, e.g., precipitation and leaching.
. Identify structural landscape characteristics that
control these processes, e.g., mineral content of
soil and ground-water uctuations.
. Determine the relations between these characteristics and the processes identied in step to
estimate carrying capacity.
. Synthesize the resultant information into a gradient of susceptibility.

Kligns contention was that focusing on the point

at which a hazard impacts directly upon a landscape reveals the most appropriate scale at which
to address the problem. Also implied in the procedure is a cause-and-eect assessment of human actions on specic characteristics of ecotopes at various scales.
If ecotopes represent spatial units with homogenous properties, then the landscape types
formed by the ow of surface and ground water
can be regarded as ecotopes. By implication, Van
Buuren and Kerkstras hydrological landscape
structure may be viewed as ecotope assemblages
dened on the basis of hydrological phenomena.
They also prescribed a procedure, the hydrological
approach to landscape planning, for creating sustainable multifunctional landscapes. The approach involves () a description of the hydrological landscape structure for a given type, including a
reconstruction of the historical and contemporary
surface- and ground-water characteristics; () an
assessment of the linkages between the spatial distribution of extant land uses and the characteristics of the hydrological landscape structure, and
() the reallocation of land uses corresponding to
the spatial units within the hydrological landscape
The rst step requires further elaboration. Van
Buuren and Kerkstra suggested that the procedure
for analyzing regional hydrological systems proposed by G. B. Engelen and G. P. Jones be used as
a point of departure for analyzing the hydrologi-

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. The hydrological landscape structure of the catchment of the Regge River, in the eastern Netherlands.
Redrawn from Van Buuren Kerkstra, Framework Concept and the Hydrological Landscape Structure, by
M. Rapelje, .

cal landscape structure. The analysis consists of a

qualitative description of existing maps and data on
geology, geomorphology, soil types, ground-water
tables, drainage patterns, land use, and vegetation.
Engelen and Jones noted, however, that the assessment should be augmented with a simple computer model, FLOWNET, that simulates a steady,
saturated ground-water ow in rectangular heterogenous sections of the subsoil. But the results
do not provide exact information on the quantities
and quantities of these hydrological relations.
Specically, Engelen and Jones prescribed a reconstruction of the historical hydrological structure of a landscape that would provide information on the hydrological conditions before
extensive modication by humans. By comparing
the historical and contemporary hydrological conditions, one can obtain a better grasp of the nature
of the emergent ecological problems in a particu-

lar landscape. Engelen and Jones also suggest ways

of addressing those problems.
Van Buuren and Kerkstra applied their method
successfully in the formulation of a network of nature areas in the catchment of the Regge River
(Fig. .). Edward Cook, of the Arizona State University School of Planning and Landscape Architecture employed a similar procedure in reestablishing the biological components of the lower
Salt River in Arizona, while accommodating the
needs of the urban residents.83 The application of
the concept of hydrological landscape structure is
an innovative research enterprise that has immense potential for understanding a specic aspect of landscape-ecology relations. As with other
procedures discussed here, the resultant information still needs to be supplemented with social,
economic, and technological considerations to determine the optimal land-use allocation.

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Uses of the Patch-Corridor-Matrix

Spatial Framework
When Forman and Godron formulated their
patch-corridor-matrix framework, they also suggested a procedure for using it to guide land-use allocation.84 Their procedure is intended to manage
both heterogeneity and change in the landscape
through the analysis of patch-corridor-matrix interactions, the relative uniqueness of patches and
their recovery time once modied, as well as the
modeling of cause-and-eect relationships.
Once the project goals are established, for example, the transformation of patches into building sites, then the patches and their surroundings
(matrix) are identied and mapped. Next, a patchmatrix-interaction analysis is conducted to discover
how the transformed patches will aect the matrix, and vice versa. For instance, will the development lead to increased surface runo upstream?
Will the migratory path for wildlife be interrupted? Patch (site) characteristics are examined
subsequently to determine their relative uniqueness
and replacement time. It will take longer to replace
a mature stand of oak-hickory forest, for instance,
than it will take to replace an open eld.
An input-output model is then employed to estimate the optimal and maximum levels of impacts
generated by site modication based on causeand-eect relationships. Variables are described
for atmospheric inputs (e.g., precipitation), soil inputs (e.g., a toxic substance in ground water), and
human inputs (e.g., construction equipment), as
well as for outputs, which express the eects of site
modication on landscape structure and processes, such as soil compaction and excessive
The modeling is intended to produce three
types of results: () a ratio of direct human inputs
to human outputs described in caloric terms; ()
the dierence in the levels of pollution generated
by incoming and outgoing atmospheric and soil
ows (an increase in ow is a cost to the sur-

roundings); and () changes in the level of storage

or biomass of the site characteristics to ascertain
the level of degradation resulting from the proposed site modication. An example of such
degradation is a decline in species diversity or colonization by non-native species. The optimal allocation of land uses is determined by combining
the outcomes of these evaluations with pertinent
social and economic data.
Variations of this procedure have been employed or prescribed for developing greenway corridors and multifunctional landscapes and for
designing wildlife reserves and river-corridor networks. In Land Mosaics Forman illustrated how a
variation of the procedure was used to plan a network of open spaces in Concord, Massachusetts,
kilometers ( mi.) east of Boston. The procedure is presented in Figure .. Figure . shows
the proposed open space plan for Concord. Forman analyzed the spatial relationships between
patches and corridors and evaluated special sites
for their uniqueness and replacement time. In general, the economic justication for preserving
large patches of land where land prices are high is
yet to be rigorously debated.
Edward Cook proposed a framework that uses
the assessment of patch-corridor-matrix interactions to develop an ecological network in urban
river corridors.85 The framework was rened subsequently by the Canadian landscape architects L.
Baschak and R. Brown into an Ecological Design
Framework (EDF).86
The EDF has three main components: () an assessment of the natural and cultural resources of
the study area; () development of the river corridors spatial structure; and () establishment of
the corridor-network components. Baschak and
Brown applied the assessment component in the
development of a corridor network in the South
Saskatoon River, in western Canada, and they provided elaborate guidelines for how the other two
components could be applied.

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Procedure used to plan a network of open spaces. Redrawn from Forman, Land Mosaics, by M. Rapelje,

Baschak and Brown rst identied the landscapes patches, corridors, and networks and then
mapped them at several levels. Next, they evaluated the quality, quantity, and location of the landscape elements, while considering their linkages
with the surrounding urban context. Table . depicts the results of their evaluation using such ecological criteria as diversity of plant species, degree
of naturalness, and sensitivity to disturbance, criteria similar to those used by Bastedo and Therberge in their ABC strategy, discussed in the previous chapter.
The resource demand for implementing this
framework is high since each component must
be considered in detail. But Baschak and Brown
noted that systematic inventory and analysis of
spatial structure and processes is still feasible with
a limited inventory and analysis of the site. Their
application is instructive because it touched upon
certain technical and pragmatic issues encountered when the patch-corridor-matrix model is

used to examine landscapes. For instance, identifying and mapping patches and matrices in a
highly fragmented landscape at ner scales can be
very tedious. Baschak and Brown demonstrated
eectively that representative mapping can be used
without sacricing the technical validity of the
outcome. In representative mapping, examples of
all types of land uses are mapped, and the outcome is transferred to all areas of the site having a
similar use structure. The other components of
the EDF have yet to be tested, however.
In Paul Selman proposed procedural principles for countryside planning to minimize fragmentation and develop sustainable agricultural
landscapes.87 The procedure, which he referred to
as emergent principles, is based on the spatial relations of patches, edges, and corridors, on hierarchy theory, and on GIS.
The sequential application of the principles involves: () dening the study area; () surveying the
social, economic, and ecological characteristics of

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

Image not available.

Fig. .. Proposed open-space plan for Concord, Massachusetts. Note that the plan reects Formans aggregatewith-outliers principle. Large, intact patches of natural vegetation were preserved and connected with corridors
for wildlife and water protection. Reproduced, by permission, from Forman, Land Mosaics.

the area; () identifying a small range of indicator

species; ) dening interpatch dispersal distance;
() identifying sources of colonists species; () delineating edges, corridors, and areas of protected
and limited use; () establishing, whenever feasible, large, intact patches as well as numerous
small ones and connecting them with wide corridors, such as hedgerows; () developing a design
for a hierarchical plan; () integrating ecological,
visual, and recreational attributes; () developing
management guidelines; () creating a GIS model;
and () monitoring future change.88 The twelve
steps form a loose but coherent framework for in-

tegrating landscape-ecology principles into ecological planning. Indeed, Selman suggested that
the principles should be viewed as a basis for debate and criticism rather than a denitive method.
The method for ecological greenway design
proposed by Daniel Smith and Paul Carwood
Hellmund in Ecology of Greenways () uses the
patch-corridor-matrix framework as a point of departure for describing landscapes. It also integrates
spatially explicit guidelines for managing specic
functions of greenways and suggests how they can
be put to work in creating dierent types of greenways. Guidelines are prescribed for maintaining

Ecological Planning

Table .. Evaluation of Landscape Elements

Image not available.

biological diversity, protecting water resources,

conserving soil, and supporting recreation. The
method has four stages:
. Determining the overall importance of the regional features and the plausible ways of protecting them.
. Identifying goals to guide the development of
the project and determining the preliminary geographical boundaries of the study area.
. Dening the greenway alignments and widths in
light of the key uses.
. Developing site designs and implementation

Each phase corresponds to a dierent spatial scale

in the process of greenway design. Hellmund
pointed out that the method is a framework for
exploring important landscape-ecology issues in
greenway design by responding to a detailed set of

questions based on landscape-ecology principles

adapted for managing greenway functions. Greenway designers must adapt the questions to suit
their project requirements and the local conditions. The questions make sense intuitively and are
informed by the substantive theory of landscape
ecology but have yet to be tested.

Uses of Habitat Networks

Wim Timmermans and Robert Sneps recent
work in the Netherlands illustrates the use of habitat networks in ecological planning. They adapted
an expert model developed by the Alterra Green
World Research at Wageningen, The Netherlands,
to explore how the viability of animal populations
in urban areas can be assessed.89 The expert
model, Landscape Ecological Analyses and Rules
for the Conguration of Habitat (LARCH), was

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

designed to evaluate the sustainability of ecological and spatial networks in rural areas.
LARCH has been used to predict the long-term
chances of survival of specic animal and plant
species in a particular landscape. It is based on the
concept of metapopulation. Metapopulations are
made up of interacting local populations of animals and plant species connected by dispersal corridors that allow the individuals to mingle. Due to
their large size and spatial distribution, metapopulations are more viable than individual local populations. LARCH uses the following procedure to
establish the sustainability of animal species:
. The potential habitat of each species is identied
using a vegetation map. The carrying capacities
of the habitats are established based on habitat
size and quality. Some vegetation types are ideal
habitats, while others are marginal. The data on
the carrying capacities are obtained from experts
and stored in a database.
. The spatial arrangements (size, shape) of the
habitat patches, dispersal corridors, and barriers
are identied to establish locations of local populations and metapopulations of a species. Patches
that are close together, allowing for daily exchange of species, are regarded as belonging to
the same local habitat networks. Patches that are
far away or separated from one another by barriers such as highways are not considered to belong to the same local populations. Individual organisms occasionally disperse in search of a new
habitat at a particular stage in their life cycle.
When local populations are located within dispersal distance of one another, they are regarded
as belonging to the same metapopulation. If the
interactions between local populations are not
feasible, then the local populations are regarded
as belonging to dierent metapopulations.
. Once data obtained from steps and are
recorded in a database, LARCH computes the
ecological structure of the study area in terms of
the spatial conguration and carrying capacities
of the various patches and for the whole network. It also computes the locations of dispersal
corridors, as well as of local and metapopulations.
. LARCH evaluates the sustainability of the habi-

tat networks of metapopulations based on the

total number of individuals and the presence of
key populations. The key populations include
large numbers of individuals that serve as reservoirs for colonizing neighboring patches.

The resultant information is used to develop proposals for sustainable networks of habitats that
can house viable plant and animal species. Although initially developed for use in rural areas,
LARCH is currently being adapted for application
in many urban areas in the Netherlands. Numerous examples of the use of habitat networks in
planning are documented in Cook and van Liers
Landscape Planning and Ecological Networks.

Landscape-Ecology-and-Optimization Method
The outcomes of ecotope evaluations can be integrated into comprehensive procedures for landscape assessment and synthesis and land-use allocation to establish the optimal uses of a landscape.
Decision making regarding the optimal allocation
of land uses considers other forces that drive the
evolution of the landscapethe supply and demand of land, varying human needs, political realities, and new technologies.
M. Ruzicka and L. Mikloss Landscape-Ecology-and-Optimization Method (LANDEP) represents an important step in this direction.90 Indeed,
in Naveh and Lieberman described LANDEP
as one of the most signicant and practically applied integrated landscape ecological planning
methods to date.91 LANDEP is intended to seek
ecologically optimal ways to utilize the landscape
and to specify ecological problems caused by poor
spatial arrangements. It is a land-use-optimization
system that includes a comprehensive landscapeecology analysis, a synthesis component, a landscape evaluation of an area, and a proposal for an
optimal spatial conguration of the landscape.
LANDEP addresses three questions:
. How is a given set of ecological properties of the
landscape adapted to the functional demands of

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Landscape ecology and land-use-optimization method. Redrawn

from Ruzicka and Miklos,
Basic Premises and Methods in Landscape Ecological Planning and Optimization, by M. Rapelje, .

land uses; that is, to what extent can some activity be developed in a given area?
. What eects have locating a particular activity
had on the ecological characteristics of a given
area in the past?
. What is the present state of natural processes
and properties of the landscape (e.g., stability,
balance, and resistance) and of those modied by

These questions are examined in two phases (Fig.

. Gathering of landscape-ecology data. This phase
includes the inventory, assessment, interpretation, and synthesis of biotic and abiotic factors,
the contemporary landscape structure, ecological phenomena and processes, and eects and
consequences of human actions in the landscape.

. Ecological optimization of landscape use. Optimization focuses on the landscape-ecology data,

especially for the ecologically homogenous spatial units. These units are compared with the development needs for a particular site, locale, or
region. After each spatial units degree of tness
for a particular human activity or land use is determined, the most suitable location of the activity in the landscape is proposed based on landscape-ecology criteria.

Even though LANDEP can be adapted to computer technology, more work is needed to take
advantage of recent developments in remotesensing and computer technology. The questions
LANDEP addresses and the procedures it uses
are somewhat similar to those of some LSA

The Applied-Landscape-Ecology Approach

assessment-evaluation methods, such as METLAND. The primary dierence is that LANDEP

examines the landscape in terms of its vertical (primary) and horizontal (secondary) structures and
species explicit criteria for analyzing, interpreting, and synthesizing the relevant information,
whereas LSA or ecosystem-based methods, for instance, rarely focus explicitly on how the horizontal structure of the landscape inuences ecological function, and vice versa. In LANDEP the
horizontal landscape elements are dened in
terms of ecotope aggregates, which are analyzed
for their quality, quantity, spatial structure, and
function (ecological integrity).
Certainly, LANDEP is intended to ensure longterm stability of the landscape by linking all utilizable stabilizing landscape elements and processes. Stability is dened in terms of constancy
(resistance to stress) and resistance (resistance to
external disturbance). LANDEP has been applied
in more than one hundred projects at a variety of
scales (from : through :,), including the
optimization of agricultural production, nature
conservation and management, and regional planning.
Landscape-ecological planning uses the knowledge of patterns and processes to seek the sustainable arrangement of land uses. The introduction of landscape ecology into planning enables an
understanding, planning, and design of places in
ways distinctly dierent from those aorded by
other ecological-planning approaches.
Landscape ecology emphasizes the relationship
between spatial patterns and processes. It provides
a holistic way to understand landscapes by focusing on the horizontal and vertical heterogeneity
formed by all land attributes. In contrast, other approaches stress the vertical relationships within
biophysical and, sometimes, sociocultural elements in relatively homogenous units. Thus, they
assume that the horizontal relationships will be revealed through an examination of the vertical ele-

ments. The horizontal structurepatches, corridors, and matrices, or ecotopesserve specic

ecological functions in the landscape mosaic.
Landscape ecology has enriched planning
through the development of bridging concepts,
which translate the knowledge of patterns and
processes into spatial frameworks and principles
for creating sustainable spatial arrangements of
the landscape. But the development of procedures
for the systemic integration of landscape-ecology
concepts into planning is still a major challenge.
Until such procedures are well developed, the ability of ecological planning to benet fully from
what landscape ecology oers will be severely limited. Notwithstanding, we can identify common
features of procedures implied or suggested in the
Most procedures rst examine the larger context of a study areabiophysical phenomena,
including hydrological structure and processes,
large patches of woodland, species-dispersal routes.
Also examined are the history of human habitation and natural disturbances. Next, they describe
the landscape as hierarchical spatial units and in
terms of functionally signicant landscape elements, such as patches, corridors, matrices, and
networks. The vertical relationships are described
and analyzed using, say, the overlay technique.
Next, the resultant spatial units are evaluated in
light of the project goals and other relevant criteria, bearing in mind that the units are connected at
various spatial and temporal scales. The evaluation assumes that the landscape has critical thresholds at which ecological processes will display dramatic qualitative changes.
Landscape-ecological planning is still relatively
young. Its potential is yet to be fully realized. Zonneveld reminded us that landscape ecology permits understanding the landscape in terms of
three inseparable aspects: visual, chronological,
and ecosystemic. It is not quite clear how information on the visual aspects or on how people
value, adapt, and use the land is captured and used

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in the process of creating sustainable landscapes.

Some progress is being made, such as the landscape architect Joan Nassauers work on cultural
interpretation of landscapes to enhance ecological
function.93 We are only beginning to understand
how the spatial congurations of landscape elements aect function, beyond broad generalizations. Also unclear is which types of institutional
arrangements are most likely to ensure that the

outputs of landscape ecological planning will be

With continued advances in computer and
remote-sensing technology, and as we come to
know more about landscape patterns and processes and how to apply them in planning and design, landscape-ecological planning arguably will
emerge as a denitive way to use ecological principles in creating sustainable landscapes.

assessment of landscape
va lu e s a n d la n d s c a p e

Ecological planning mediates the dialogue between natural processes and human
actions in the landscape. The dialogue embraces experiences that individuals and
groups have in their transactions with the landscape. Some experiences are aestheticintrinsically gratifying,1 enhancing the quality of human life,2 and
important to the development of thinking, caring humans.3 Studies of landscape values and landscape perception seek to understand human values and aesthetic experiences in order to take them into account in creating and maintaining
landscapes that are socially responsible and ecologically sound.4
The ancient Greek philosophers described human pursuits as belonging to four
categories: truth (the scientic), virtue (the ethical and moral), plenty (the political and economic), and beauty (the aesthetic).5 In the fourteenth century the Italian painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti () of the Sienese school portrayed the
visual aesthetic eects of public policy on urban and rural landscapes in Sienna.
The signicant point he made was that landscapes have an inherent beauty to be
appreciated. This was contrary to earlier medieval beliefs about hidden fears associated with unknown nature. What is dierent today, especially since the early
s, is that the aesthetic appreciation of landscapes is institutionalized in design,
planning, and management, along with ecological, economic, and technical considerations.6
Unlike other ecological-planning approaches, studies of landscape values and
perception address the perceptual outcomes of, as well as the experiences people
have in, interactions with landscapes. Perception is the act of apprehending an object through the senses. Studies of landscape values and perception view the land

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Beauty lies in the

eyes of the beholder.
Which one of the two
landscapes is more gratifyingSmith Rock State
Park, near Bend, Oregon
(top), or the Palouse landscape in eastern Washington (bottom)? Photograph
by B. Scarfo, .

scape as an embodiment of values and cultural

meanings revealed through its physical elements
(e.g., landforms, vegetation), aggregate elements
(e.g., scale, form, color), and psychological attributes (e.g., complexity, mystery, legibility). Individuals and groups perceive the qualities in their
interactions with landscapes to meet basic needs
for habitation. The interactions also evoke varied
experiences, such as satisfaction or dissatisfaction,
pleasure or discomfort, inclusion or alienation, a
sense of failure or achievement, or a sense of ugliness or beauty (Fig. .).
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary denes aesthetic

as appreciative of the beautiful.7 Aesthetic experiences deal with the subjective thoughts, feelings, and emotions expressed by an individual
during the course of an experience. They are intangible, holistic, and gratifying in that the recipient derives satisfying pleasure from merely beholding the object, in this case the landscape.8 In
managing human actions in the landscape ecological planners, designers, and managers seek to
identify, retain, enhance, and restore aesthetic experiences. Given the subjective nature of aesthetic
experiences, it is dicult to capture them in their
entirety, if that is possible, which I doubt.

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

There is consensus on at least three broad questions about landscape perception and assessment:
How do people discriminate among landscapes?9
Why are some landscapes valued more than others, and what is the signicance of the valuation?10
Which experiences in peoples interactions with
the landscape are aesthetic, and how can the experiences be identied and incorporated in designing landscapes in ways that are benecial and
appreciated by people?
The questions have attracted professionals and
scholars from diverse disciplines, particularly planning and design, resource management, environmental studies, psychology, and geography. Each
professional brings his or her disciplinary orientation to the study of landscape perception, resulting in a plurality of landscape-perception and
landscape-assessment paradigms, methods, and
techniques. The applications are equally diverse,
covering the spectrum from human-dominated to
natural landscapes. Similarly, an extensive body of
documented studies exist, even though the systematic investigation of aesthetic quality and preferences for use in design, planning, and management only began in the mid-s. Numerous
reviews have been written about the state of landscape values and perception over the years, including in-depth comparative assessments of
methods and techniques.11
In this chapter I summarize the key theoretical
positions, or paradigms, of landscape perception
and review illustrative methods and techniques
using applications. Consistent with my historical
emphasis in this book, I rst briey summarize the
evolution of the eld. I conclude by illuminating
the similarities and dierences among the paradigms.

Sources of Contemporary Landscape Values
People appreciate landscapes in various ways: as a
wilderness to be conquered, a source of food and

minerals, a commodity to be exchanged, a beauty

to admire.12 Italian painters in the fourteenth century popularized the appreciation of the landscape
for its beauty, pointing to the landscapes intrinsic
values, some aesthetic, which can be appreciated
for pleasure.
During the Renaissance and the baroque era in
Europe, from the fourteenth century through the
seventeenth, designed landscapes reected a formal geometric order, whether the land was at,
rolling, or hilly. In Italy, for example, there was a
great fascination with the classical in the arts and
in daily life (Fig. .). Design emphasized the high
value Romans placed on orderliness in all facets of
In the eighteenth century, landscape painters
and designers in England reacted negatively to this
formal geometry imposed on landscapes through
designs and built works. The painters Claude Lorrain, Nicholas Poussin, and Salvator Rosa romanticized the English landscape, portraying it with
sweeping, serpentine curves and avoiding straight
lines. This organic depiction of the landscape
was reinforced in critical essays such as Alexander
Popes writings in the Guardian () and William
Kents statements on the theme of natures abhorring a straight line. However, the general tendency
during this period was to appraise the landscape in
the same way as paintings. Joseph Addisons and
Richard Steeles essays in the Spectator ()
under the title Nature and Art should Imitate
Each Other were inuential statements.14
Landscape gardeners created landscapes that
echoed the organic, naturalistic view of nature
depicted in landscape paintings. Three dominant
themes emerged during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that shaped aesthetic values
that are still operative today: the pastoral, the
picturesque, and the sublime. Lancelot Capability
Brown (), perhaps the most articulate advocate of the pastoral viewpoint, argued for the
enhancement of scenery to reveal the topography
and for the creation of manicured landscapes with

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Design for the Villa Medici, in Careggi, Italy, by Michelozzo. Note the formal symmetry in the organization of spaces and objects in the landscape. Similar
design expressions are found in the palaces and gardens designed and built in
France during the Renaissance period, some of which inuenced urban designs
in the United States, such as the plan of Washington, D.C., designed by Charles
LEnfant with Thomas Jeerson and George Washington. Reproduced, by permission, from Smardon, Palmer, and Felleman, Foundations for Visual Project Analysis.

simple and owing forms. Later, William Gilpin,

Uvedale Price, and Richard Knight criticized Capability Browns conception of landscape, arguing
that it was rounded and tidy, creating basically a
type of stylized nature.15 They oered an alternative that emphasized the picturesque character
of landscapesirregular, unkempt, and rugged.
In his Essay on the Picturesque (), Uvedale
Price drew a distinction between the picturesque
and the sublime, saying that the latter emphasized
greatness of dimension and a wilderness character
that was lodged in the principles of admiration
and terror.16 Ervin Zube remarked that landscape gardeners could create beautiful and picturesque landscapes, but they do not have the
power to create sublime landscapes. These were
created by a higher power.17
I noted earlier that during the nineteenth century in the United States, George Catlin, Ralph

Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and John

Muir advocated the preservation of the picturesque
and wild character of landscapes. Henry Thoreau
remarked in his journal in : What are the natural features which make a township handsome?
A river, with its waterfalls and meadows, a lake, a
hill, or cli or individual rocks, a forest, and the ancient trees standing single. Such things are beautiful; they have a high use which dollars and cents
never represent. If the inhabitants of a town were
wise, they would seek to preserve these things.18
These visionaries alerted us to the fact that the
beauty of a landscape is a function of its natural
character. The more natural, the more beautiful.
The same theme was echoed in the works of the
Hudson Valley school of painters, who romanticized the picturesque, sublime character of the
Hudson River landscape. Additionally, the democratic virtues of an agrarian economy popularized

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

thetic values and the natural character of landscapes. From the s to the early s the
wildlife biologist and forester Aldo Leopold
pleaded passionately for the inclusion of aesthetics in the land ethics he promoted. At the same
time, he reminded us that aesthetic appreciation is

Image not available.

Fig. .. Ervin Zube, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, Tucson, pushed the boundaries and
made signicant contributions in the assessment of
landscape values and perception. Photograph courtesy
of Ervin Zube.

by such prominent American gures as Thomas

Jeerson, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Frank Lloyd
Wright increased the publics appreciation of the
countryside and established a bias toward rural living. Naturalistic themes were also espoused in the
designed landscapes of Olmsted and his followers.
Examples include the plans for Central Park in
New York (), Mountain View Cemetery in
Oakland, California (), the Yosemite Valley
Wilderness Reservation in California (), and
the Riverside community in Illinois ().
In the twentieth century, thinkers such as Jens
Jenson, Benton MacKaye, Aldo Leopold, Raymond Dasman, Philip Lewis, and Ian McHarg continued in the tradition of the Thoreaus and the
Muirs to reinforce the connections between aes-

Public Policy and Landscape Values

Landscape beauty has been a legitimate objective
of public policy in the United States since the late
nineteenth century. The evolution, however, has
been slow and sporadic. In the federal government set aside millions of acres of land for Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, the rst major eort at the national level to reserve land for
social and aesthetic purposes rather than for the
economic benets of individuals. A similar initiative at the state level began in , largely through
Olmsteds eorts to secure the Yosemite Valley as
a public landscape preserve. The state of California acquired the valley in as Americas rst
state park, and Olmsted wrote the design and
management guidelines in .
The establishment of the rst national and rst
state parks provided a stimulus for various states
to identify, acquire, and set aside unique land areas
for protection. This movement expanded into the
twentieth century to embrace not only large natural and beautiful landscapes but also parkway systems, sites of historical signicance, and small
tracts of ecologically sensitive lands. There was increased public recognition that in addition to being beautiful such lands had recreational values
that people could enjoy as well.
From the early twentieth century on, the federal government enacted laws and created policies
and institutions that enhanced the preservation
and conservation of vast amounts of public lands.
The Antiquities Act of authorized the president to establish national monuments, enabling
the protection of cultural resources and landscapes.19 The National Park Act of legit-

Ecological Planning

imized the protection of large natural areas for

their ecological and aesthetic integrity and for the
enjoyment of current and future populations.20
Additional support was provided in legislation
passed in the s and s that specically targeted the conservation of scenic landscapes for
their recreation values, as well as the amelioration
of ugly ones. The Land and Water Conservation Act, for instance, bolstered the development
of parks by providing nancial incentives and technical assistance to state and local governments.
An important shift occurred in public policy on
the protection of beautiful landscapes in the s.
The amelioration of ugly landscapes, rather than
the protection of beautiful lands, was the primary
concern. Books such as P. Blakes Gods Own Junkyard () C. Tunnard and B. Pushkarevs ManMade America: Chaos or Control? (), as well as
the White House Conference on Natural
Beauty, focused national attention on the deteriorating visual quality of the built landscape.21 Not
surprisingly, the scenic qualities of natural landscapes served as the benchmark for identifying and
ameliorating ugly landscapes. Additionally, U.S.
Supreme Court decisions paved the way for eradicating visual blight in built landscapes. The
Supreme Court decision in Berman v. Parker laid
the foundation for local governments to regulate
aesthetics in the built landscape.22
Among its impacts on ecological planning,
NEPA required federal agencies to ensure aesthetically and culturally pleasing environments
and to identify and develop methods and procedures for systematically including aesthetic values in land-use decision making. Other countries
passed similar legislation, such as the Countryside
Act of in Britain, which called for the conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of the
Countryside. Following NEPA, federal and state
governments passed a substantial body of legislation that specically identied scenic beauty and
amenity as a valid public purpose of regulation.23
These legislative developments stimulated exten-

sive research aimed at understanding and assessing

aesthetic values for use in land-use decisions.
Undoubtedly, we have made major strides in
protecting beautiful landscapes, ameliorating ugly
ones, and embracing aesthetic values in managing
landscapes. The naturalistic character of landscapes seems to dominate public perceptions of
what is beautiful. Accordingly, Zube remarked
that the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century aesthetic conceptions of the picturesque and sublime
are operative today.

Studies of Landscape Perception and Assessment

Designers have always embraced aesthetic considerations in arranging natural and cultural phenomena spatially and temporally. The gestalt
method, examined in chapter , analyzes landscape patterns and their perceptual qualities without considering the compositional elements. The
development of methods for systematically integrating aesthetic values in ecological planning and
land-use decision making began in the mid-s.
K. Craik, L. Leopold, B. Linton, E. Shafer, J. Wohwill, and E. Zube in the United States and K. D.
Fines and his colleagues in Britain conducted pioneering studies in landscape perception and assessment during the late s.24
Zubes visual-assessment study on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts and his
resource-assessment study of the U.S. Virgin Islands provided signicant methodological directives for the assessment and integration of visual
resources in ecological planning.25 Similarly, Burton Linton Jr., a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who also worked for the USFS
Pacic Southwest Experimental Station, developed a framework in for describing and
analyzing visual elements in large forested landscapes.26 Lintons visual framework was subsequently adopted for use by federal agencies responsible for the management of public lands.
The then director of environmental forestry research at the USFS, E. Shafer, developed a model

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

in for predicting landscape preferences.27 In

the same vein, the psychologist Kenneth Craik, at
Berkeley, studied public perceptions of visual quality and related them to physical landscape elements.28
NEPA, along with much environmental legislation passed in the s, propelled development of
methods for perceiving and assessing the landscape, especially within federal agencies that managed public lands. These methods, widely known
as visual-resource-management systems (VRMs),
were designed to identify, evaluate, and integrate
visual values, along with other considerations, in
land-use and management decision making. They
were also used to investigate the visual eects of
current and proposed land-use decisions and landmanagement practices.
The rst VRM was developed by the USFS in
based on Lintons visual framework, followed
by systems developed by the NRCS system in
and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in
.29 These systems focus on visual values, have
a strong bias toward the natural character of landscape, embrace both professional expertise and
public input in evaluating visual resources, and utilize both qualitative and quantitative techniques.
Practitioners and researchers have adapted them
for use in numerous studies.
A series of symposiums, conferences, and workshops in England and the United States debated
conceptual and methodological issues in research
in landscape perception and assessment. For instance, the rst conference, held by the Landscape
Research Group in England in , examined
methods of landscape analysis. A second took
place in Amherst, Massachusetts, in , resulting
in the publication of Zube, Brush, and Faboss
book, Landscape Perception: Values, Perceptions, and
Resources (). Another, held in Nevada in
under the auspices of the USFS, the NRCS, and
the BLM, focused on qualitative and quantitative
methods for visual assessment. These conferences
illuminated both accomplishments and theoretical

and conceptual gaps in the eld of landscape perception and assessment.

As research in the eld ourished in the s
and early s, most studies relied on professional
expertise or public input in making judgments
about visual-landscape quality and preferences.
But the studies lacked a rigorous theoretical
framework of landscape perception that would
permit generalization of the results to other landscape settings and problem types. The exceptions
to this trend include the pioneering works of the
British geographer Jay Appleton and the environmental psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan
at the University of Michigan. Appleton proposed
a prospect-refuge theory, based on peoples innate and biological need to see without being
seen, essential for survival, in .30 In the
Kaplans proposed an information model linking
preferences for landscapes with human abilities to
process information, which they rened in .31
(I discuss these theories in greater detail below.)
Early studies in landscape perception focused
exclusively on visual quality and preferences and
excluded other landscape values. Consequently,
another research eort was directed at understanding the meaning people ascribe to landscapes
and the experiences they have in their interactions
with landscapes. The eort embraced the works of
anthropologists, cultural geographers, and phenomenologists such as Edward Relph, Yi-Fu Tuan,
and David Lowenthal. These works assume that
landscapes have cultural meanings, reecting our
tastes, our values, our aspirations, and even our
fears, in tangible, visible form . . . no matter how
ordinary the landscape may be.32 Consequently,
they do not separate the visual from other aesthetic responses for further investigation.
Two orientations have emerged in the study of
landscape perception and assessment: a professional
orientation, aimed at solving physical problems,
and a scholarly orientation, aimed at advancing
knowledge about landscape aesthetic values and
perception. These eorts are supported by nu-

Ecological Planning

merous methods, techniques, and applications.

The methods embrace visual and graphic representations of visual landscape character, professional and public judgments of landscape quality
and preferences, and quantitative and qualitative
evaluation techniques.
In practice, landscape perception is a continuum without boundaries, and in most cases a
method may incorporate characteristics of one or
more paradigms [or methods].33 Most studies are
still empirically based. Whereas earlier studies emphasized rural and natural contexts, today studies
cover the whole spectrum of urban, rural, and natural landscapes.

The eld of landscape perception is characterized
by numerous theoretical and conceptual themes
(paradigms) about human-landscape interactions.
The paradigms have been dened in many ways.
I prefer to use Zubes scheme, which categorizes the paradigms as professional, behavioral, and
humanistic based on their disciplinary orientation.34 The major strength of Zubes scheme is its
conceptual simplicity, which is particularly crucial
in a eld that has diverse theoretical and methodological foundations. In addition, the scheme
groups similar methods, techniques, and study
Within the behavioral paradigm, I further distinguish the psychophysical and the cognitive models using a scheme proposed by Zube, Sell,
and Taylor. The models emphasize dierent modes
of perception, although the methods are similar.
Table . compares Zubes scheme with other classications. The schemes proposed by Daniel and
Vining; Penning-Rowsell; Zube, Sell, and Taylor;
and Chenoweth and Gobster emphasize rural and
natural landscapes. Punters classication focuses
on urban landscapes. Those proposed by Arthur,

Daniel, and Boster, by Porteous, and by Palmer

cover the spectrum of urban and rural landscapes.35

The Professional Paradigm

The professional paradigm is used by professionals or experts primarily to address visual concerns
about the organization of spaces and objects in the
landscape. Its theory, therefore, is dened based on
ideal solutions to physical problems. This paradigm assumes that the landscape has attributes
physical, artistic, and psychologicalthat provide
stimuli to which the observer responds. The observer in this instance is a skilled professional
trained in the arts, design, ecology, or resource
The conceptual base is drawn from art theories
or ecological concepts. When the arts are the predominant base, emphasis is placed on the formal
artistic qualities of the landscape, such as form,
balance, contrast, and character. Burt Linton,
Kevin Lynch, and Donald Appleyards works are
typical of the arts orientation.36 When ecology or
resource management is the prime knowledge
base, biological-resource-management concepts,
such as degree of naturalness, ecological diversity,
and so forth, are emphasized. Richard Smardons
work exemplies this orientation.37 In ecological
planning, however, both orientations are employed to evaluate landscape beauty. Examples
include the scenery-classication component of
VRMs, developed by the USFS and the BLM, and
the scenic assessment of the North Atlantic Region (NAR) of the United States conducted by
Zube and others in as part of a multidisciplinary water and resource-management project.38
In general, qualitative techniques are used to
judge visual quality. When quantitative techniques
are employed, they usually involve simple statistical manipulations such as means and frequencies.
The primary output of the professional paradigm
is a statement of landscape quality or an enhanced sense of the landscape.39 Methods based

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

Table 7.1. Paradigms of Landscape Values and Perception

Image not available.

The Behavioral Paradigm

and behavioral sciences, such as stimulus response, arousal, adaptation, and information processing. Unlike the professional paradigm, in
which the conceptual base is primarily normative,
the behavioral paradigm seeks to understand
which landscape elements and compositional
qualities contribute to public preferences and
judgments about the aesthetic quality of landscapes. The psychophysical and cognitive models
are dominant in the behavioral paradigm.

The behavioral paradigm evaluates public preferences for aesthetic qualities in the physical elements and spatial compositions of landscapes or
for the meanings people attach to the landscape. It
assumes that landscapes have physical and perceptual qualities that provide stimuli to which people
respond or that they process as information. The
paradigm draws upon concepts from the social

The Psychophysical Model

Sometimes called the public-preference model,
the psychophysical model is primarily concerned
with a systematic assessment of peoples preferences and judgments about scenic beauty based on
specic features of the physical landscape, such as
landform, vegetation, water, and built structures.

on the professional paradigm are arguably the

most well established and the ones most often
used by practitioners. The applications include the
whole spectrum of urban and rural landscapes
and problem types, for example, the siting of roads
and utility-transmission corridors and the assessment of special resources such as wetlands, derelict
landscapes, and scenic rivers.

Ecological Planning

Zube and others stated that the value of the landscape is part of its stimulus property, external to
the individual and invariant. This value can be perceived directly without cognitive processing.40
The psychophysical model shares with the professional paradigm an orientation toward problem
solving but uses public judgments rather than professional expertise to ascertain landscape preferences and beauty. Public judgments, as J. Vining
and Joseph Stevens argue, enable more informed
planning decisions, provides important communication and educational messages for the public,
and may help to circumvent costly legal battles,
especially when public lands are involved.41 Public judgments also involve the public in making
decisions that aect them. The psychophysical
model links the publics aective responses to
specic landscape features that can be manipulated through design and management and uses
quantitative analytical techniques to establish numerical expressions of scenic beauty or preferences.42
The Cognitive Model
The cognitive model seeks to identify meanings
and values associated with landscapes based on
past experiences, future expectations, and sociocultural conditioning. It assumes that while the
landscape provides stimuli to which people respond, the stimuli need to be interpreted if they
are to be meaningful. The conceptual base of the
cognitive model relates the spatial organization of
landscapes to the human processes of cognition in
order to explain the basis for peoples judgments
and preferences.
Early studies based on arousal theory hypothesized the aect of landscape complexity on aesthetic
judgments. The arousal theory links aesthetic stimulus elements to their biological heritage.43 However, the important contributions include Appletons prospect-refuge theory and the Kaplans
informational-processing model.
The cognitive model uses quantitative tech-

niques to relate public preferences to landscape

properties hypothesized to account for aesthetic
beauty. The outputs are statements about arousal
levels and meanings, as well as ratings of satisfaction and preferences. Applications span a wide
range of contexts, including natural, rural, suburban, and urban landscapes. Unlike the professional
paradigm or the psychophysical model, which
emphasize problem solving, the cognitive model
seeks to advance knowledge about landscape perception and values.
The Prospect-Refuge Theory
In a pioneering book, The Experience of Landscape
(), Appleton proposed a prospect-refuge theory, about human aesthetic experiences in landscapes based on innate and biological requirements for survival. The theory argued that the
need to see without being seen was crucial during
the hunting-and-gathering phase in human evolution and that the instinct is still operative today.
Landscapes that aord rich aesthetic experiences
provide opportunities to see (prospect) without
being seen (refuge).
There are certain ways in which we can improve
our chances of survival by paying attention to certain kinds of environmental opportunity, and two
of these emerge as having particular importance.
The rst is the opportunity to keep open the channels by which we receive information. All the
senses are involved, but in considering landscape
we are naturally more concerned with the sense
of sight and therefore can be justied in using the
word seeing to describe the process. The second
is the opportunity to achieve concealment, and this
gives us the twin bases of our simple classication
of prospect and refuge.44

Appletons theory gave a theoretical rigor to the

eld of landscape perception at a time when there
was virtually no conceptual base. Drawing upon
ndings culled from both the arts and the sciences, including the writings of poets, historians,
philosophers, and behavioral scientists, he placed
aesthetic experience of the landscape in the con-

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

text of biological interpretation by linking behavior to environmental adaptation. Appletons

prospect-refuge theory has been a subject of intense debate.45 Appleton addressed his prospectrefuge theory again in , but he did not propose
any major changes. So far, empirical tests of this
theory have been promising but not conclusive.
The Information-Processing Framework
In the early s Rachel and Stephen Kaplan proposed a framework for environmental perception
that links the evolution of human cognitive capabilities with ndings about landscape preferences.
They asserted that the long-term survival of humans was contingent upon the development of
cognitive information-processing skills that enabled them to become procient at extracting information from the environment.46 They called
the storage and processing of information the
cornerstone of human functioning.47
The Kaplans initially postulated that two basic domains representing two critical aspects of
peoples relationship to informationmaking sense
and involvementinuence environmental preference. In a nutshell, people prefer landscapes that
make sense and permit their involvement. This
framework for environmental preference has gone
through several transformations. In their most recent framework, documented in Experience with
Nature (), the Kaplans replaced the domains of
making sense and involvement with understanding
and exploration.
The need to understand, to make sense of
what is going on, is a familiar human tendency
that is far reaching in its expression. Environmental preferences, therefore, are likely to be
greater when comprehension is facilitated. Often,
however, comprehension is not sucient. People
also prefer situations that require them to broaden
their horizons, or at least situations in which such
enrichment is possible. To enrich oneself, or precisely, to explore, enables people to nd out
more of what is going on in ones surrounding.48

Through exploration, people can expand their

knowledge, increase their capacity to understand
previously confusing circumstances, and even
probe into new facets of familiar situations.
Peoples eectiveness in understanding and exploring a particular landscape scene is strongly inuenced by the availability of information about
the scene, that is, the degree of inference that is
needed to extract the pertinent information. The
immediate environment readily provides a majority of this information. Other information is not
provided but can be inferred because we already
possess much of the information essential to our
functioning as a result of previous experiences.
When the information is readily available in the
immediate environment, such as in a picture that
reveals two-dimensional aspects of the visual environment, very little inference is required to
process the information. In contrast, greater inference is needed when the information is not readily available in the immediate environment, such
as when a three-dimensional arrangement of an
actual or depicted space reveals the depth of the
scene from the observers vantage point.
Four distinct informational factors emerge
when the two basic information needsunderstanding and explorationare combined with how
readily available the information isimmediate
and inferred, or predicted (Table .). As noted by
the Kaplans, these informational factors have been
an integral part of the landscape-assessment literature. They help people understand or explore a
landscape scene in terms of its two-or threedimensional characteristics. In other words, they
Table .. Informational Factors

Ecological Planning

reveal the environmental attributes of the way a

landscape scene is organized. The Kaplans dene
these attributes as follows:
Coherence, the degree to which a landscape scene is
unied or hangs together. It is enhanced by anything that helps organize the patterns of brightness, size, and texture in a scene into a few major units.
Legibility, the clarity of a landscape scene, which
permits the observer to understand and remember it. Legibility entails a promise, or prediction,
of the capacity to both comprehend and function eectively.
Complexity, the number of dierent visual elements
in a scene; how intricate the scene is; its richness.
Mystery, the extent to which the landscape scene
promises that one will learn more about something that is not readily apparent from the original vantage point.49

Of the four information factors, coherence and

complexity are based on the two-dimensional aspects of a landscape scene. Both involve the direct
perception of the features of the scene in relation
to their number, placement, and grouping.50 By
way of contrast, legibility and mystery are based on
the scenes three-dimensional aspects since they
require people to infer a third dimension and even
imagine themselves in the scene. In general, a
scene that is coherent and legible is more readily
comprehended. Thus, it is easier for people to
make sense of an environment that is well organized and distinct. By contrast, a scene that is complex and holds out the promise that one will learn
more (mystery) encourages exploration. The four
informational factors, however, work jointly in the
context of a scene or landscape.
The Kaplans informational framework has
been tested empirically in numerous studies of
landscape values and perception, some of which
are discussed below. In With People in Mind the Kaplans used their framework as the basis for proposing forty-ve detailed recommendations on how
to design and manage the landscape in ways that
are appreciated and benecial to people.51

The Humanistic Paradigm

The humanistic paradigm attempts to understand
transactions and experiences among individuals,
social groups, and landscapes. It incorporates experiences that exceed an intellectual conception
of aesthetics as a response to stimuli or internal
mental process alone.52 These experiences embrace values, meanings, preferences, and behavior.
They are holistic, making it dicult to isolate aesthetic responses from other types of experiences.
The humanistic paradigm grew out of the desire of anthropologists, geographers, and phenomenologists to understand how individuals and
groups interact with and experience landscapes
and the changes that arise therefrom. Since it focuses on landscape experiences that are largely
context-dependent, the paradigm relies heavily on
qualitative techniques, such as reviews of literary
and creative works. The outputs include statements about landscape tastes, desirable landscape
qualities, ideal beauty, and the development of the
self or group.

Except for the humanistic paradigm, the sequence
of activities for evaluating aesthetic quality and
preferences is analogous to the sequence followed
in other approaches to ecological planning:
. Specifying the study problems and opportunities,
for example, dening the project goals and objectives and establishing study boundaries. The
goals may be estimating landscape preferences,
landscape quality, or the landscapes capacity for
visual absorption.
. Dening aesthetic resources, for example, establishing the aesthetic-evaluation framework, identifying perceptual factors in the landscape or
landscape elements to be surveyed.
. Conducting an inventory of aesthetic resources,
for example, describing and classifying the landscape into visual or other perceptual units, documenting aesthetic resources verbally or graphically.

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

. Analyzing the resultant aesthetic resources based

on the project goals and other pertinent criteria
by means of qualitative or quantitative techniques.
. Ranking, aggregating, and comparing alternative
statements, preferences, or judgments about aesthetic quality.
. Specifying appropriate design, planning, and
management actions and criteria to mitigate,
sustain, or enhance aesthetic quality.

The outcomes are often used as inputs for larger

studies. In practice, these activities may not occur
precisely as presented since feedbacks occur. Additionally, the specic activities undertaken depend on the project goals, the resources (time,
funds, manpower) available, and the spatial scale
of the study (regional, local, site).
The greatest variability within each activity, however, depends largely on the landscape-perception
paradigm employed. For instance, the professional
paradigm follows most closely the activities outlined in step . In the psychophysical model, activities in step may include relating preferences to
physical landscape elements manipulable through
planning and management to build statistical
models of aesthetic quality or preferences. The
cognitive model is similar, but the focus is on relating meanings to spatial congurations of landscape to develop predictive models of landscape
preferences. In contrast, step may not exist in humanistic studies since they tend to be nonjudgmental.
Applications cover a wide range of problem
types (e.g., corridor studies, recreation, and forestry)
undertaken at varied geographical scales (e.g., regional, local, and site) and in a multiplicity of physical settings (e.g., urban, suburban, rural, and natural). The professional and behavioral paradigms
account for the majority of documented studies.

Studies Based on the Professional Paradigm

Studies based on the professional paradigm use
both qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the visual quality of the landscape but more

of the former. Such studies assume that landscape

aesthetics are more readily revealed through the
visual aspects. Features related to visual quality
(e.g., landform and cover) are rst identied and
then inventoried or rated.53 Summary conclusions
depend on the standards of the professional.
The visual-analysis system proposed by Lynch
in Image of the City () is an exemplary qualitative scheme for understanding how people perceive and use urban environments. Lynchs system
permits the recording of individual and composite
images of commonly held perceptions about
urban landscapes. The basic elements of the systempath, edge, node, district, and landmark
are commonly used by urban designers and professionals in ecological planning and design. Another noteworthy work is Appleyard, Lynch, and
Meyers View from the Road (), in which they
prescribed a system for analyzing urban landscapes as perceived by a person in motion, for example, a person traveling in a car.
Lintons work at the USFS Pacic Southwest Experimental Station in , mentioned earlier, was
another pioneering eort to describe the visual
resources of nonurban and large forested landscapes. Linton identied ve main factors that
aect our visual perception of landscapes: spatial
denition, viewing distance, observers position,
light, and sequence. The spatial denition is the
three-dimensional space created by the concavity
of the physical landscape features, particularly
landform, vegetation, or both. The viewing distance inuences the depth of perception. In general, the foreground (up to   mi.) provides the
most detail, while that detail is lost in the background ( mi.), where forms tend to be simplied as outline shapes. The middle ground (  to
mi.) provides the crucial link between the
foreground and the background.
The observers position limits or enhances his or
her ability to fully visualize the landscape. Figure
. shows that the higher up the observer is located
in a hilly landscape, the better his or her viewing

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Image not available.

Fig. .. The higher the observers location in a hilly landscape, the better his or her viewing position. Reproduced, by permission, from Linton, Forest Landscape Description and Inventories.

position. Variations in the intensity of the light resulting from diurnal and seasonal changes inuence color, texture, distance, and direction. The
way space and objects, observers distance and position, and light hang together (sequence) enhances
the appreciation of landscapes. Using these visual
landscape-perception factors as an informational
base, Linton prescribed a typology of visual landscape types. Lintons visual-classication system
was subsequently developed for use by the USFS
and the BLM.
Linton and R. Tetlows scenic analysis of the
northern Great Plains in was another remarkable eort to develop a visual classication
system for use at a variety of geographical scales.54
Zube proposed a similar system in his resourcemanagement study for the British Virgin Islands in
the late s.55
All systems mentioned thus far are descriptive;
that is, no attempt is made to assign weights in order to aggregate the resources. The expert makes
a summary statement of landscape visual quality.
Other studies based on the professional paradigm appraise visual resources quantitatively after
they have been described and inventoried. The
assessment usually involves ranking, comparing,
and aggregating resources to permit a direct comparison of alternative visual preferences or quality
for a specic landscape. The quantied elements
may be physical, such as landform and vegetative
cover, or artistic or compositional, such as vividness, unity, coherence, color, and texture. Quantication occurs especially in large-scale resource-

assessment studies, where the intent is to provide

accurate, numerical, and defensible indices of visual quality so that they can be compared and aggregated with other resources, such as vegetation
and soils.
There are numerous examples of such studies,
including Luna Leopolds quantitative comparison of the aesthetic characteristics of rivers in
; the landscape-evaluation studies conducted
by K. Fines in East Sussex, England; Zubes assessment of visual values of the North Atlantic Region (NAR) of the United States in ; and the
visual-assessment components of the VRMs developed by the USFS, the NRCS, and the BLM.
VRMs rely on professional and public judgments to analyze the visual resources of large
landscapes, to investigate potential visual impacts
of landscape modications, and to conduct detailed evaluation of visual impacts of projects.
Their common steps are () classication, inventory, and analysis of the visual quality of landscapes based on physical features; () evaluation of
the sensitivity of landscapes based on peoples use,
visibility, and interpretation; and () mapping of
the resultant landscape units to assign appropriate
management objectives or, in the case of the
NRCS, to identify priorities that require further
professional attention.
The rst step involves expert judgments. In the
USFS system, for instance, form, line, color, and
texture are the four basic elements used to dene
visual quality. The unique combination of landscape features such as land, vegetation, water, and

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

Table .. USFS Classes of Scenic Variety

Image not available.

built structures is viewed in light of these four elements. Visual quality is judged in terms of the diversity and variety of these elements in the landscape, resulting in three classes of scenic variety:
distinctive, common, and minimal (see Table .).

Studies Based on the Behavioral Paradigm

The systematic inclusion of public input in assessments of aesthetic preferences and quality is a fundamental feature of the behavioral paradigm.
Studies based on this paradigm are grounded on

empirical social- and behavioral-science methods

that emphasize scientic rigor. Quantitative analytical techniques are often employed. The studies
make assumptions about how landscape descriptors and spatial congurations are related to some
aspects of a scene or to the overall aesthetic quality.
The typical procedure is to select public groups
to view specic landscape scenes or to respond
to perception-related questions about them. Data
collection involves on-site visits, photographic or

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video representations, and verbal surveys. The

data should be readily translatable into ordinal or
numerical form to permit both simple and inferential statistical manipulations. The outcomes depend on the behavioral model used.

Studies Based on the Psychophysical Model

of the Behavioral Paradigm
Psychophysical studies identify physical descriptors hypothesized to account for preferences and
aesthetic quality. Examples include landform, vegetation, and built structures. Aective responses to
scenes are then related statistically to the descriptors. The outcomes are numerical ratings of preferences for individual scenes, overall ratings of
aesthetic quality, or a determination of the importance of specic descriptors in accounting for the
overall quality. Documented studies are extensive.56
An exemplary, well-referenced work is the
visual-assessment study conducted by Zube and
his University of Massachusetts colleagues in the
southern Connecticut River valley in .57 They
assessed the perceived scenic values of the valley.
In addition, they explored several controversial issues in landscape-perception research at that time,
such as the degree to which people agree in their
evaluation of a particular scene; whether the public and professionals always agree in their judgments of a given scene; whether it make a dierence whether the scenes are judged on-site or
through photographic representations?58
One component of the study involved asking
participants to describe and evaluate eight out of
fty-six scenes documented in color photographs
deemed representative of the diversity of nonurban landscapes found in the southern Connecticut valley. The respondents examined the photographs, completed a landscape-feature checklist
for each of the eight photographs, and ranked
them according to scenic quality. In addition, the
participants sorted all fty-six scenes into seven
categories of scenic quality. Another set of partic-

ipants performed the same tasks based on site visits rather than on viewing photographs. Pearson
correlation tests and two-way analysis of variance
indicated statistically signicant agreement among
the participants in their preferences for specic
uses but little consensus between the uses and
their valuative judgments.
The ecological-planning-and-design studies conducted by the Seattle-based rm of Jones & Jones
are exemplary eorts to develop methods for
estimating peoples landscape preferences. One
method Jones & Jones developed was applied in
their study of a scenic and recreational highway
study in Washington State in .59 After testing
and synthesizing selected techniques from literature, including the works of Burt Linton and E.
Zube, Jones & Jones hypothesized that three components of a landscape scene account for its visual
quality: memorability, wholeness, and the harmony of its parts, which they referred to as vividness, intactness, and unity. By clearly dening
these components, they postulated that it was possible to objectively evaluate the visual quality of
any type of landscape using a simple formula:
VQ  (V I U), where VQ visual quality, V
vividness, I intactness, and U unity.

Jones & Jones ranked each component on a sevenpoint scale. They normalized the resulting index
of visual quality to a universal scale of , with
the extreme values representing the highest and
lowest possible visual quality.
Jones and Jones have successfully applied and
rened the method in numerous studies, including
the visual-impact assessment in the Foothills environmental assessment for the Denver Board of
Water Commissioners (in conjunction with the
engineering rm of CHM Hill); the social, aesthetic, and economic implications of routing a
transmission line for the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission (in conjunction with Battelle Pacic
Northwest Laboratories); and the inventory and
evaluation of the environmental, aesthetic, and

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

recreational resources of the upper Susitna River

in Alaska for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
Alaska District. In these studies the assessment of
visual quality was used as an input in a larger ecological study.
Terry Daniel and Ron Bosters Scenic Beauty
Estimation (SBE) method () is widely used to
measure landscape beauty.60 The methods primary objective is to measure the perceptual preferences of landscape scenes. Daniel and Boster
argued that peoples perceptual response to landscapes relies on several cognitive factors rather
than on the visual dimension. They therefore distinguished between the true perceived landscape beauty (what is actually perceived) and the
observers judgmental criteria (the evaluative factors used), both of which are employed simultaneously in assessing beauty. A valid estimate of
landscape beauty should eliminate the uncertainty
created by peoples judgmental criteria.
Daniel and Boster asked participants to rank
landscapes depicted on color slides on a scale from
to , where represented low scenic value and
, high scenic value. Rather than using the mean
ratings as the basis for estimating the overall landscape beauty, they compared the distribution of
the participants rankings for one landscape scene
with those for several other scenes. Since landscape beauty is not a single value, mean ratings
do not dierentiate between the true and judgmental criteria used by the participants. Daniel
and Boster argued that when the distribution of
rankings are overlapping or the same for all landscape scenes, the dierences are likely to be the result of the participants judgmental criteria.61
Carl Steinitzs study of visual preference and
ecological integrity on the Loop Road in the
Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island,
Maine, is noteworthy and deserves elaboration.62
Charles Eliot and McHarg have also conducted
ecological studies of Mount Desert Island. Using
visual-simulation modeling methods, Steinitz evaluated the park users views from the Loop Road,

which provided access to spectacular view sheds;

assessed the predictive power of selected visualpreference conceptual frameworks to reveal factors accounting for preferences; and developed a
predictive visual-preference framework that synthesized factors from the others. He also explored
the congruence between visually preferred scenes
and landscape features that were important for
sustaining a diversity of wildlife habitats.
In and Steinitz conducted exit interviews with about fteen hundred park visitors
to ascertain patterns of use. In addition, he conducted a visual-preference study in . Two hundred park visitors ranked forty-eight black-andwhite photographs of views from the Loop Road
twice, once viewing the photographs in the clockwise direction and once viewing them in the counterclockwise direction, on a ve-point scale, from
the most beautiful to the ugliest. He analyzed the
data to ascertain the rank order of preferences and
examined the strength of preferences among subgroups based on socioeconomic and cultural background. There was a percent correlation between strength of preference and socioeconomic
and cultural background.
Using linear-regression analysis, Steinitz further
identied and tested ve visual-preference frameworks with dierent theoretical bases for their
ability to predict the patterns of responses to the
survey. The frameworks were () the BLM visualresource-management system, which emphasizes
the physical features of a scene; () Shafers work
on the perception of natural environments, which
focuses on a structural view of landscapes using
such factors as the area and perimeter of vegetation in the foreground and the middle ground; ()
the Kaplans information-processing framework,
which places high value on the psychological interactions between people and landscapes; () Steinitzs earlier work on the Massachusetts Scenic and
Recreational Rivers Act, which examined the aective meanings associated with a diversity of landscape features in a particular scene;63 and () Ap-

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pletons prospect-refuge theory, based on peoples

evolutionary requirements for survival.
Steinitzs results indicated that these frameworks had varied but limited predictive capacity.
The physical features used in the BLM method,
such as landform and vegetation, predicted the
highest (%) of the survey responses, while
Shafers framework predicted the least (%).
Steinitz rejected these frameworks and proposed
an alternative that included key predictive factors
from the others. Factors such as the absence of
cultural modication, mystery, and water were
important predictors. However, unlike the Kaplans
information framework or Appletons prospectrefuge theory, Steinitzs model did not provide a
rigorous conceptual explanation of how these predictive factors interact to explain peoples preference for certain landscape scenes over others. In
addition, components of the other frameworks,
such as the Kaplans, have tested well in other empirical studies.
In another phase of the study Steinitz used GIS
to examine the degree of congruence between
patterns of visual preferences and landscapes important for the maintenance of wildlife habitats.
The ndings indicated high degree of agreement
but signicant areas of mismatch. Since highly valued landscapes may not necessarily coincide with
ecologically sustainable lands, a crucial task in ecological-planning studies is to nd ways to optimize
ecological and aesthetic values. Steinitz suggested
a range of management options to resolve the
conicts. For instance, he recommended that areas with high visual preference and high ecological values, such as freshwater marshes, lakes, and
edge vegetation, be targeted for preservation,
while management policies for lands with low
scenic preference and high ecological integrity, or
vice versa, should focus on improving the visual
quality or conditions. He simulated the spatial implications of the policies along the Loop Road and
used spreadsheet methods to evaluate their visual
and ecological impacts.

Since this study, Carl Steinitz and his Harvard

colleagues have conducted numerous scenic-preference studies based on sophisticated variations of
the method used in the Acadia National Park
study. The variations employ advanced visual simulation technologies and a geographic information system that integrates a variety of data and information in social, economic, environmental,
and political analyses. Carl Steinitz and his colleagues used scenic preference as an input in exploring alternative futures for Monroe County,
Pennsylvania, for the Camp Pendleton region in
California, and, in , for the Upper San Pedro
River Watershed in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

Studies Based on the Cognitive Model

of the Behavioral Paradigm
Cognitive studies focus on the the psychological
dimensions manifested in or attached to the landscape.64 The procedure and analytical techniques
are similar to those used in studies based on the
psychophysical model. The dierence is that the
descriptors focus on the compositional qualities of
landscapes, such as coherence, mystery, and complexity, rather than on their physical features. Emphasis is placed on extracting the values and meanings these qualities hold for people in order to
build predictive models of landscape preferences.
Of the two popular conceptual frameworks
Appletons prospect-refuge theory and the Kaplans information model, the latter has enjoyed
more support as a basis for a general theory of
landscape perception.
Many empirical studies have been conducted to
validate the Kaplans model, while others have
used it as a basis for problem solving. Examples of
the former include Robert Itamis study of the
scenic quality of a rural landscape in Australia
();65 J. Herberts investigation of the scenic resources in Oakland, Michigan, in using techniques for measuring, rating, and weighing developed by Itami;66 Itami and Terry Browns
evaluation of the scenic quality of a rural area in

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

Victoria, Australia;67 and a series of preference

studies conducted by the Kaplans, as well as those
undertaken by T. Herzog on natural landscapes.68
Examples of its use for estimating preferences and
scenic quality for managing landscapes include
Michael Lees visual-preference study for the
Louisiana River landscapes in 69 and William
Whitmores visual assessment (with Cook and
Steiner) of the Verde River corridor in central Arizona, published in .70
The study conducted by Randy Gimblett,
Itami, and John Fitzgibbon in a rural landscape in
southern Ontario illustrates the typical procedure.71 They examined how well respondents
agreed upon their perceptions of mystery, a dimension of the Kaplans framework, and then explored the physical attributes contributing to their
perceptions. Thirty-six respondents were asked to
rate two hundred black-and-white photographs of
rural landscape scenery on a ve-point scale for
the degree of mystery in the landscape based on
the Kaplans denition. The rankings were analyzed using arithmetic means, standard deviations,
and a multidimensional scaling procedure (MSP);
the MSP allows ordinal data (respondents ratings)
to be distributed along an interval scale. By examining the content of the photographs in relation to
each of the scales, Gimblett and his colleagues
identied the physical landscape features that contributed to perceptions of mystery.
Gimblett, Itami, and Fitzgibbon identied ve
spatial congurations of the landscape that were
clearly consistent with mystery. These were screening (degree of obstruction of views), viewing distance, spatial denition or spatial enclosure, physical accessibility (ease of movement through a
scene), and radiant forest (contrast of light and
shade). They concluded that the promise of information and opportunity for involvement were two
important dimensions of mystery that enabled
the respondents to develop a mental image of the
landscape. The former was inuenced by screening and radiant forest, the latter by physical ac-

cessibility, viewing distance, and spatial denition.

Similarly, in Richard Kent examined
whether mystery was related to preferences for
shopping-mall settings that represented built rather
than natural environments. A group of experts
rated forty-ve slides of shopping malls for mystery, and students ranked them for preferences.72 Pearsons product-moment-correlation
analysis of the data indicated moderate correlation between ratings for mystery and preferences
(.). Kent used factor analysis to isolate groupings of spatial congurations of the landscape
contributing to the preferences. He employed a
similar procedure in his estimation of scenic
quality along existing highways in Connecticut in
A study conducted at Arizona State University
by Whitmore, Cook, and Steiner on the Verde
River corridor in Arizona was patterned after a
perception study conducted in the Pinelands National Reserve in New Jersey under the direction
of Richi McKenzie, of the Philadelphia regional
oce of the U.S. Department of the Interior in
. They used three techniques to evaluate the
visual preferences and quality of the corridor:
public valuation, as they called it, expert evaluation, and public nomination.74 Their descriptions of the corridors spatial congurations were
adapted from Michael Lees study of visual
preferences for Louisiana River landscapes.
The study group used color slides to capture
twenty-nine visual landscape types that approximated the spatial congurations dened in the
four dimensions of the Kaplans model. Table .
shows a sample of the spatial characteristics of the
landscape types. Sixty-two respondents were asked
to rank paired slides that compared every landscape type in the Verde River corridor with the
others. Slide preferences were converted into preference scores, and scores for each landscape type
were estimated using means and frequencies. The
composite visual-landscape score was computed

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Table .. Spatial Characteristics of Landscape Types

Image not available.

by aggregating the individual means. No attempt

was made to combine the results of the cognitive
assessment with those obtained from the expert
judgment and public nomination. Whitmore, Cook,
and Steiners study did not account for the judgmental criteria of the respondents, which Daniel
and Boster recommended.

Studies Based on the Humanistic Paradigm

Studies based on the humanistic paradigm examine how people use, value, and adapt to the landscape and, in turn, how changes in the landscape
inuence peoples values and behavior. Aesthetic
experiences arise from the interactions between
individuals and groups with landscapes, and no attempt is made to isolate them for further scrutiny.
The methods are predominantly phenomenological explorations of these interactions. The geographer D. W. Meinig remarked in his essay The
Beholding Eye that any landscape is composed
not only of what lies before our eyes but what lies
within our head.75 Humanistic studies of the
same landscape, therefore, can be conducted from
various perspectivesthose of history, literature,

conservation, and so forthdepending primarily

on the researchers interest and on his or her
minds eye.
Humanistic investigations include historical
analyses of landscapes, demonstrated in the works
of W. G. Hoskins, David Lowenthal, and John Stilgoe, and decoding of social and cultural meanings
of landscape artifacts, epitomized in the works of
J. B. Jackson, D. W. Meinig, and Peirce Lewis.76
The data-gathering techniques rely heavily on
open-ended exploratory interviews with key informants and reviews of literary and other creative works, such as content analysis of historical
and contemporary documents of ordinary people
and elites, journals, travel logs, and other materials that might illuminate landscape values. Literary and artistic creations are perhaps the most
important sources of information because the experience of aesthetic landscapes or landscape elements is best seen through the aesthetic creations
they inspire.77 To be meaningful, however, the
data gathered must be placed in their appropriate
historical context, where they can be interpreted

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

Many techniques used in humanistic studies are

similar to those for understanding the insiders
viewpoint, reviewed under the applied-humanecology approach (chapter ). J. B. Jacksons essay
on the historical development of landscape values
in the United States illustrates one approach to humanistic inquiry. Using the diaries of the theologian and educator Timothy Dwight on his travels
in the Connecticut River valley in the eighteenth
century, Jackson traced two social forces that not
only shaped the American landscape but prescribed ideals by which landscapes were to be appreciated. Dwights detailed descriptions of the
valley epitomized the Puritan ethic that prevailed
at the time. The ethic fostered small communities
of families who nurtured the landscape. For these
families, the beauty of the landscape was revealed
in its moral or ethical truth: The landscape, in
short, possessed the quality of beauty insofar as it
reected the moral or ethical perfection to which
all its inhabitants presumably aspired. Perfection
or completeness resided not in the landscape itself,
but in the spirit that had brought it into being and
continued to animate it.78
Jackson used the Puritan ethic as a template to
analyze critically the utilitarianism of the nineteenth century, which placed a high premium on
eciency in production. Beautiful landscapes were
measured by the eciency of energy ows in the
landscape. This new industrial order, as Jackson
described it, was accompanied by migration from
rural to urban areas, breaking peoples ties to the
landscape. Thus, peoples contact with the landscape was not only brief and infrequent but
scheduled. Jackson concluded by challenging
ecological planners and designers to provide and
sustain beautiful landscapesthe scene of a signicant experience in self-awareness and eventual
It is precisely this type of rich information that
expands our knowledge about what people value
and about the meanings landscapes hold for them.
Jackson related aesthetic perceptions to peoples

behavior in satisfying their daily needs for habitation and to changes in their behavior. He also
reviewed the ecological consequences of these
changes in landscape values.
Of all the types of studies of landscape values
and perception, humanistic studies are the least
documented, although many promising examples
exist. In the late s Zube examined the historical evolution of landscape values in the arid and
semiarid southwestern United States based on
content analysis of historical documents such as
diaries, journals, travel logs, and popular literature.80 Edward Relph analyzed historical documents on the evolution of cities and interpreted
them in light of the social, cultural, and economic
forces that have shaped modern urban landscapes.81 In the mid-s I used an ethnographic
survey to explore how the New Credit Ojibway Indians, in southern Ontario, related to one another
and to the landscape, as well as to what extent they
valued certain landscapes, and why.82 A. Shkilynk
conducted a similar study with the Grassy Narrows Ojibway Indians, in northern Ontario,
through interviews with key informants, participant observation, and content analysis of historical documents.83 She focused on the way of life of
the northern Ojibway, including their perceptions
of time and space.
David Lowenthal examined valued landscapes
using tourists descriptions of favored localities
and painted scenes of preferred landscapes.84 John
Stilgoe systematically reviewed historical documents to reveal changing American landscape aesthetics.85 Dan Rose used artistic and literary materials to explore the inuence of Andrew Wyeths
paintings on the evolution of the landscape in
southeastern Pennsylvania.86 Some of these studies, such as Jacksons and mine, focus on group values. Others, such as P. T. Newbys evaluation of
aesthetic values associated with specic types of
landscapes, examine individual expressions.87 A
recurrent theme in humanistic studies is the recognition that peoples interactions with landscapes

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reveal a broadly based aesthetic that engages

peoples emotions in addition to what they see.
Recognizing that humanistic studies are a rich
source of qualitative information about landscape
values, numerous studies based on other paradigms are increasingly including a humanistic
component. Such studies have taken many directions. For instance, one method used in the visualquality study of the Verde River corridor in Arizona was public nomination. Whitmore, Cook,
and Steiner acknowledged that the technique was
consistent with the principles of humanistic inquiry. They asked a cross section of people who
were familiar with the river corridor or had contact with it to nominate segments that they felt
had high scenic quality. The respondents were required to include a depiction of the spatial location
of the segments, a brief written description, and
a rationale for their choice. All nominations received equal weight. Similar nominations were
grouped together, and an aggregate weight was
obtained through an additive process. Eight segments of the river corridor received nominations.
Written descriptions provided the rich information used to interpret the nominations.
A quite dierent example is the landscape-character study for Warwickshire County, England,
conducted by the Countryside Commission in
.88 The study was aimed at developing conservation, restoration, and enhancement measures in
light of anticipated land-use changes in the county.
The study group rst conducted an assessment of
the Warwickshire region focusing on biophysical
factors, historical and ecological associations, and
demographic and land-use trends. They then identied and mapped the distinctive visual qualities of
the region and grouped them into regional character areas and landscape types, based on eldwork. For each landscape type the group assessed
features that contributed to its sense of place,
with special emphasis placed on aesthetic factors, dominant landscape elements, and historical and ecological associations. Figure . is a

sample character-assessment sheet used for the

The next phase of the study involved an investigation of local perceptions about the character of
the Warwickshire landscape. Drawing upon historical records, literary and artistic works, and
in-depth interviews with the various users of
the area, including residents, professionals, and
conservationists, the study group articulated historical and contemporary perceptions of the landscape character. They also analyzed the vulnerability of each landscape to change, focusing on the
existing landscape conditions, pressures aecting
the area, and strategies for managing landscape
modication. The outputs of the independent assessments were synthesized to recommend which
landscape types should be conserved, restored, or
enhanced and to prioritize them.
Studies of landscape values and perceptions are
multidisciplinary, based on varied theoretical positions on the experiences people have in interactions with landscapes and on the perceptual outcomes of those interactions. An understanding of
the perceptions, values, and meanings associated
with landscapes is crucial to the development and
maintenance of socially responsible and ecologically sound landscapes. In relation to ecological
planning, the critical issue is how to best capture
landscape values so that they can be integrated
eectively with other kinds of data in designing,
planning, and managing landscapes.
Irrespective of the paradigm employed, most
researchers acknowledge that individuals and
groups largely agree on what they regard as the
most beautiful or the most ugly. Between these
two extremes, however, there is less agreement.
Each paradigm of landscape values and landscape
perception makes assumptions about how best to
understand and study aesthetic experiences.
The questions the paradigms seek to answer include: To what degree do visual perceptions capture aesthetic experiences? How do visual values

Landscape Values and Landscape Perception

Image not available.

Fig. .. Sample characterassessment sheet. Reproduced, by permission, from

Countryside Commission,
Assessment and Conservation
of Landscape Character.

interact with other aesthetic values? Can aesthetic

experiences be isolated objectively and described
comparatively? Are particular qualities of the
landscape necessary for healthy humans and is this
determined by nature, culture, or [both]? Over
time, as landscapes change, how do peoples perceptions change, and [how do we best capture
them in designing landscapes that are benecial to
people]? How do people discriminate among landscapes?89 Should judgments about aesthetic quality and preferences be based solely on the standards of trained professionals, the public, or both?
and, How are the outputs best representedgeographically, statistically, textually, or using a combination of these?
The stance each paradigm adopts in response to
these questions has immense ramications for the

validity, reliability, sensitivity, and demonstrated

utility of study outcomes.90 The professional paradigm is the most widely used, but the results have
low reliability. The outcomes of the behavioral
paradigm have high validity and reliability, but low
sensitivity. Moreover, it is dicult to assess their
eectiveness. The humanistic paradigm is the
most sensitive, but the results have low validity
and reliability.91
Since the paradigms dier in the way they respond to the questions, developing a unied theory of landscape values and perception has been a
major challenge. In practice, however, many studies combine elements from the dierent paradigms since landscape perception is a continuum
without boundaries.

a synthesis of approaches
to ecological planning

We have come a long way from the nineteenth century, when the likes of Thoreau,
Olmsted, and Muir reminded us about the inevitable ramications of human
abuse of landscapes. The evolution of ecological planning as a philosophy and
framework for managing change to bring human actions into tune with natural
processes has been slow, incremental, and sometimes disjointed. New ideas have
been proposed and debated, and some have been rened for subsequent use. From
the late s to the present the evolutionary progression has intensied, almost
surpassing that during the era of awakening, the formative era, and consolidation.
Unlike in the earlier eras, when evolutionary progression elaborated and claried
the theme of planning with nature, the progression over the past four decades has
been in more divergent but related directions. The eld of ecological planning and
design has expanded, not only in the type, scale, and scope of issues addressed but
also in the diversity of approaches used.
With the expanded scope of ecological planning comes an increased need to
make explicit the theoretical and methodological assumptions that lead us to
choose one approach over another. Each approach reects a particular way of understanding the problems arising from human-landscape interactions and provides guidance for their resolution. In this chapter I propose a tentative classication of the ve approaches to ecological planninglandscape suitability (LSA and
LSA ), applied human ecology, applied ecosystem ecology, applied landscape ecology, and
assessment of landscape values and perceptionas a way to systematically examine
the linkages among them and to explore their similarities and dierences. I review
their similarities and dierences by exploring three questions: What are their ma

Approaches to Ecological Planning

jor concerns? How do they propose that the concerns be addressed? What are the anticipated outcomes? Based on a review of their relative
strengths and weaknesses, I argue that none by itself can adequately address the whole spectrum of
ecological-planning issues. I then speculate on
when landscape architects and planners may lean
toward one approach rather than another for guidance.
Undertaking a comparative synthesis of these
approaches is perhaps a risky venture given the diverse methods and techniques of each approach;
therefore, I risk the criticism of overgeneralization. I therefore explore the central tendency or
bias, as statisticians would call it, of each approachs responses to the questions. In a strict
sense, studies of landscape values and perception
should not be included as an ecological-planning
approach, but they are relevant to ecological planning because knowledge about the values held by
people is essential to the development of socially
responsive and supportive landscapes.1 Moreover, repetition is inevitable in a comparative
overview such as this, especially since each approach has been covered extensively in the previous chapters.

In the discussion that follows, I argue that there are
two types of theories in ecological planning: substantive and procedural.2 Substantive theories of
ecological planning permit an in-depth understanding of the landscape as the interface between
human and natural processes. These theories,
which are descriptive and predictive, originate
from the social and natural sciences, as well as the
humanities, including such elds as anthropology,
biology, ecology, ne arts, geography, geology, and
history. When we seek to understand the landscape as a reection of culture, we turn to the

works of J. B. Jackson, John Stilgoe, David Schuyler, Denis Wood, Neil Evernden, Cotton Mather,
and the like.3 When we want to understand soils,
we turn to a pedologist. The intellectual traditions
depicted in Figure . indicate the disciplinary origins of the substantive theories that inform each
Procedural theories focus on the ideology, purposes, and principles of ecological planning. They
explicate the functional relationships that permit
the application of the knowledge of human and
natural processes in resolving human conicts in
the landscape. The ve approaches examined in
this book are procedural theories of ecological
planning. Each oers a working theory and procedural recommendations for putting the theory
into practice. Thus, in ecological planning we
draw upon substantive theories for content knowledge but use procedural theories as a framework
for organizing the pertinent knowledge to address
ecological-planning problems.

I propose Figure . as a tentative classication of
the major approaches to ecological planning. The
classication is intended to provide a common
base of understanding. If such a base can be established, then future programs can be built on
past experience, rather than starting over from
scratch, remarked Frederick Steiner.4 Not surprisingly, some methods do not t neatly into the
classication. It is evident that substantial overlap
exists, suggesting that in practice methods draw
relevant principles from one another. All the approaches share a common concern: how knowledge of the interdependent relationship between
people and the landscape should properly inform
the process of managing change while maintaining regard for its wise and sustained use. In using
the phrase between people and the landscape I do not
mean to imply a separation. Rather, it acknowledges that humans have the capacity to modify

Ecological Planning

Image not available.

Fig. .. Ecological-planning practice: plural approaches. Drawn by M. Rapelje, .

the relationship through conscious choice, much

more than other members of Aldo Leopolds biotic community, soils, water, plants, and animals,
or collectively the land.5
Each approach denes the knowledge and how
it should be used. The approaches span the entire
spectrum, from those that view the interactions as
heavily inuenced by the natural environment,
such as LSA ; to those that see them as a potential
tension to be resolved, for example, the appliedecosystem approach; to studies of landscape values and perception, which focus entirely on the
perceptions, values, and experiences of individuals
and groups in the interactions.
Some approaches are more developed than others. The oldest, LSA , reaches back into the nineteenth century, rooted in the wisdom of such visionaries as Emerson, Olmsted, and George
Perkin Marsh. In the twentieth century, Manning,
Geddes, the NRCS, Hills, McHarg, Steinitz, and
others provided methodological directions. LSA
evolved into LSA in the late s and early s
in response to increased pressure on resource-

management professionals to develop methods

that were systematic, technically, and ecologically
sound, as well as legally defensible. LSA , the wellestablished applied-ecosystem approach, and the
assessment of landscape values and perception are
arguably the most widely used. In contrast, the
applied-human-ecology and applied-landscapeecology approaches have not yet developed a coherent body of knowledge to give them a clear
identity and direction.
Some approaches have distinct subgroups, reecting an increased sophistication in their way of
executing tasks typically associated with steps in
the conventional planning process. Distinctions
within LSA occur at a rudimentary level, linked
to individuals and projects. The gestalt method is
used in making elemental judgments about suitability. The NRCS capability system and Hillss
physiographic-unit method classify the landscape
into homogenous areas irrespective of intended
Lewiss resource-pattern method and the method
associated with McHargs Staten Island study dene

Approaches to Ecological Planning

homogenous areas in order to judge their suitability for prospective land uses. Some methods, for
example, those used in Richard Toths Tock Island
study and McHargs least-social-cost corridor
study for the Richmond Parkway, permit the evaluation of environmental impacts.7 Computerassisted methods proposed by Steinitz and his
Harvard colleagues can assess landscape suitability and evaluate the impacts of alternative landuse options. In fact, they used biophysical and
socioeconomic considerations to determine suitability, which was atypical of LSA .8
Since LSA reects the next phase in the evolution of LSA , its subgroupingslandscapeunit and landscape-classication, landscape-resource
survey and assessment, allocation-and-evaluation,
and strategic landscape-suitability methodsare
distinct and systematic. A similar division exists
in the subgroupings of the applied-ecosystem approach: ecosystem-classication, ecosystem-evaluation,
and holistic- ecosystem methods. The evaluation
methods are further distinguished based on
whether they rely on indices to evaluate ecosystem dynamics and behavior (index-based), for
example, Dorneys abiotic-biotic-cultural (ABC)
strategy, or on a modeling process to simulate the
eects of perturbations on the ow of energy,
materials, and nutrients (model-based), such as the
S-RESS method used as one of the numerous
strategies for managing the Laurentian Great Lakes
Basin ecosystems. Unlike in LSA , the cumulative
tasks that distinguish the applied-ecosystem approach are based on a system perspective that emphasizes cause-and-eect and feedback relationships.
The assessment of Landscape values and perception has denitive theoretical and methodological subgroupings based on disciplinary orientation and on whether the intended use is
problem solving or advancing knowledge: professional, behavioral (psychophysical and cognitive),
and humanistic. The applied-human-ecology and
applied-landscape-ecology approaches, in con-

trast, developed in an ad hoc fashion, linked to

specic individuals and applications. They have
not yet developed a coherent body of empirically
tested methods that can be organized systematically around specic themes even though several
well-documented applications exist. Since the
early s, however, rigorous theoretical and empirical landscape-ecology studies have been conducted, so we should certainly expect denitive
methods to emerge.

The landscape-suitability approaches seek to determine the tness of a given tract of land for a particular use. Their conceptual base is drawn from
the arts, design, and natural sciences, including
community ecology and ecosystem ecology, as
well as plant and soil sciences. LSA leans heavily
on the natural features of the landscape to ascertain tness.
LSA denes tness as optimization, that is, revealing the optimal uses of a given tract of land in
a manner that sustains its ecological stability and
productivity in the face of changing natural, social, economic, political, and technological forces.
Consequently, the conceptual base expanded as
professionals with expertise in resource management, recreation, and the social sciences (e.g., economics, geography, and policy sciences) became
increasingly involved in ecological planning in the
late s and early s. Some LSA methods address additional issues. The allocation-evaluation
methods are concerned with selecting and evaluating competing suitability options. Strategic suitability methods address these concerns but also examine the programs, strategies, and institutional
arrangements for implementing the optimal plan.
The applied-human-ecology approach views
tness as resulting from the congruence between
ecologically suitable and culturally desirable locations maximized for the adaptive strengths of the
various users of an area. More specically, it is con-

Ecological Planning

cerned with how people use, value, and adapt to

the landscape and how they inuence land-use allocation. It is interdisciplinary, originating from
social and ecological sciences, especially cultural
anthropology, ecology, ecological psychology, economics, human geography, and sociology.
The applied-ecosystem approach is primarily
concerned with examining the structure and function of landscapes and exploring how they respond to human and natural inuences. Its intellectual roots lie in ecosystem sciences, especially
ecosystem ecology, systems theory, economics,
and policy sciences. It also draws on landscapesuitability studies for techniques that link ecological processes to their specic locations in the landscape. The approach assumes that ecosystems are
responsive to human and natural inuences. The
purpose of intervention, therefore, is to identify
the current state of the ecosystems studied, to assess their capability for self-sustenance, and to propose appropriate management goals and actions.
Additionally, the holistic-ecosystem methods address institutional considerations to ensure that
the resultant management criteria are implemented.
The primary concern of the applied-landscapeecology approach is to understand how landscape
structure evolves along with relevant ecological
processes in response to natural and human inuences. It uses this knowledge to seek sustainable
spatial arrangements of land uses in the landscape.
Adherents of this approach view the landscape as
a mosaic of interacting ecosystems connected by
the ows of materials, energy, and species across
spatial scales. It is an interdisciplinary area of inquiry with the intellectual roots primarily in ecosystem ecology and geography. However, other
elds have contributed immensely to its theoretical base, especially soil science, geomorphology,
and vegetation sciences. The applied-landscapeecology approach has two branches with dierent
but related focuses. The European branch emphasizes the identication and naming of landscape

elements, reecting an interest in vegetation sciences and in applications. The North American
branch focuses on patterns and processes. But this
distinction has become blurred because of an increased fusion of ideas between European and
American landscape ecologists since the early
Studies of landscape values and perception
attempt to understand aesthetic experiences
preferences, values, meanings, and experiences
encountered in human-landscape interactions.
The three major paradigms emphasize dierent
aspects of aesthetic experiences. The professional
paradigm, rooted in the arts, design, and ecology,
focuses primarily on visual experiences. The behavioral paradigm, rooted in the social and behavioral sciences, especially psychology, emphasizes
both visual and other aective responses. And the
humanistic paradigm, with roots in human geography, cultural anthropology, and phenomenological studies, stresses experiences encountered in
human-landscape interactions.

Each approach uses ecological principles and related concepts to make the relations between
people and the landscape more understandable
and to dene problems arising from the relations
in ways that make them amenable to intervention.
The ecosystem is a fundamental concept used by
all the approaches to conceptualize the landscape
as a system of interacting physical, biological, and
cultural factors connected through the ow of
material, energy, and species. Equilibrium is the
fundamental force that drives the organization
and maintains the stability of ecosystems. Under
certain conditions, minimal disturbances enhance
the stability and productivity of ecosystems. Stable
ecosystems recover from disturbances and establish new equilibriums. Hence, ecosystems have developed varying abilities to recover from disturbances. Ecological-planning approaches seek to

Approaches to Ecological Planning

sustain the stability of ecosystems while maximizing their productivity.

Frank Golley noted that the ecosystem concept
has been treated as the object under investigation
or a framework for understanding how the components interact. I argue that the LSA and appliedhuman-ecology approaches use the ecosystem
more as a framework for understanding ecological
interactions and less as object. Except in specic
applications, they rarely redene a study area in
terms of ecosystems to permit a more precise empirical understanding of how the components interact. In contrast, the concept is used as both a
framework and an object in the ecosystem and
landscape-ecology approaches, which attempt to
redene a study site explicitly as interacting ecosystems with boundaries whose properties and behavior can be studied empirically. In a strict sense,
the usage of the ecosystem concept as object is
more often associated with empirical research in
ecosystem sciences, which enrich the substantive
theory of ecological planning.
Hierarchy theory, general systems theory (GST),
and the related concepts of holism, cybernetics,
homeostasis, feedbacks, cause and eect, and selfregulation are important principles that make ecological knowledge more comprehensible. These
principles help us understand the landscape as interacting ecological systems that display an increasing level of organization and complexity.
Ecosystems at each level of organization are always in a state of ux that entails social and physical conditions, inputs, system changes, outputs,
and complex feedback mechanisms.
This perspective on the organization of ecological systems is fundamental to how the appliedecosystem and landscape-ecology approaches conceptualize the relations between people and the
landscape; what their primary concerns should
be; and how problems arising from the relations
should be resolved. However, landscape ecology is
more holistic because it deals with three inseparable perspectives: the aesthetic, focusing on visual

concerns; the chorological; and the ecosystemic.9

Aesthetic concerns are equally important in the
landscape-suitability and applied-human-ecology
approaches but are often deemphasized in the
applied-ecosystem approach. They are the primary focus of assessments of landscape values
and perception.
The applied-human-ecology approach adopts a
parallel systemic and hierarchically ordered viewpoint on ecological relations, but the degree of
emphasis depends on the human-ecology framework employed. Place constructs, for instance, acknowledge that the past, present, and future of a
place are linked and are that places are also connected to larger places. The human-ecology framework proposed by Young and others uses interaction, hierarchy, functionalism, and holism in a way
parallel to the way they are used in the appliedecosystem and landscape-ecology approaches, but
from a social perspective. According to G. Young
and his colleagues, interaction implies reciprocal
action, the action or inuence of persons or things
on each other. . . . It is nature and frequency of interaction that most strongly aects relationships
and associations, including those with the landscape or environment. . . . Interaction provides
the medium through which systems, including
ecosystems and regional systems, perform functions and, in terms of human systems, carry out
intended purposes. Unless interaction takes place,
no system can continue to exist.10
Flowing from the concept of interaction are the
notions of hierarchy, functionalism, and holism.
These help explain the interactions between parts
and wholes and among components in social
processes. John Bennetts human-ecology framework, for instance, is based on a systemic view of
peoples adaptation to landscapes.11 It regards the
landscape as comprising human ecosystems that
are open and linked through resource use, organizations, and technology to ecosystems at lower
and higher levels of the hierarchy.
LSA and LSA adopt this systemic, hierarchi-

Ecological Planning

cally ordered perspective on ecological relations

philosophically. In other words, many LSA methods and techniques have adopted this perspective,
but they are inconsistent in how they use it to
dene and solve problems. Hillss physiographicunit method, for instance, uses the concept of
hierarchy to delineate levels of productivity at
varied spatial scales. Lyle and von Wodtkes information system for planning illustrates an LSA
method that regards the landscape as comprising
ecological systems with input-output relations.
This enabled them to model the eects of developmental activities on the ow of nutrients and
materials in numerous projects they conducted in
San Diego County in the s.
In a similar vein, Steiners strategic suitability
method employs the concept of hierarchy in resource survey and assessment. He recommended
three scalesregion, locality, and specic site
with an emphasis on the local. He noted that the
use of dierent scales is consistent with the concept of levels-of-organization used by ecologists.
According to this concept, each level of organization has special properties.12 In contrast, theories
on design, arousal, prospect and refuge, information processing, and sense of place are more relevant in understanding the organization of aesthetic experiences in the assessment of landscape
values and perception.
The extent to which human-cultural considerations are emphasized deserves further elaboration
because it helps dene more precisely the nature
of the concerns addressed by the approaches and
has direct bearing on how they should be resolved.
Information on the physical and biological features of the landscape has reduced meaning when
it is separated from human concerns.

The extent to which human and cultural processes
are emphasized in LSA varies. The variations de-

pend largely on how individual methods dene tness. The NRCS method interprets tness as the
limitations of the soil to support dierent uses.
Hence, physical landscape features are stressed.
Similarly, the methods described in McHargs Design with Nature use chronology to understand natural and social phenomena. They rely more on the
physical and natural characteristics of the landscape as processes to establish tness.
Hillss physiographic-unit method recognizes
the dynamics of landscape change in ascertaining
tness. It denes tness in terms of the landscapes
existing potential, its true potential, and its projected potential based on present and forecasted
social and economic conditions. The evaluation
of the projected potential is based on both expert
and public judgments. Lewiss resource-pattern
method and that used by Zube in his resource assessment of the U.S. Virgin Islands in reinforce the connections between the psychological
health of humans and the visual, cultural, and natural features of the landscape. Using the professional paradigm in studies of landscape values and
perception, they assessed the visual quality of the
landscape based on artistic descriptors such as variety and contrast. Fitness was ultimately determined based on visual and natural-resource considerations.
Lewis also involved local inhabitants and decisionmakers in resource inventory and analysis to
increase their awareness of regional design, a crucial factor in the successful implementation of
environmental corridors. Aesthetic considerations
are likely to be addressed in landscape-suitability
studies if those involved have disciplinary backgrounds in the arts and design.
Applied human ecology focuses exclusively on
people and their interactions with the landscape.
It seeks to understand the systemic t between social processes and the landscape using cultural
adaptation as the key indicator of human-landscape
interactions. Its concerns are remarkably similar
to those of studies of landscape values and per-

Approaches to Ecological Planning

ception and, to a lesser degree, LSA , applied

landscape ecology, and applied ecosystem ecology.
Both human-ecology and landscape-perception
studies attempt to understand the values, meanings, and experiences associated with humanlandscape interactions. The former examine the
interactions in terms of the relationships between
exploitative systems and the natural environment,
the behavioral patterns associated with exploitation, and the conscious choices people make in the
process of adaptation, whereas the latter is more
concerned with aesthetic values and experiences
encountered in such interactions. Assessments of
landscape values and perception dier in the way
they dene aesthetic experiences. The professional paradigm and the psychophysical behavioral model assume that the aesthetic values of
landscape are based on their visual merit. Visual
perceptions, therefore, provide reasonably accurate estimates of these values. Besides, the visual
is the most consistently denable of all aesthetic
values that can be readily captured and used in
making planning-and-design decisions. The cognitive behavioral model emphasizes meanings and
values, while the humanistic paradigm deals with
a much broader realm of experiences. Additionally, whereas the professional paradigm uses
mostly expert knowledge to evaluate visual quality,
the behavioral paradigm uses public judgments.
Of the three landscape-perception paradigms,
the humanistic paradigm is most like the appliedhuman-ecology approach in its focus. They share
a concern with understanding cultural values and
social behavior associated with landscapes primarily because the humanistic paradigm does not isolate the aesthetic from other experiences, as do the
professional and behavioral paradigms. But unlike
the human-ecology approach, the humanistic paradigm is less concerned with examining the values
and experiences of a broad and representative segment of the public. Rather, it focuses primarily on
the interactions of specic individuals and groups
in particular landscapes.

The European branch of landscape ecology has

always been concerned with understanding the
dialectic interactions between biophysical and
human-cultural processes. It evolved within the
context of human-dominated landscapes, unlike
the North American branch, which is more oriented toward natural and seminatural landscapes.
Both branches, however, acknowledge that over
time spatial changes involving interacting biophysical and human-cultural processes create
landscapes that have an identiable visual and cultural identify. Landscape ecology, therefore, shares
with applied human ecology a concern for the
manner in which people use and value landscapes.
But while landscape ecology is specic about the
spatial and temporal extent of human values, human ecology and the humanistic paradigm generalize them.
The central tendency of LSA is to interpret human-cultural processes based on sociocultural, economic, and institutional forces that dictate landscape
evolution. Moreover, individual methods may employ citizen involvement as an additional way to include public values in decisions about landscape use.
What tends to be overlooked is the systemic spatial
concurrences of social and biophysical processes.
However, the LSA methods developed, rened, or
applied by landscape architects inuenced by the
program at the University of Pennsylvania are likely
to embrace human-cultural processes since the key
researchersMcHarg, Berger, and Steineradvocated applied-human-ecology methods. After all,
many of the proponents of the methods, for example, Berger, McHarg, Juneja, Rose, and Steiner,
were involved in numerous human-ecologicalplanning studies in the s and s.
The layer-cake model developed by Wallace,
McHarg, Roberts, and Todd (WMRT) ()
and applied in the planning for The Woodlands,
Texas, conceptualizes the relationship among human, biotic, and abiotic factors in a chronological
sequence.13 Human factors include community
needs, human history, demographics, and land

Ecological Planning

use. Similarly, the studies conducted by Carl

Steinitz and his group in exploring alternative
futures for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, the
Camp Pendleton region in California, and the
Upper San Pedro River Watershed explicitly examined demographic, economic, political, and
environmental considerations. Steiners strategicsuitability method has an explicit component
dealing with human-community inventory and
analysis that examines the connections between
sociocultural processes and biophysical information. Citizen involvement and community education are integrated systematically in all phases of
the method.
The systemic inclusion of human-cultural processes in the applied-ecosystem approach is relatively recent. This may be attributed in part to the
historical emphasis the science of ecology placed
on biophysical factors in understanding ecological
processes. McHarg provided a succinct explanation: While ecology has traditionally sought to
learn laws which obtain for ecosystems, it has
done so by investigating environments unaected
or little aected by man; it has emphasized biophysical environments. Yet clearly no systems are
unaected by man, indeed studies of the interactions of organisms and environment are likely to
reveal human dominance.14
This statement does not mean that ecologists
do not recognize the role that humans play in
ecological interactions. The basis for exclusion,
as Dorney pointed out, is that human-cultural
processes are too complex to be included systematically with natural and physical processes.15
McHargs explanation also reveals, to a certain degree, why LSA emphasized biophysical factors: it
is the oldest approach. Over the past four decades
there has been an increasing tendency toward the
systematic integration of human considerations
in the ecosystem approach. The integration is
more obvious in some methods, such as Dorneys
abiotic-biotic-cultural (ABC) strategy, later rened
by Bastedo; the Netherlandss general ecological

model (GEM); Statistic Canadas S-RESS method;

and the holistic-ecosystem methods.16

All the approaches to ecological planning use an
organizational framework that parallels the sequence of activities used in conventional planning,
but with an ecological perspective. The landscapesuitability approaches dene the landscape in
terms of its structural biophysical and sociocultural attributes. Fitness is established through
some surrogate that assumes a dialectic balance
between ecosystem stability, self-sustenance, and
productivity. Such surrogates are opportunities
and constraints, carrying capacity, and indices of
attractiveness, vulnerability, and capability.
The judgment of tness proceeds in a number
of ways: by eliminating lands deemed unsuitable
for the potential land uses;17 by identifying both
the attractive and vulnerable features of the site;18
or by analyzing compatibilities among biophysical
and sociocultural factors and aggregating them
using logical combination rules or rating functions.19 Some LSA methods, for example, Lyle and
von Wodtkes information system, process models
used by Carl Steinitz in the Upper San Pedro Watershed study, and the environmental-managementdecision-assistance system (a network-impact
model for predicting suitability) simulate descriptively the eects of land disturbances on the ows
of energy and materials.20 What is not known, and
must be assumed, is how materials, energy, or organisms actually ow among the landscape elements under study.
The human-ecology approach scrutinizes the
underlying social structure of the landscapevalues, needs, desires, and adaptation mechanisms
and then matches the structure with the opportunities and constraints oered by the natural and biological environment using qualitative techniques
such as verbal descriptions, texts, and matrices.
According to Berger, the underlying structure is

Approaches to Ecological Planning

better understood by getting closer to people to

discover their denitions of the world . . . and the
chosen method is exible, technically pragmatic,
self-discovering, and capable of providing feedback in the course of an investigation.21 Additionally, because the degree to which we can
understand peoples values and adaptation to
the landscape is limited, most human-ecologicalplanning methods also provide explicit avenues for
ongoing involvement of the aected interests.
The applied-ecosystem and landscape-ecology
approaches regard ecological units as having structural properties organized in terms of parts and
wholes. Consequently, they rst attempt to
redene a study area in terms of ecosystems and
input-output relations. They then use pertinent
ecological indicators and modeling techniques to
examine the ecosystems properties and behavior
in response to human actions and natural inuences. Some of the indicators deal with the properties of the ecosystems, such as thresholds, lags,
and feedbacks; others focus on ecological processes, for example, resiliency, replacement time,
feeding relationships, and the eciency of energy
transfer and nutrient cycling.
The use of indicators is exemplied in the studies conducted by Bastedo and Therberge in the
s using the ABC strategy and in Cooper and
Zedlers location of power lines in southern California in .22 These indicators can also be aggregated to establish an environmental index,
such as the water-quality index developed by the
EPA. But there is disagreement about what constitutes sensitive, valid, and reliable indicators of
ecosystem quality and integrity.
Some modeling procedures, such as the IBP studies, compartment-ow models used in determining
phosphorous levels in the Great Lakes, and nutrient-enrichment landscape-ecology studies of freshwater wetlands in the Netherlands, can manipulate
quantitative data. Others are descriptive, such as the
process model that Lyle used to simulate material
and energy exchanges in his design of the Center for

Regenerative Studies at California State Polytechnic

University and the land-use studies in Western Massachusetts conducted by Hendrix, Fabos, and Price
using Odums compartment model.23
Except when ecosystem boundaries can be tted nicely around convenient landscape units such
as watersheds and drainage basins, dening study
areas in terms of ecosystems is still problematic.
Additionally, because ecosystems are complex and
we know only so much about how they respond to
human-induced and natural stresses, the most
signicant questions asked in using the appliedecosystem and landscape-ecology approaches
relate to which abiotic, biotic, and cultural characteristics of ecosystems should be described;
which interactions among them should be emphasized; which stresses aect what ecosystem
characteristics and processes, in what ways (temporal and spatial occurrences of stress symptoms),
and to what degree; which ecosystem processes
are able to withstand extreme stress; and which
indicators best measure the short-and long-term
eects of these stresses. But while the ecosystem
approach examines a study area at the organizational level of the ecosystem, landscape ecology
focuses on spatial scales that are much larger than
those of traditional ecology, usually on the landscape scale from the human perspective.
The landscape-ecology approach extends the
interest in ecological functioning by attempting to
understand the spatial resolution and temporal
scale that is appropriate in examining patterns and
processes. Unlike the other approaches, it explores
how the spatial congurations of landscape elements and ecological objects aect function. From
landscape-ecology studies, we now know more
precisely how linear elements such as stream corridors serve as conduits for water, mineral nutrients, and species or as lters for the protection of
water quality. We are also better informed about
how patch size, shape, and edge inuence the
composition, amount, and diversity of interior
and edge plant and animal species.

Ecological Planning

The landscape-ecology approach also examines

the horizontal and vertical heterogeneity formed
by all land attributes. The other approaches stress
the vertical relationships within biophysical and
sociocultural elements in relatively homogenous
units, including the ecosystem-approach, with
which it shares so much. The assumption is that
horizontal relationships will be revealed through
an examination of the vertical elements. Yet the
horizontal relationspatches, corridors, matrices, or ecotopespossess distinctive characteristics and serve specic ecological functions.
The applied-landscape-ecology approach acknowledges that the structure of the whole landscape and the specic location of the tract of land
under consideration are more important than its
internal characteristics.24 Species, energy, and materials move across the patches, corridors, and matrix that make up the tract of land and into other
ones. Additionally, landscape change involving interacting abiotic, biotic, and cultural factors suggests that the tract of land must be examined in
relation to its context. The tracts formative processes, previous human inuence, and natural
disturbances also inuence its ability to sustain
prospective uses. Moreover, one direction of the
European branch of landscape ecology is toward
the classication and assessment of ecotope assemblages, combining as appropriate the procedures used in the landscape-suitability and ecosystem approaches.25
Except for the humanistic paradigm, assessments of landscape values and perception attempt
to identify aesthetic landscape units using physical, artistic, and psychological descriptors. Professionals and public groups judge the units based on
the preferences, values, and meanings assigned to
the descriptors or on their overall aesthetic quality.
The behavioral paradigm uses quantitative analytical techniques to link the judgments to descriptors in order to develop statistical models of preferences. In contrast, the humanistic paradigm
employs phenomenological explorations to un-

derstand peoples values and behavior, using qualitative techniques such as open-ended interviews
and reviews of literary and creative works.
The classication of landscape resources is one
important characteristic of all approaches. Some
LSA methods categorize the landscape into homogenous spatial units independent of the prospective land uses by using either a single criterion,
such as the NRCS soil survey or Littons visual
classication,26 or multiple criteria, such as the criteria in Hillss physiographic-unit scheme.27 The
classication methods in the other approaches do
the same. Examples in LSA include Holdridges
bioclimatic life zones,28 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
classication of wetlands,29 and LESA.30 In the
ecosystem approach they include compartment
ow,31 energy ux,32 and physiographic-bioticcultural site types.33 Illustrative examples in applied landscape ecology are the Canadian ecological land classication,34 the land facetland
systemmain landscape conguration,35 and the
patch-corridor-matrix scheme.36 While the LSA
approaches focus on the structural ecosystem
characteristics, the ecosystem and landscapeecology methods emphasize their interactions.
The applied-human-ecology approach also classies the landscape, but in a very general way, such
as in the geographer Wilbur Zelinskys vernacular
regions, which reect an embodiment of the spatial perceptions of indigenous people, and the geographer Donald Meinigs cultural regions, dened
in terms of cores, domains, and spheres,37 the core
being an extension of the anthropologist Julian
Stewards cultural-core concept (see chapter ).

All the ecological-planning approaches employ
both qualitative and quantitative techniques. If
there is a leaning toward one or the other, the
applied-ecosystem approach and landscape-ecology
approaches are biased toward quantitative tech-

Approaches to Ecological Planning

niques. The suitability and perception studies are

clearly divided, and the applied-human-ecology
approach favors qualitative analysis.
The inclination toward quantication is hardly
surprising; the scientic approach employed in the
natural and physical sciences often strives for objectivity, which requires that issues underlying a
phenomenon be made explicit. Scientic rigor is
strongly associated with the ability to organize
data around measurable units so that they can be
manipulated to make predictions about hypothesized relationships. The likelihood of obtaining
more accurate results is high as well. Proponents
of qualitative assessments, however, argue that the
complexity of ecosystems and the nature of social
values are not understood well enough to be reduced to precise mathematical formulas and equations. Even so, the rules used to derive the mathematical formulas are greatly inuenced by value
Advances in ecological sciences, information
and computer technologies, as well as geographical information systems in the past three decades
have led to an increased leaning toward describing
and analyzing the landscape in ways that facilitate
quantitative assessments. While a case can be
made for the dominance of quantitative assessments in the applied-ecosystem and landscapeecology approaches, I review qualitative ones as
well. The division is more obvious within landscape-ecological-planning studies. Being an interdisciplinary area of inquiry, the eld is dominated
by ecologists, geographers, landscape architects,
vegetation scientists, wildlife biologists, and so
forth. Since each professional brings the orientation of his or her disciplinary approach to problem
solving, there is a mix of quantitative and qualitative studies, though the former outnumber the
latter. For instance, at the sixteenth annual symposium of the U.S. Regional Association of the International Association of Landscape Ecology, in
, more than percent of the papers presented
were based on quantitative studies. The topics

ranged from quantitative modeling of vegetation

and animal-habitat patterns to qualitative descriptions of cultural and aesthetic issues in landscape
ecology. Monica Turner and Robert Gardners
Quantitative Methods in Landscape Ecology (), A.
Farinas Principles and Methods in Landscape Ecology
(), as well as Turner, Gardner, and Robert
ONeills Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice
() are testimonies to the dominance of quantitative methods in analyzing landscape heterogeneity in North American landscape-ecology
studies. These studies are oriented toward spatial
patterns and processes.
LSA methods use quantitative and qualitative assessments or combine them to ascertain suitability.
In general, when quantitative techniques are used
in suitability analysis, for example, in McHargs
Richmond Parkway study, Steinitzs Boston information system and Upper San Pedro Watershed
study, the METLAND model, and LUPLAN, the
computerized programming modules used by
many Australian planning agencies, a rating function is used to synthesize biophysical and sociocultural data to obtain a grand index of suitability. In
contrast, qualitative assessments involve allocation
rules judged by planners and landscape architects
to be suitable to the objectives of the project and to
the natural and cultural features of the landscape.38 In practice, most LSA studies involve both
quantitative and qualitative judgments.
The quantication of aesthetic values is largely
a philosophical question on which landscape values and perception scholars ercely disagree. Proponents of the professional paradigm are divided.
Most of them agree that qualitative descriptions
are useful when the primary objective is simply to
describe the appearance of landscapes, but they
disagree on whether the evaluation of their quality should be based on quantitative or qualitative
The behavioral paradigm assumes that quantication is not only feasible but necessary for accurate estimates of landscape preferences and

Ecological Planning

quality. Social and behavioral scientists have traditionally used quantitative analysis to evaluate similar values. G. Dearden and P. Miller asserted that
public perceptions can be related and, in fact, predicted from environmental attributes of a more
tangible nature.39
In contrast, humanists contend very strongly
that since judgments about peoples aesthetic values are inherently subjective in nature, the reasoning behind describing, weighing, comparing,
and aggregating them is inherently awed. We
know little about the interactions of the components of aesthetic values. Isolation of one component for further scrutiny is suspect, especially in
quantitative terms. Moreover, since landscape descriptors are dened subjectively, judgments about
aesthetic preferences and quality are likely to be
questionable when these subjectively dened categories are weighted and aggregated to build statistical models. Humanistic studies therefore favor
qualitative assessments and tend to be nonjudgmental.
The applied-human-ecology approach also relies mainly on qualitative assessments to examine
human-cultural processes. Numerous applications use a repertoire of techniques that include
key-informant interviews, participant observation, site reconnaissance, historical surveys, and
interpretations of literary and artistic works.
The information gained through these techniques
complements information obtained from social,
economic, and demographic proles and assessments typically gathered from census data. Because many human-ecological-planning studies
synthesize independent assessments of biophysical and human-cultural processes, the evaluation
of the biophysical component may involve quantitative and qualitative analysis.

The outputs of ecological-planning studies reect
the project goals, the type of approach, and the

functions performed. In classication methods

across the approaches the outputs are maps accompanied by explanatory text that display homogenous spatial units based on ecosystem characteristics, as in the LSA approaches, or based on
interactions, as in the ecosystem and landscapeecology approaches. In the LSA, the maps may
contain data on individual resources, such as soils
and vegetation, for example, maps generated using data from the NRCS soil survey or from the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife classication hierarchy of
wetlands and deepwater habitats; or on multiple
resources, such as maps using WMRTs layer-cake
model and Holdridges bioclimatic life-zones classication. The results from using the LSA classication methods usually include social, cultural,
and economic information, exemplied by LESA.
The outputs of the ecosystem and landscapeecology methods can only be based on multiple resources since by denition they focus on processes
rather than on structural characteristics.40 It follows also that the data in the maps can only be presented in an interpretive format, unlike the LSA
maps, which can be either interpretive (e.g., Hillss
physiographic-unit scheme, the NRCS soil maps,
and the Canadian land-inventory maps) or raw
(e.g., vegetation and wildlife eld surveys, which
provide baseline data that are interpreted later for
specic purposes).
The primary output of LSA resource surveyand-assessment methods is a series of maps or a
single composite map, often accompanied by text,
depicting the suitability of each tract of land for
single or multiple land uses. The allocation and
evaluation methods also provide information on
the rationale for selecting among competing suitability options. A part of the rationale is a statement of the environmental eects, as well as the
social costs and benets of each option. Additionally, the outputs of strategic suitability methods,
such as Steiners ecological method or the SIROPLAN method, include information on the programs, institutional arrangements, and resources

Approaches to Ecological Planning

required to implement the selected suitability option.

The results of human-ecological-planning studies are similar to those of suitability studies. The
dierence is that the suitabilities reect a gradient
of homogenous spatial areas where culturally preferred locations coincide with ecologically suitable
lands. Some studies, such as Berger and Sintons
work on the New Jersey Pinelands, also provide
detailed information on organizations and institutional arrangements required for implementation
since these are examined as a part of peoples
adaptive strategies.41
Ecosystem-planning studies present information in maps depicting spatial units, accompanied
by text. The specic outputs largely depend on
project goals and objectives since they address issues beyond the spatial allocation of land uses.
The goal may be to decrease non-source pollution,
42 to rehabilitate ecosystems43 to allocate land
uses,44 or to assess the eects of fragmentation on
animal populations.45 The outputs often include
one or more of the following: a description of
ecosystem quality and value to distinguish ecosystems that are valuable from those that may require
modications under management practices; the
rationale for selecting appropriate indicators for
evaluating ecosystem behavior; and a description
of the appropriate management goalsprotection (conservation, maintenance, or preservation), correction (restoration or rehabilitation),
exploitation (land-disturbing activities such as residential and commercial development), or a combination of these. The outputs of the holisticecosystem methods are similar to those of the
strategic suitability methods in that they include a
statement of the institutional arrangements and
resources for implementation.
Because the applied-landscape-ecology approach
does not yet have a substantial body of empirically
tested methods, the outputs are varied. Some are
similar to those of ecosystem-planning studies,
such as hydrological-modeling studies.46 Others

produce maps comparable to those resulting from

suitability studies, with accompanying texts that
explain landscape processes.47 Moreover, the products of methods such as LANDEP contain descriptions of the rationale for selecting the preferred
land-use allocation options and the mechanisms
for implementation.48
The outcomes of assessments of landscape
values and perception depend on the paradigm.
The professional paradigm provides statements
of visual preferences and quality. The behavioral
paradigm produces numerical estimates of preferences, quality, meanings, and other aective
responses to landscapes. The output of the humanist paradigm is somewhat similar to the outputs
of human-ecology studies, including statement
of tastes, ideas about beauty, valued landscapes,
and in general the experience of landscapes and
the accompanying changes in both people and
landscapes. The dierence is that the outcomes of
the humanistic paradigm are primarily oriented
toward advancing knowledge, while human ecology uses outputs as an input in ascertaining landscape suitability.
It is obvious that no single approach can address
all ecological problems. Each approach has its
strengths and weaknesses. Planners and landscape
architects can draw on the strong features of each
approach and ignore the less desirable aspects.
When the emphasis is on seeking the optimal
tness of human and other uses in the landscape, we turn to LSA and LSA . The earlier of
these, LSA , stressed natural factors. The signicant theoretical and methodological advances
in landscape-suitability methods since the early
s are reected in LSA . Important advances
were: embracing sociocultural information systematically in establishing the optimal uses of the
landscape; improving the technical validity of the
analytical operations; placing more emphasis on
ecological processes; increasing the scope of functions performed to include evaluation and imple-

Ecological Planning

mentation; and making the outputs more defensible in a public debate. Moreover, LSA methods
developed within the past twenty years have integrated innovations in information, remote-sensing,
and computer technologies, including visual simulation and geographic information systems, making them more powerful and ecient in storing,
processing, and displaying information. Sophisticated LSA methods address the six questions Carl
Steinitz proposed,49 as well as a seventh added by
me, that are essential in addressing problems of
any scale: How should the landscape be represented? How does the landscape function? Is the
landscape functioning well? How might the landscape be changed? What predictable dierences
might the changes cause? How should the landscape be changed? and How can the proposed
changes in the landscape become a reality.
LSA methods are arguably the most widely
used in ecological planning. They are capable of
addressing conservation and development issues
in urban, rural, and natural areas. Some methods
are tailored to deal with single-resource allocation
and management issues, such as the siting of a
highway corridor; others can address multipleresource issues. Moreover, they perform a wide
range of functions. The LSA gestalt method, for
instance, is useful in analyzing small tracts of land.
As the size of the parcel of land increases, it becomes more dicult to comprehend it fully in its
entirety. Gestalt analysis is integrated in most
ecological-planning methods. When the cost of
data collection is a limiting factor, planners and
designers may decide to use the landscape-unit
and landscape-classication method as a rst step
in establishing suitability.
When the evaluation of alternative landscape allocation options is a major consideration, allocationevaluation methods may serve the purpose. With
rapid advances in ecosystem sciences as well as in
information and computer technologies, the
models have become more sophisticated in terms
of the evaluative tasks they perform, as is evident

from the study of the upper San Pedro region conducted by Carl Steinitz and his colleagues. They
employed a series of process and analytical models to evaluate the eects of urban development
on the hydrological regime and biodiversity in the
region over the next twenty years. But LSA methods still examine ecological functions in a static
way except when the database has a strong dynamic component, as in the investigation of hydrological relations in the study for The Woodlands. Also, since the methods focus on tness for
human and other uses, landscape characteristics
that do not have direct use implications are often
neglected, unless the use is an objective of the
study, such as protecting biodiversity.
The human-ecology approach is especially useful when cultural matters are important. It provides an explicit way of understanding humancultural processes beyond the typical social and
economic analyses associated with most ecologicalplanning studies. One direction in its evolution
may be viewed as an extension of LSA to explicitly include human processes by way of adaptation
mechanisms and postures. The other emphasizes
the scrutiny of landscapes as places where human
values and experiences coincide with biophysical
processes. Unfortunately, this approach has not
evolved with the same theoretical rigor that characterizes the other approaches.
Recent ecological-planning literature rarely
uses the term human-ecological planning and design.
Instead, fashionable terms are employed even
though what is really meant is human-ecological
planning. Examples of substitute terms are humanecology bias, sustainable design, place making, focus
groups, historicism, and phenomenology. Human
ecology is still located in the margins of many disciplines. Additionally, while cultural adaptation
and similar concepts are useful in explaining humanenvironment interactions, their translation into
planning and design are somewhat cumbersome.
For example, ethnographic-survey and related
techniques are not mainstream techniques that

Approaches to Ecological Planning

planners and designers often use for data gathering and analysis. Planners may be concerned
about justifying the outputs in a public debate. A
related but important issue is that despite the
power of cultural-adaptation models to explain
how people use and adapt to the landscape, they
generalize about the spatial distribution of humancultural processes. Many planners and designers
nd place constructs very appealing, but as we
have seen, putting the constructs into practice has
occurred on a project-by-project basis. Consequently, the reliability and validity of the place
constructs are questionable.
The applied-ecosystem and applied-landscapeecology approaches bring more scientic rigor to
the examination of landscapes. They use a system
perspective to dene ecological problems. Moreover, their interest in examining the landscape in
terms of input-transformation-output relations
makes explicit the tracking of the specic eects
of human and natural disturbances on ecological
processes. Their emphasis on ecosystem quality
and response is important for suggesting appropriate management actions more systematically.
The landscape-ecology approach has additional
strengths. It reveals explicitly how the structure of
ecological systems changes along with relevant
functional processes; how these changes enable
ecosystems to develop identiable visual and cultural identity; and how ecological systems are
linked both vertically and horizontally through
the ow of nutrients, energy, and materials. The
approach can also be used to study large landscapes, such as the Columbia Basin. We are only
beginning to understand how the spatial congurations of landscape elements aect function. Perhaps the most denitive contributions of landscape ecology to planning are bridging concepts,
spatial frameworks for describing the functional
components of any landscape and explicit principles for creating sustainable spatial arrangements of the landscape. The principles seek to
maintain the ecological integrity of landscapes

characterized by natural levels of plant productivity; minimum disruption of the ows of nutrients,
energy, and species; increased soil productivity;
and sustained healthy aquatic communities.50
The applied-ecosystem approach is used mostly
in dealing with development, conservation, restoration, and rehabilitation concerns in urbanizing
and naturalrural landscapes. Landscape-ecological planning has been applied in similar settings,
including urban environments. In Europe applications have focused on ecological problems arising
from rapid intensication of land uses, which creates extreme competition for space among agriculture, forestry, industry, and urban development
and redevelopment. This is not surprising since
landscapes in Europe have long been dominated
or inuenced by humans. In contrast, applications
in North America focus on habitat-network planning and wildlife conservation in rural and natural
areas, with special emphasis on the conservation
of biological diversity and on sustainable land
use.51 Very few applications in urban areas are
documented, though the potential exists.
The Central ArizonaPhoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER), for instance, is a
promising research project that is likely to yield
data and information that planners and designers
can use in addressing ecological-planning issues in
urban areas. Led by Charles Redman and Nancy
Grimm, CAP LTER is a multifaceted study directed at understanding how the development patterns of the central Arizona and Phoenix area alter the areas ecological conditions, and vice versa.
it is one of the two long-term ecological sites
currently supported by the U.S. National Science
Foundation to study the city as a mosaic of interacting ecosystems; the other study is located in
Assessments of landscape values and perception are useful when human values, meanings, and
experiences are the major considerations. The paradigms dier on what aesthetic values should be
addressed, who should be involved in aesthetic

Ecological Planning

judgments, and how. The professional paradigm is

arguably the most widely used and documented,
but the results have low reliability and are less defensible in a public debate. Regardless of whether
qualitative or quantitative techniques are used,
their eectiveness is heavily dependent on the perceptions, technical expertise, and the sociocultural
conditioning of the evaluators.
The behavioral paradigm, with its emphasis on
objectivity and quantication, is usually subjected
to the rigorous tests of validity and reliability associated with the empirical methods of the social
and behavioral sciences. The humanistic paradigm
produces a rich source of qualitative information
about landscape values and preferences, but it has
low validity and reliability. The studies often take
a long time to complete, and the results may be
dicult to justify in a public debate. Generalization of the results for problem solving is restricted.
But since landscape perception is a continuum
without boundaries, many studies combine elements from dierent paradigms.
Because of the paradigms distinctive theoretical positions on human-landscape interactions,

which in turn are strongly aligned with the orientations of participating disciplines, it has been extremely dicult to articulate a unied theory of
landscape perception. This issue was raised twenty
years ago by Jay Appleton, and it is still very much
alive, despite concerted eorts to develop such a
theory. Zube and others remarked that when such
a theoretical foundation is lacking, questions of
why some landscapes are valued more than the
others and the signicance of those values remain
largely unanswered.52
The aesthetician Allen Carson adds that what
is needed is a theory that addresses very fundamental issues about human-landscape interactions.
Such a theory would simultaneously explain and
justify.53 Explanatory theory allows us to identify
things and state of things . . . and allows us to explain, predict, and control. Justication theory
provides us with a normative framework to clarify our ideas . . . formulate our positions, argue for
them, and justify them. If it does not dene our
position on things and their states, explanatory
theory will have nothing to explain.54 One thing
is certain: such a theory has not been formulated.


Thanks to increased legislation in the areas of environmental protection and resource management, globalization, as well as accelerated advances in scientic
knowledge and technology, we now have an impressive array of approaches,
methods, and techniques for ecological planning. In addition, over the past four
decades there has been increased public awareness about the undesirable eects
of human actions. Yet ecological problems continue to intensify at all spatial
scalesglobal, national, regional, local, and site. In numerous summits, conferences, and books we are constantly reminded of global warming, acidication,
overpopulation, degradation of unique plant and animal habitats, fragmentation
of landscapes, and the consequent erosion of biological diversity. John Lyle asserted that overall, environmental quality in the United States has not improved
dramatically improved since .1 In fact, life-support systems throughout the
world continue to degrade.
The roots of these problems have been widely debated, and solutions have been
oered. Issues debated range from humans ethical and moral positions toward
nature to fundamental social relationships and processes, such as the Western industrialized modes of economic production, to overpopulation, to technological
optimism. Discussions on ethical positions and social relationships are directly relevant to ecological-planning approaches.
The ecological-planning approaches are based on distinctive world views about
nature, which inform their denitions and solutions to ecological problems. The
suitability methods Ian McHarg presented in Design with Nature, for instance, suggest a view of the world that places humans within nature but at the same time

Ecological Planning

recognizes the pervasive inuence of the biological and physical environment on human behavior,
economic activity, and social organization. One
can argue that environmental-impact assessment
presumes technological optimism by relying on
technology to mitigate human actions in landscapes that are unavoidable. The optimism is
founded on the model of the rational-economic
person, who relies on the ability and eciency of
management to solve ecological problems.
Would the type, magnitude, and timing of allowable human actions be dierent if we did not have
faith in technological innovations, technical expertise, and adequate resources to provide adequate corrective actions? Probably.
In a strict sense, studies that rely on phenomenological investigations, such as in human ecology
and landscape perception, recognize the signicance of human intentions (will) toward the natural environment. In this world view of nature
each individual is unique with respect to his or her
relations toward the landscape and the values he
or she places on dierent attributes of the natural
and physical environment. David Pepper refers to
this ethical position as phenomenology, which he explained as follows: The emphasis is on the interdependence and variability of human intentions
. . . if we wish to study [the natural environment],
we can do so only by studying mans intention toward it and his consciousness of it, rather than trying to study it as some kind of external set of mechanical objects. . . . Nature, then, has no value or
rights of its own, without reference to man.2
Phenomenology is also implied in antipositivistic critiques of ecological-planning approaches.
Positivism, advanced by the philosopher Auguste
Comte, is the belief that the only knowledge held
by humans is made up of facts and their relations.3
Critics reject the notion that the landscape can be
objectively described and scientically evaluated
to develop landscapes that are meaningful.4 Positivism neglects the representative-expressiveaesthetic dimension essential in understanding the

inner structure and meanings of landscapes, especially at the micro scale, where people actually use
and experience the landscape.
Ecological-planning approaches also operate
within the framework of specic social, economic,
and political relationships. In England, for example, ecological planning is done by statute, enabling English planners to have more authority in
the decision-making processes.5 In the United
States, planning is a fragmented activity, and planners have limited statutory powers compared with
their European counterparts. This has largely inuenced ecological planning undertaken in the
United States. Statutory authority for planning has
immense ramications for how ecological planning is conducted worldwide.
Ecological planning is certainly one way to
solve the vexing conicts arising from the dialogue
between humans and nature. It may not solve all
of them, but it will go a long way. As Richard Forman put it, Indeed, spatial solutions exist. These
are spatial arrangement of ecosystems and land
uses that make ecological sense in any landscape
or region. Putting spatial solutions in place permits us to predict with some condence that biodiversity, soil, and water will be sustainably conserved for future generations. Every species, every
soil particle, and every spot of water will not be
protected or sustained. But the spatial patterns
will conserve the bulk of attributes, as well as the
important ones.6
In my view, if we are to meet eectively this
challenge posed by Forman, we must adopt or
rearm an explicit ethical framework that embraces environmental and aesthetic values, ask the
appropriate questions for addressing the object of
interest, and then draw upon and adapt the strong
features of each approach as needed, abandoning
the less desirable ones.
Aldo Leopolds land ethic is relevant here. In his
ethic humans are placed within nature, not superior or inferior to it but plain member[s] and citizen[s] of the biotic community.7 According to


Leopolds ethic, we do the right thing when we

preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the
biotic community.8 Leopold believed that we
should be caring members of the community,
that humans have an obligation and responsibility
to ensure its continued existence.
Flowing from this ethical position is the need to
understand the world around us in terms of relationships that embrace an appreciation of the aesthetic beauty of the biotic community. Indeed, understanding reality in terms of relationships is the
essence of ecology. I am suggesting that we adopt
ecology as a way of knowing, which forces ecological-planning professionals to scrutinize explicitly the linkages between biophysical and sociocultural processes at all spatial and temporal
scales. A historical perspective is especially important because it compels planners to explore the historical forces that dictate landscape evolution, including human abuses of landscapes, and to adopt
regenerative mechanisms that use the ows of
materials, energy, and species as the operational
base for replenishing the landscape continuously.
According to Lyle, Regeneration has to do with
rebirth of life itself, thus with hope for the future.9
Ecological thinking also takes the consciousness of planners and designers to a higher level,
enabling them to appreciate and better understand the intricate web of interactions between
human and natural processes. People, a rock outcrop, and wildowers all come to be understood
as integral, interdependent parts of a larger system, at varying scales. In ecological thinking and
understanding, the distinction between I and they
breaks down. Ecological thinking also presumes
that ecological planners are limited in their ability
to understand the intricacies of human and natural processes. It follows that ecological planning
should always be viewed as a participatory
process, involving the inhabitants of a place in a
meaningful way. Ecological plans, whenever they
are developed, become the by-product of the

process. Such plans are likely to express the intricacies of interrelationship between people and the
landscape. Participation thus becomes a central
feature of ecological thinking. As Stephen Kaplan
pointed out, Participatory design [and planning]
fosters a better understanding of community and
is in itself a reection of ecological processes
evolving towards higher forms.10
Understanding the beauty of the biotic community is an integral part of ecological knowing.
It touches on the broader realm of human values,
perceptions, and experiences, which many have argued are crucial in creating socially responsible
and sustainable, ecologically sound landscape congurations. To be eective in regenerating and
sustaining the biotic community, we rst have to
appreciate its inherent beauty. As George Thompson and Frederick Steiner remarked in Ecological
Design and Planning, The best designs are those
that harmonize aesthetic form and ecological
function.11 But Leopold reminded us that the appreciation of beauty is a learned behavior. Most
people see only the surface of things, so that
the incredible intricacies of plant and animal
communitiesthe intrinsic beauty of the organism called America may still be invisible and incomprehensible to many.12 Teaching the public
to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of the landscape,
therefore, is another important dimension of ecological knowing.
I propose that these ideas that emerge from
Leopolds land ethic and, by extension, the notion
of ecological knowing are principles that should
inform any ecological-planning endeavor. To put
these ideas into practice, ecological-planning-anddesign professionals should rst ask the appropriate questions in addressing the object of interest,
questions similar to those Carl Steinitz proposed
for dealing with any type of problem, and then
adopt the strong, workable features of all the approaches as needed13. It is crucial to make sure
that the features selected work together in the
kind of harmony that emerges from a jazz com-

Ecological Planning

position. Its plurality of ideas, methods, and techniques is an inherent and admirable characteristic
of ecological planning. Indeed, ecological planning
blends workable ideas from all the approaches.
Fundamentally, ecological planning is more

than an approach or a method. It is a world view

for managing our relations with the land to ensure
that the ability of future generations of the biotic
community to meet their needs is not sacriced
by current human actions.


. The Club of Rome is a group of eminent educators, economists, scientists, industrialists, and public ocials who came together under the leadership of the Italian industrialist
Arillio Peccei to discuss the future of humankind. Eugene Odum, the prominent ecologist
at the University of Georgia, in Athens, noted that Meadows, Meadows, and Behrens,
Limits of Growth, used a modern systems approach to pursue arguments similar to those
made in classics by such works as Marsh, Man and Nature; and Vogt, Road to Survival.
. World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future.
. Toth, Contribution of Landscape Planning to Environmental Protection, .
. Steinitz et al., Comparative Study of Resource Analysis Methods, .
. This is, of course, a topic that has been explored by others, although not in the manner I approach it. Comparing a wide range of ecological-assessment approaches is dicult in part because their formats dier. Most evaluations usually focus on subcategories
within a major approach, for example, the suitability analysis, or they emphasize techniques for analyses. Those that focus on a few individual approaches include Belknap and
Furtado, Three Approaches to Environmental Resource Analysis; idem, Hills, Lewis, McHarg
Methods Compared, ; Steiner, Resource Suitability; and Diamond, Comparative Approaches in Lake Management Planning.
A majority of the comparisons have been largely directed at rening the suitability
methods, including that proposed by Ian McHarg in Design with Nature. Representative
works include: Jacobs, Landscape Development in the Urban Fringe; Giliomee, Ecological Planning; Rose, Steiner, and Jackson, Applied Human Ecological Approach to
Regional Planning; Roberts, Randolph, and Chiesa, Land Suitability Model for the
Evaluation of Land-Use Change; Laird et al., Quantitative Land-Capability Analysis;
McHarg, Human Ecological Planning at Pennsylvania; and, Sandhu and Foster, Landscape Sensitive Planning.

Notes to Pages

The most comprehensive assessment of a wide variety of methods is Steinitz et al., Comparative Study of
Resource Analysis Methods. However, the assessment focused only on resource-suitability methods. Another
comprehensive assessment of techniques for generating land-suitability maps is Hopkins, Methods for
Generating Land Suitability Maps. Other comparative
evaluations of many methods include: Slocombe, Environmental Planning, Ecosystem Science, and Ecosystem Approaches for Integrating Environment and Development; Briassoulis, Theoretical Orientations in
Environmental Planning; McAllister, Evaluation in Environmental Planning; Nichols and Hyman, Evaluation
of Environmental Assessment Methods; Lee, Ecological Comparison of the McHarg Method with
Other Planning Initiatives in the Great Lakes Basin;
and Wathern et al., Ecological Evaluation Techniques.
In the eld of landscape perception and assessment
the notable comparative works include: Arthur,
Daniel, and Boster, Scenic Assessment; Porteous,
Approaches to Environmental Aesthetics; Zube, Sell,
and Taylor, Landscape Perception; Zube, Themes
in Landscape Assessment Theory; and, Schauman,
Countryside Scenic Assessment.
. Leopold, Sand County Almanac, .
. Alexander Pope, quoted in Steiner, Landscape
Planning; Plato, quoted in MacKaye, Regional Planning and Ecology, .
. Steiner, Living Landscape, .
. In his classic book The Primitive World and Its
Transformation the anthropologist Robert Redeld
dened world-view as the way people characteristically look upon their world. In the context of
ecological planning the notion of world-view can
be extended to include the way people view the
relations between humans and natural processes,
which provides the basis for appropriate social conduct.
. Carl Steinitz, at Harvard, suggests a series of
questions to conceptualize these activities: How
should the landscape be represented? How does the
landscape function? Is the landscape functioning well?
How might the landscape be changed? What predictable dierences might the changes cause? How
should the landscape be changed? (Steinitz, Landscape Change). I add a seventh question because implementation is an important activity in ecological
planning: How can the proposed change in the landscape become a reality?

. Steiner, Living Landscape, .

. The suitability method developed by Ian McHarg
and his colleagues and students has been the subject of
many reviews. For some negative reviews, see Litton
and Kieieger, Book Review on Design with Nature;
and Gold, Design with Nature: A Critique.
. T. D. Galloway and R. G. Mahayni used Kuhns
idea of a paradigm to explain developments in the
planning profession, which in many ways are similar to
those in landscape planning (Galloway and Mahayni,
Planning Theory in Retrospect). They discussed the
diculties in adopting Kuhns framework to explore
the evolution of an applied eld such as planning and
concluded that it was a useful framework. See also
Rosenberg, Emerging Paradigm for Landscape Architecture; Rosenberg used Kuhns framework to focus
thinking and research in landscape architecture during
the s.
. Kuhn asserted that scientic communities pass
through phases in which () there is no consensus on a
central body of ideas or paradigm to guide the community; () there is some agreement on a paradigm; ()
the paradigm constitutes the basis for research and
problem solving in the community; () there is an
awareness of things the paradigm cannot explain or resolve; and () attempts are made to formulate alternative paradigms.
. The knowledge base used in landscape architecture is drawn from the natural, physical, and social
sciences, as well as from the creative arts. The artistic
nature of landscape architecture may help to explain
the discrepancies between the phases of paradigm
development proposed by Kuhn and those I have identied for ecological planning.
. Kuhn, Structure of Scientic Revolutions, .
. For an excellent account of the history of American environmental thought, see Nash, American Environment.
. Catlin, Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs,
and Conditions of North American Indians, :.
. Thoreau, Walden, .
. Other notable examples of Olmsteds works are
the designs for Prospect Park in Brooklyn (),
South Park in Chicago (), Franklin Park in Boston
(), and the Columbian Exposition in Chicago

Notes to Pages

. Since Olmsted advocated understanding the landscape from ecological and aesthetic perspectives, it is
useful to comment on his ideas about aesthetics and
landscapes. Olmsteds aesthetic philosophy was rooted
in the English landscape-gardening tradition, a clear
departure from the highly formal European tradition.
Notable proponents of the English landscape gardening tradition include William Gilpin, Uvedale Price,
and Humphrey Repton. In his Remarks on Forest Scenery
and Other Woodland Views () Gilpin pointed out that
natural scenery was the primary factor that distinguished one region or locality from the other. He argued for its preservation and enhancement. In addition, Gilpin made a clear distinction between two
competing design styles: the pastoral (nished and
beautiful) and the picturesque (irregular and wild).
Gilpins ideas on scenery enhancement were a departure from those proposed by the English landscape
designer and painter Lancelot Capability Brown,
who advocated the enhancement of scenery through
modications to the landscape to reveal the topography and create simple and owing forms. Uvedale
Price expanded upon Gilpins ideas on the distinctions
between the pastoral and the picturesque in his Essay
on the Picturesque (). He located the essence of the
picturesque in the physical characteristics of the landscape. While the writings of Gilpin and Price inuenced much of the aesthetic theory of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, their ideas did not
produce a picturesque tradition of landscape design.
In a series of articles and books, including Sketches
and Hints on Landscape Gardening (), Humphrey
Repton expanded upon the ideas advocated by Capability Brown. However, he oered a more exible and
subtle approach to the enhancement of scenery, relying on both the natural and the architectural features
of a site to create subtle massings and to achieve
unity in the treatment of spaces. By the s the famous nurseryman from New York, Andrew Jackson
Downing, was promoting the adaptation of the English landscape-design tradition to the United States,
which he documented in A Treatise on the Theory and
Practice of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America (). Downing stressed the preservation and enhancement of scenery, though he provided very little
guidance on how to translate his ideas into practice.
Similar attempts to adapt the English landscapedesign tradition to the United States include J. C.
Loudons Suburban Gardener () and H. W. S. Clevelands Landscape Architecture as Applied to the Wants of

the West (). Olmsted subtly combined the ideas

rooted in the pastoral and picturesque traditions in his
works, although he was primarily concerned with revealing a sites intrinsic natural qualities. For Olmsted,
the site was the park, emphasized earlier in the writings of Catlin and Thoreau as a source of spiritual
healing that counteracted the dehumanizing aspects
of city life.
. Wood, Extended Garden Metaphor, .
. Marsh, Man and Nature.
. Ibid., .
. Powell, Reports of the Lands of the Arid Region of
the United States, viii.
. Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow.
. Muir, Yosemite.
. Eliot, Charles Eliot, Landscape Architect, .
. G. Pinchot, Breaking New Ground (New York:
Harcourt, Brace, & World, ), cited in Roderick,
American Environmentalism, .
. W. J. McGee, quoted in ibid.
. Landscape or ecological planning was an integral
part of the profession of landscape architecture until
. The division corresponded with two major
events. First, many landscape architects moved away
from designing parks and large open spaces to working on private estates, such as the Biltmore Estate. Second, there was disagreement among landscape architects regarding the appropriateness of the natural style
to site-specic residential design. Two contrasting
styles emerged in the planning and design of landscapes: the natural style, espoused by Frederick Law
Olmsted and his followers, and formal geometry, based
on Renaissance architecture, promoted by the landscape painter Charles Platt and the architect Richard
Morris Hunt. Formal geometry emphasized simple,
rectilinear spaces connected by strong long axes and
. Peter Towbridge, at Cornell University, used the
term trial and error techniques to describe a way of analyzing landscapes that relied primarily on common
sense and experience (Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology [], ).
. National Park Act of , U.S. Statutes at Large
(): .
. Kuhn, Structure of Scientic Revolution, .
. I rely mainly on two primary sources for my discussion of the development of the overlay technique:
McHargs account of the pioneering eorts of Charles
Eliot in developing overlays using sun prints in the late
nineteenth century, To Heal the Earth, ; and

Notes to Pages

Steinitz, Parker, and Jordans account of subsequent

development and use of the overlay technique, HandDrawn Overlays.
. While the development of the overlay technique
was a milestone in the evolution of ecological-planning
methods, other developments were also important.
Aerial photography, a well-known source of data in
ecological-planning studies, was rst used in geographical studies in . In the geographer Carl
Sauer provided theoretical rigor in analyzing landscapes when he published the article Morphology of
Landscape, in which he proposed a morphological
method of spatial analysis for natural and cultural
landscapes. In C. Marbut presented one of the
rst soil-classication systems at the International
Congress of Soil Science. Soil classication was an
early method for analyzing landscapes. These developments were cited in Bryant, New Model of Landscape Planning.
. Geddes, Cities in Evolution, .
. Weaver, Regional Development and the Local Community, , provides an excellent account of regionalism.
. Ibid., . Weaver argues that the weakness of
the regional-planning movement was the failure by
members of the RPAA to integrate the issues of class
relations and contradictions in their formulation of regionalism, a fundamental characteristic of capitalist industrial societies. One outcome was that the RPAA
adopted an organic and unrealistic view of the region
that led to an acceptance of government as a disinterested arbiter of regional problems ().
. The Southern Regionalists, led by the University
of North Carolina sociologist Howard Odum, promoted another form of regionalism. Primarily concerned with underdevelopment in the South, the
Southern Regionalists advanced the notion of regional reconstruction, which focused on autonomous institutional building, education, and resource development at the regional level (ibid.,
. Odum, Ecology and Our Endangered Life-Support
. Quinby, Contribution of Ecological Science to
the Development of Landscape Ecology.
. Ibid., .
. Although the concept of ecological succession
was rst described by Europeans (especially Warming)
in , the pioneering work in the eld was by
Clements and Gleason.

. Grese, Jens Jensen, .

. Friedmann, Planning in the Public Domain, .
. See Weaver, Regional Development and the Local
Community, .
. Kuhn, Structure of Scientic Revolutions, .
. I rely heavily on Golley, History of the Ecosystem
Concept in Ecology, for my overview of the evolution of
the ecosystem concept. Golley pointed out that another important aspect of the ecosystem concept was
that it united the works of two opposing groups: plant
ecologists, who emphasized the importance of hierarchical division among individual stands of vegetation,
and those who stressed the life history and maturity of
vegetation stands.
. More specically, Lindeman applied the energy
approach to demonstrate how to convert the biomass
(living weight of species) into energy units, how to describe the annual production of food crops in terms of
trophic (feeding) levels, such as those of producers and
consumers, and how to determine the eciency of energy transfer between trophic levels (Trophic Dynamic Aspect of Ecology).
. Quinby, Contribution of Ecological Science to
the Development of Landscape Ecology, .
. Golley, History of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology,
, quotation on .
. MacKaye, New Exploration.
. MacKaye, Regional Planning and Ecology, .
. Leopold, Sand County Almanac, .
. McKenzie, Pinelands Scenic StudySummary Report.
. Mumford, Culture of Cities, .
. Ibid., .
. Ibid., .
. John Dewey, quoted in Friedmann, Planning in
the Public Domain, .
. Graham, Natural Principles in Land Use.
. Vogt, Road to Survival.
. Sears, Ecology of Man.
. Odum, Fundamentals of Ecology, .
. APRR, Town and County Planning Textbook,
. Steinitz, Parker, and Jordan, Hand-Drawn Overlays, .
. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientic Revolution, .
. Thomas, Mans Role in Changing the Face of the
. The period between the mid-s and the mids corresponded with the transition from the industrial to the postindustrial era in the United States (Bell,

Notes to Pages

Coming of the Post Industrial Society). This period was

characterized by political and economic turbulence
and disenchantment. In a postindustrial era more
people are employed in services and proportionately
fewer are employed in industry. In Planning in the Era
of Social Revolution, Betram Gross argued that this
transition was marked by uneven technological development, changing institutional structures, and social
While the pace of technological development accelerated, most of the development emphasized technologies that enhanced opportunities for prot and
material benets, such as outerspace exploration.
There was very little progress in technology related to
education, housing, and community development.
Changing institutional structures created fragmentation, deepening crisis, and rising expectations. The
fragmentation was expressed in many areas, including
the traditional bonds that held the family together,
professionalism, and social roles.
In speaking of a deepening crisis I refer to the fact
that the past could no longer serve as a guide for the
future. There was no obvious symbols of responsible
authority. The erosion of authority began with the
family and extended into the economic and political
spheres. The rise in expectations was primarily focused
on a better and more equitable distribution of benets.
In addition, social protests coincided with the political
crisis that marked the shift to postindustrialism. The
major protests included the environmental movement,
against deteriorating ecological health; the civil rights
movement and the movement for minority rights,
against various forms of social injustice; the leftist
movement, focusing on political corruption; and the
womens movement, demanding the liberation of
women from centuries of imprisonment in social roles
based on assumptions of their biological inferiority.
. Commoner, Science and Survival.
. Ehrlich, Population Bomb.
. Thomas, Mans Role in Changing the Face of the
. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful; Capra, Turning
Point. While scholars such as Schumacher and Capra
argued for fundamental changes in the management
of nite resources, many others have complete condence in the ability of new technology to manage the
worlds resources. The well-known spokespersons for
the latter view include H. Kahn, W. Brown, and
L. Martel in The Next Years and the economist
J. Simon in The Ultimate Resource.

. Blake, Gods Own Junkyard; Tunnard and

Pushkarev, Man-Made America; Nairn, American Landscape.
. Ridd, Multiple Use.
. L. B. Johnson, Natural BeautyMessage from
the President of the United States, Congressional
Record, th Cong., st sess., , , pt. : , discussed in Nash, American Environment, .
. Federal Water Pollution Act of , U.S. Statutes at
Large (): .
. National Environmental Policy Act of , U.S.
Statutes at Large (): .
. In Britain, for example, ecological planning was
a spino of controlling development to improve social
and economic conditions. The legislative support was
provided through a series of acts of Parliament, including the Countryside Act of , the Nature Conservancy Act of , the Land Drainage Act of ,
the Local Government, Planning and Land Act of
, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act of . Initially, much work on ecological planning Britain in the
s was restricted to identifying the scenic quality of
landscapes. When other landscape resources were addressed in local planning documents, they were treated
as individual entities. Thus, integrated ecological planning rarely exists in Britain.
In Landscape Planning and Environmental Sustainability Anne Beer pointed out that the apparent lack
of integrated planning in Britain resulted from the
dierent interpretation of the phrase landscape planning there. In Britain the landscape is interpreted as
scenery; thus, landscape planning is interpreted as
planning for the visual aspects of land use. In contrast, ecological planning is fully integrated into the
legislative and institutional context of planning in
countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. For
example, the legislative basis for ecological planning in
Germany is the Landeskulturgesetz, which provides
guidelines used by each town and district in developing
ecological plans. In the Netherlands the Reallotment
Act, which was superseded in by the Land Development Act, provides the key legislative framework for
ecological planning.
. Hills, Ecological Basis for Land-Use Planning.
. Hopkins, Methods for Generating Land Suitability Maps, .
. Lewis, Quality Corridors for Wisconsin.
Lewiss study of the upper Mississippi River was another signicant piece of work in landscape planning
during the mid-s.

Notes to Pages

. McHarg, Design with Nature, .

. Glikson, Ecological Basis of Planning.
. Kuhn, Structure of Scientic Revolutions, .
. World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, .
. The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resource
Act of and the National Forest Management Act
of focused on the management of public lands.
They called for the management of landscape resources, including aesthetics, using an interdisciplinary
. Bosselman and Callies, Quiet Revolution in Land
Use Control.
. Frank Golley, interview by author, Athens, Ga.,
March .
. Bormann and Likens, Nutrient Cycling. Although Bormann and Likenss work was a useful experiment in using ecological modeling, ecologists began to question the usefulness of ecological modeling
in describing whole ecological systems and producing
testable hypothesis. Other theories emerged that surpassed the ecosystem concept as the dominant theory
in ecological studies. For instance, a renewed interest
in evolutionary ecology was propelled by the works of
V. C. Wynee-Edwards (see Animals Dispersion in Relation to Social Behavior; for a more thorough discussion
of the competition between ecosystem and evolutionary ecology, see Golley, History of the Ecosystem Concept
in Ecology, ).
. Swank and Crossley, Forest Hydrology and Ecology
at Coweeta; Schindler et al., Long-Term Ecosystem
. Odum, Strategy of Ecosystem Development.
. Golley, History of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology,
. Friedmann, Retracking America.
. MacDougall, Accuracy of Map Overlays.
. Hopkins, Methods for Generating Land Suitability Maps.
. McHarg and Sutton, Ecological Planning for
the Texas Coastal Plain, .
. In Design with Nature: A Critique Andrew Gold
argued that the McHarg method relied solely on nature as the framework within which human decisions
must be made. Yet, the ultimate decisions regarding
the use of the landscape are based on externalities, including the supply of land and economic and political
realities. Consequently, stated Gold, the McHargian
method fails to recognize that it is intrinsic suitability
in conjunction with the values people place on the use

of intrinsically suitable land that should determine the

correct allocation ().
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology
in Theory and Practice, .
. B. J. Lee discussed nine projects using concepts
about ecosystem structure and processes and compared them with the application of the McHarg
method in Torontos Central Waterfront planning
study (Lee, Ecological Comparison of the McHarg
Method with Other Planning Initiatives in the Great
Lake Basin).
. Forman and Godron, Landscape Ecology.
. Zonneveld, Scope and Concepts of Landscape
Ecology, .
. Berger and Sinton, Water, Earth, and Fire, .
. Zube, Landscape Meaning, Assessment, and
. Berger and Sinton, Water, Earth, and Fire, xvii.
. Ndubisi, Variations in Value Orientation.
. Kuhns framework is instructive in explaining the
evolution of landscape planning, but it provides no basis for speculating on scenarios for its continuing evolution.
. McAllister, Evaluation in Environmental Planning,
. Lyle, Design for Human Ecosystems.
. Hopkins, Methods for Generating Land Suitability Maps, .
. American College Dictionary, ed.
. Brady, Nature and Properties of Soils, ; Laird et
al., Quantitative Land-Capability Analysis, ; U.S. Congress, National Forest System Land and Resource
Management Planning.
. American College Dictionary, ed.
. Hopkins, Methods for Generating Land Suitability Maps, .
. Websters Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary,
. Passons, Gestalt Approaches to Counseling, .
. Dewey, Experience and Nature, .
. Hopkins, Methods for Generating Land Suitability Maps, .
. The Soil Conservation Service (SCS), originally
the Soil Erosion Service, was established by the
Franklin Roosevelt administration in in response
to the disastrous drought that struck the Great Plains.

Notes to Pages

In it became a permanent agency under the Soil

Conservation Act.
. Soil surveys were conducted in the United States
by . During the next twenty-ve years the purpose
was to supply maps showing soil selection for determining which rural lands could be used for growing
crops, grasses, and trees. By the mid-s empirical
studies of selected engineering properties of soils were
initiated largely through the eorts of the Michigan
State Highway Department. Research on integrating
the engineering properties of soils to soil behavior
continued, and the integration was established by the
end of World War II, paving the way for the use of soil
surveys in planning and resource management. One of
the earliest soil surveys prepared specically for planning purposes took place in Fairfax County, Virginia
(Kellogg, Soil Survey for Community Planning).
. Ibid., .
. Steiner, Resource Suitability, .
. P. E. Davis, L. T. Lerch, N. S. Steiger, J. T. Andrus, and G. Boltrell, Soil Survey of Montgomery County,
Ohio (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, ), cited in Steiner,
Resource Suitability, .
. In the Chester County Planning Commission, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, published one of
the rst extensive planning documents to make use of
the NSCS classication in estimating landscape suitability, especially for urban and agricultural development (Chester County Planning Commission, Natural
Environment and Planning).
. Hills, Ecological Basis for Land-Use Planning.
. Coombs and Thie, Canadian Land Inventory
. Hills, Ecological Basis for Land-Use Planning, .
. Ibid., .
. Lewis, Recreation and Open Space in Illinois; State
of Wisconsin, Department of Resource Development,
Recreation in Wisconsin. Philip Lewis was a consultant
for the latter study.
. Lewis, Quality Corridors for Wisconsin, .
. Ecological corridors may comprise abovesurface patterns, such as weather, odor, and noise;
surface patterns, such as ood and natural areas; or
below-surface patterns, such as aquifer-recharge areas,
ground-water sources, and mud slides.
. Lewis, Ecology, .
. Belknap and Furtado, Three Approaches to Environmental Resource Analysis, .
. Many of the projects were conducted by

McHarg and his colleagues and students in partnership

with Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and Todd and with its
predecessor, Wallace-McHarg Associates, based in
Philadelphia. A complete listing of the projects, compiled by Frederick Steiner, can be found in McHargs
autobiography, A Quest for Life. The Wallace-McHarg
Associates projects were published as Inner Harbor Master Plan, for the city of Baltimore (); and Plan for the
Valley, for the Green Spring and Worthington Valley
Planning Council (). The Wallace, McHarg,
Roberts, and Todd projects were published as Ecological Study for Twin Cities Metropolitan Region, Minnesota,
prepared for the Metropolitan Council of the Twin
Cities Area (); An Ecological Study for the Future Public Improvement of the Borough of Richmond (Staten Island), for the City of New York Oce of Staten Island
Development, Borough President of Richmond and
Park, Recreation, and Cultural Aairs Administration
(); Least Social Cost Corridor Study for Richmond
Parkway, New York, for the New York Department of
Parks and Recreation (); Towards a Comprehensive
Landscape Plan for Washington, D.C., prepared for the
National Capital Planning Commission (); American Institute of Architects Task Force on the Potomac
( ); and A Comprehensive Highway Route Selection
Method Applied to I- between the Delaware and Raritan
Rivers, for the Princeton Committee on I- ().
. In an article published in Lynn White expanded upon McHargs views about the causes of
our ecological crises and argued that the attitudes of
Western societies and their traditions of technology
and science were rooted in the Judeo-Christian dogma
of creation. According to White, Man named all the
animals thus establishing dominance over them . . . no
item in the physical creation had any purpose save to
serve mans purpose. Christianitys insistence on
dominance over nature is largely to blame for the current ecological crises. By implication, the solution to
the crises must be largely religious, whether or not we
refer to it as such (White, Historical Roots of Our
Ecological Crisis). Nancy Denig, on the other hand,
argued that the exploitation of nature by humans was
a matter of choice rather than religion since humans
have a free will. She said that Judeo-Christian theology
holds that man is called into a sacred relationship
with nature that is lodged in dominion, stewardship,
and convenantal co-existence (Denig, On Values Revisited).
. McHarg, Ecological Determinism, .
. McHarg, Design with Nature, .

Notes to Pages

. McHarg, Ecological Determinism, .

. McHarg, Design with Nature, .
. Hopkins refers to the quantitative version of
McHargs method used in these studies as an ordinal
combination method to suggest the underlying logic of
combining factors using overlays (Hopkins, Methods
for Generating Land Suitability Maps).
. Christian, Concept of Land Units and Land Systems.
. Zube and Carlozzi, Inventory and Interpretation
Selected Resources of the Island of Nantucket.
. Zube, The IslandsSelected Resources of the United
States Virgin Islands.
. Toth, Criteria for Evaluating Natural Resources of
the TIRAC Region.
. For examples of computer technology employed
in ecological planning, see Steinitz, Computers and Regional Planning; Steinitz and Rogers, System Analysis
Model of Urbanization and Change; and Steinitz, Enviromedia Inc., and Roger Associates Inc., Natural Resource
. See above, n. .
. Gordon and Gordon, Accuracy of Soil Survey
Information for Urban Land-Use Planning.
. McAllister, Evaluation in Environmental Planning,
. This issue was examined extensively in Lees
comparison of McHargs method with many planning
initiatives in the Great Lakes Basin (see Lee, Ecological Comparison of the McHarg Method with Other
Planning Initiatives in the Great Lakes Basin).
. R. Dorney, at the University of Waterloo, in
Canada, argued that landscape evolution is driven by
ve forces: institutional, social, technological, economic, and ecological (Professional Practice of Environmental Management).
. Gold, Design with Nature: A Critique, .
. Odum, Ecology and Our Endangered Life-Support
Systems, .
. Many practitioners and researchers in the eld of
outdoor recreation have been very active in interpreting and applying the concept of carrying capacity. As
Steiner observed, they work with forest and range
ecologists and are very familiar with ecological terms.
In addition, they are faced continuously with balancing
the demand for recreational uses with the potential

negative consequences that arise from using recreational areas (Steiner, Resource Suitability). In the
eld of urban planning, D. Schneider and his colleagues interpreted carrying capacity as the critical
threshold beyond which development will threaten
public health, safety, or welfare unless needed changes
are made in public investment, infrastructure, policy,
or human behavior (Schneider, Goldschalk, and Axler,
Carrying Capacity Concept as a Planning Tool).
. Catton, Worlds Most Populous Polymorphic
. McHargs colleagues and students include many
prominent individuals in landscape architecture and
planning: Jon Berger, Charles Brandis, Michael Clarke,
Thomas Dickert, Carol Franklin, Colin Franklin, Meir
Gross, David Hamme, Bob Hanna, Lewis Hopkins,
Michael Hough, Narendra Juneja, Bruce MacDougall,
Jack McCormick, Charles Meyer, Laurie Olin, Bill
Roberts, Carol Reifsnyder, Leslie Sauer, Anne Spirn,
Frederick Steiner, and Dick Toth.
. Lyle, Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development; Franklin, Fostering Living Landscapes; Sauer,
Once and Future Forest.
. Dorney, Professional Practice of Environmental Management, .
. Friedmann, Planning in the Public Domain, .
. Simon, Sciences of the Articial.
. Young et al., Determining the Regional Context
of Landscape Planning, .
. Steiner, Landscape Planning.
. Lewis Hopkins was a student at Pennsylvania
and later was a member of the landscape-architecture
faculty at the University of Illinois before becoming
chair of the planning department. MacDougall was on
McHargs faculty at Pennsylvania before becoming
chair of the University of Massachusetts Department
of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.
. Hopkins, Methods for Generating Suitability
Maps. Steinitz and his Harvard colleagues examined
the history, technical validity, and eciency of information management in using hand-drawn overlays in
suitability analysis. He recommended a weighted technique for analyzing the relationships among landscape
characteristics. The data on each landscape characteristic (e.g., soil) and its subvariables (e.g., soil depth, soil
drainage) should be stored on a separate le to enable
selective recall as needed.
Regardless of whether the determination of suitability involves the use of computers or hand-drawn
techniques, this manner of storing information pro-

Notes to Pages

vides exibility and enhanced eciency (see Steinitz,

Parker, and Jordan, Hand-Drawn Overlays). MacDougall reviewed the accuracy of the types of information typically used in conducting suitability analyses, such as on soils and vegetation. He identied the
limitations of some sources of data, such as soil maps,
and the inaccuracy resulting from combining many
maps using hand-drawn overlays; for instance, when
there are more than three or four overlays the maps
become opaque (MacDougall, Accuracy of Map
. Ingmire and Patri, Early Warning System for
Regional Planning.
. Juneja, Medford; Steiner and Theilacker, Whitman
County Rural Housing Feasibility Study.
. Ndubisi, Ecological Sensitivity Study for Richard B.
Russell Lake.
. Meyers, Kennedy, and Sampson, Information
Systems for Land Use Planning.
. Steiner, Resource Suitability, .
. Several planners and landscape architects have
proposed schemes for sorting the methods into major
groupings. Fabos, for example, organizes them based
on whether landscape characteristics can be described
as parameters to facilitate quantitative analysis (Planning the Total Landscape). The planner Donald McAllister distinguished between quantitative and qualitative
methods for suitability analysis (Evaluation in Environmental Planning).
Steinitz views the relationship between facts and
values and their uses as the basic concern of design
processes (LSA methods). The degree to which LSA
methods distinguish between facts and values was the
prime consideration for his classication, tempered by
issues such as scale, time, complexity, and participation
(Defensible Processes for Regional Landscape Design).
For Lyle, the prime considerations are the manner
in which natural and cultural characteristics of the
landscape are analyzed and the specic functions the
methods are designed to perform (Design for Human
Ecosystems). Lastly, Hopkinss classication focused primarily on how the methods describe and analyze natural and cultural data (Methods for Generating Land
Suitability Maps.) Irrespective of the criteria used,
one consideration is obvious. The methods use some
process for organizing the type and array of operations to be performed in determining the optimal uses
of the landscape. The process is similar to the design
or planning process or variations thereof. I organize
LSA methods using the logical series of activities used

in executing planning-and-design tasks. This series of

activities is well known and understood by most planners and landscape architects.
. M. E. Wamsley, G. Utzig, T. Vold, E. Moon, and
J. van Barnveld, eds., Describing Ecosystems in the Field,
RAB Technical Paper (Victoria, B.C.: Ministry of Environment, ), , quoted in Bastedo, ABC Resource
Survey Method for Environmentally Signicant Areas, .
. Cowardin et al., Classication of Wetlands and
Deepwater Habitats in the United States.
. Environment Canada, Lands Directorate, Land
Capability Classication.
. Holdridge, Life Zone Ecology, .
. R. Beach, D. Benson, D. Brunton, K. Johnson,
J. Knowles, H. Michalovic, G. Newman, B. Tripp, and
C. Wunschel, Auston County Ecological Inventory and
Land Use Suitability Analysis (Pullman: Washington
State University, Cooperative Extension Service, ),
cited in Steiner, Living Landscape, ; for examples of
layer-cake diagrams related to life zones, see p. .
. Hills, Philosophical Approach to Landscape
Planning, .
. Dorney, Professional Practice of Environmental
Management, .
. Tyler et al., Use of Agricultural Land Evaluation and Site Assessment in Whitman County, Washington, USA.
. For more detailed discussion of the technical aspect, see Tomlinson, Calkins, and Marble, Computer
Handling of Geographical Data; and Switzer, Canadian
Geographic Information System.
. Grith, Geographical Information Systems and
Environmental Impact Assessment.
. Bastedo, ABC Resource Survey Method for Environmentally Signicant Areas, , .
. Jacobs, Landscape Development in the Urban
. Ingmire and Patri, Early Warning System for
Regional Planning.
. EDAW, Candidate Areas for Large Electric Power
Generating Plants.
. Deithelm & Bressler, Mount Bachelor Recreation
. Crow, Alcovy River and Swamp Interpretation
. Lyle, Design for Human Ecosystems, .
. These projects are cited in ch. , n. .
. Johnson, Berger, and McHarg, Case Study in
Ecological Planning: The Woodlands, Texas, .
. International Planning Associates, New Federal

Notes to Pages

Capital for Nigeria. Archisystems, Planning Research

Corporation, and Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and Todd
(WMRT) were consulting partners. Abraam Krushkhov
was the overall project director; Walter G. Hansen, the
associate project director; Thomas A. Todd, the partner-in-charge for WMRT planning and design; and Ian
L. McHarg, was in charge of technical review.
. T. Todd, The Master Plan for Abuja, the New
Federal Capital of Nigeria, in Steiner and Van Lier,
Land Conservation and Development, .
. Juneja, Medford.
. Ibid., .
. Vink, Land Use in Advancing Agriculture.
. Ibid., , .
. Ibid., .
. Dickert and Tuttle, Cumulative Impact Assessment in Environmental Planning, .
. Spaling et al., Methodological Guidance for Assessing Cumulative Impacts on Fish and Wildlife.
. Lyle and von Wodtke, Information System for
Environmental Planning.
. Steinitz, Brown, and Goodale, Managing Suburban Growth.
. Fabos, Model of Landscape Resource Assessment;
Fabos and Caswell, Composite Landscape Assessment;
Fabos, Green, and Joyner, METLAND Landscape Planning Process.
. Warner and Preston, Review of Environmental Impact Assessment Methodologies.
. See McAllister, Evaluation in Environmental Planning; Jain and Hutchings, Environmental Impact Analysis;
and Shopey and Fuggle, Comprehensive Review of
Current Environmental Impact Assessment Methods
and Techniques.
. Dee et al., Environmental Evaluation System
for Water Resources Planning.
. Leopold et al., Procedure for Evaluating Environmental Impact.
. Lyle and von Wodtke, Information System for
Environmental Planning, .
. Rice Center for Community Design and Research, Environmental Analysis for Development Planning.
See also Rowe and Gevirtz, Natural Environmental
Information and Impact Assessment System.
. Lyle, Design for Human Ecosystems, .
. Lyle, Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development, .
. Steinitz, Simulating Alternative Policies for Implementing the Massachusetts Scenic and Recreational
Rivers Act.

. Steinitz, Toward a Sustainable Landscape with

High Visual Preference and High Ecological Integrity.
. Steinitz et al., Biodiversity and Landscape Planning;
Harvard University, Department of Landscape Architecture, et al., Alternative Futures of the Upper San Pedro
River Watershed.
. So, Planning Agency Management, .
. Austin and Cocks, Land Use of the South Coast of
New South Wales; Cocks, Ive, and Baird, SIRO-PLAN
. Examples include McDonald and Brown, Land
Suitability Approach to Strategic Land Use Planning in
Urban Fringe Areas; and Davis and Ive, Rural Local
Government Planning; and Bishop and Fabos, Application
of the CSIRO Land Use Planning Method to the Geelong Region.
. Ive and Cocks, SIRO-PLAN and LUPLAN: An
Australian Approach to Land-Use Planning. . The
LUPLAN Land Use Planning Package.
. The sources were cited in Cocks et al., SIROPLAN and LUPLAN. The inuential ones include ()
for ecological planning, Christian and Steward,
Methodology of Integrated Surveys, and McHarg,
Design with Nature; () for multiobjective planning,
Keeney and Raa, Decisions with Multiple Objectives,
and Dyer, Interactive Goal Programming; and () for
mathematical programming optimization, Openshaw
and Whitehead, Structure Planning Using a Decision
Optimizing Technique, and Friend and Jessop, Local
Government and Strategic Choice.
. Steiner, Living Landscape, .
. Ibid., .
. Ibid.
. Rose, Steiner, and Jackson, Applied Human Ecological Approach to Regional Planning.
. For works by these authors see the References.
. Stalley, Patrick Geddes.
. Young, Origins of Human Ecology, .
. Jackson and Steiner, Human Ecology for LandUse Planning.
. McHarg, Human Ecological Planning at Pennsylvania, .
. Berger and Sinton, Water, Earth, and Fire, .
. Hawley, Human Ecology; Hawley, Urban Sociology;
Steward, Theory of Culture Change; Duncan and
Schnore, Cultural, Behavioral, and Ecological Per-

Notes to Pages

spectives on the Study of Social Organization; Duncan, From Social System to Ecosystem; Rappaport,
Pigs for the Ancestors; Bailey, Human Ecology; Bennett, Ecological Transition.
. Young, Origins of Human Ecology, . I lean heavily
on Youngs authoritative synthesis of the contribution
of human ecology for my review.
. Ibid., .
. Steward, cited in Young, Origins of Human Ecology, .
. Vayda and Rappaport, Ecology, Cultural and
. E. P. Willems, quoted in Young, Origins of Human
Ecology, .
. Meinig, Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes, .
. J. B. Jackson, quoted in ibid., .
. Bennett, Ecological Transition, .
. McHarg, Human Ecological Planning at Pennsylvania, .
. Tylor, Primitive Culture; Freilich, Meaning of Culture.
. Greetz, Ideology as a Cultural System.
. Goodenough, Cooperation in Change, .
. Kluckhohn, Values and Value Orientation in the
Theory of Action, .
. Boas, The Limitations of the Comparative
Method on Anthropology.
. Bennett, Ecological Transition, .
. Steward, Theory of Culture Change, ; Bennett,
Ecological Transition, .
. Geertz, Social History of an Indonesian Town.
. Bennett, Ecological Transition, .
. Berger and Sinton, Water, Earth, and Fire, .
. Steward, Theory of Culture Change, .
. Rappaport, Pigs for the Ancestors, .
. Lockhart, Insider-Outsider Dialectic in Native
Socio-Economic Development; Kreiger, Advice as a
Socially Constructed Activity; Pelto and Pelto, Anthropological Research; Friedmann, Retracking America;
Wolfe, Comprehensive Community Planning Among
Indian Bands in Ontario.
. Kimberly Dovey, quoted in Seamon, Dwelling,
Seeing, and Designing, .
. Martin Heidegger, quoted in Fell, Heidegger and
Sartre, .
. Canter, Psychology of Place.
. F. Lukerman, quoted in Relph, Place and Placelessness, .
. Ndubisi, Phenomenological Approach to Design for Amer-Indian Cultures.

. Cultural geographers, for instance, use historical

inquiry, systematically dening the evolution of place
from the past to the present, as in the works of W. G.
Hoskins; or they examine the physical attributes of
place to reveal their cultural and social meaning, as in
the writings of the historian J. B. Jackson (see Pair of
Ideal Landscapes).
. Landscape perception is examined in detail in
ch. .
. Berger, Hazleton Ecological Land Planning
. Ibid., .
. Ibid., .
. Rose, Steiner, and Jackson, Applied Human Ecological Approach to Regional Planning. In addition to
the authors, the study team included Jonathan Berger,
Gail Breslow, Bill Cook, Greg McGinty, Kathy
Poslosky, Brad Rubin, and Larry Wolinski.
. Ibid., .
. Steward, Theory of Culture Change; Rappaport,
Pigs for the Ancestors; Hunter, Community Power Structure; Von Bertalany, General Systems Theory.
. Rose, Steiner, and Jackson, Applied Human
Ecological Approach to Regional Planning, .
. Ibid., .
. McHarg, Human Ecological Planning at Pennsylvania.
. Ibid., .
. Ibid., .
. Berger and Sinton, Water, Earth, and Fire, .
. Ibid., .
. Berger, Guidelines for Landscape Synthesis.
. Jackson and Steiner, Human Ecology for LandUse Planning.
. Ibid., .
. Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology (),
. The Rural Development Outreach Project
(RDOP) at the University of Guelph involved outreach
activities supportive of northern initiatives and institutions that promote integrated rural development. One
aspect of northern Ontario outreach is to work with
Native Canadian communities under the leadership of
Professor Jackie Wolfe.
. Ndubisi, Participatory and Culturally Interpretive
Approach to Dynamic Rural Site Planning.
. Alexander, Ishiwaw, and Silverston, Pattern Language; Alexander, Gitai, and Howard, Segev Het Master Plan, Israel; R. Dubos, So Human an Animal,
quoted in Green, Mind and Image, ; Canter, Psychology

Notes to Pages

of Place; Lynch, Theory of Good City Form; Lynch, Image

of the City; Norberg-Schulz, Existence, Space, and Architecture; Prochanky, Ittelson, and Rivlin, Environmental
Psychology; Rapoport, Mutual Interaction between People
and Their Built Environment; Relph, Place and Placelessness; Von Franz, Projection and Recollection in Jungian
. Lynch, Theory of Good City Form, .
. Tom Alcose, head of the Department of Native
Studies at Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, and
future resident of the Burwash community, interview
by author, Sudbury, August .
. Penfold and Ndubisi, New Post Band No. Relocation Study and Site Selection; Simon et al., Culturally
Sensitive Approach to Planning and Design with Native
Canadians; Ndubisi, Development Implications of the Biophysical and Cultural Resource Assessment for the Missisuagas.
. Fahs, Paseo De Amistad.
. Ibid., .
. Doineau, Culturally Informed Design.
. Rapoport, Mutual Interaction of People and Their
Built Environment.
. Ndubisi, Phenomenological Approach to Design for Amer-Indian Cultures; Ndubisi, Variations in
Value Orientations.
. Rapoport, Mutual Interaction of People and Their
Built Environment.
. The landscape architect and urban designer
James Corner, at Pennsylvania, is a vocal spokesperson
for this viewpoint. Ian Firth and Catherine Howett,
both at the University of Georgia, expressed similar
concerns (interviews by author, Athens, Ga., and
April , respectively). For instance, Catherine
Howett asserted that the deconstruction of biophysicalhuman systems for scientic analysis emphasizes a restricted mode of understanding that is severely awed.
. Hough, Out of Place, , .
. Ibid., .
. Ibid., .
. Hester, Subconscious Landscapes of the Heart.
. Jones and Atkinson, Making a Marriage with
the Land, .
. Jones, Nooksack Plan.
. Jones, Design as Ecogram, .
. Ibid.
. Darrel Morrison, interview by author, Athens,
Ga., April .
. Zonneveld, Scope and Concepts of Landscape

. Bormann and Likens, Nutrient Cycling; Bormann and Likens, Pattern and Processes in a Forested
Ecosystem; Odum, Strategy of Ecosystem Development.
. A. Tansley, The Use and Abuse of Vegetation
Concepts and Terms, Ecology (), quoted in
Odum, Ecology and Our Endangered Life-Support Systems,
. Golley, History of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology,
. Ibid., .
. Ibid., .
. Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology (),
. Golley, History of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology,
. Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology (),
. Hersperger, Landscape Ecology and Its Potential
Application to Planning, .
. Park, Ecology and Environmental Management.
. Jeers, Introduction to System Analysis.
. Reiger and Rapport, Ecological Paradigms
Once Again.
. See, e.g., Odum, Energy Flow in Ecosystem;
Odum, Strategy of Ecosystem Development; and
Patten, System Analysis and Simulation Ecology.
. Holling, Resilience and Stability of Ecological
. Morowitz, Energy Flow in Biology.
. Odum, Ecology and Our Endangered Life-Support
. Barrett, Van Dyne, and Odum, Stress Ecology.
. Usher and Williamson, Ecological Stability.
. Hirata and Fukao, Model of Mass and Energy
Flow in Ecosystems.
. Margalef, Diversity, Stability, and Maturity in
Natural Ecosystems.
. Anderson, Conceptual Framework for Evaluating and Quantifying Naturalness.
. Likens et al., Recovery of a Deforested Ecosystem.
. Cooper and Zedler, Ecological Assessment for
Regional Development.
. Holling, Resilience and Stability of Ecological
Systems; Golley, History of the Ecosystem Concept in

Notes to Pages

. Odum, Ecology and Our Endangered Life-Support

. James, Nonequilibrium Thermodynamic
Framework for Discussing Ecosystem Integrity.
. Prigogine, Thermodynamics of Evolution.
. Risser, Toward a Holistic Management Perspective.
. Ibid., .
. Clapham, Approach to Quantifying the Exploitability of Human Ecosystems.
. Odum, Strategy of Ecosystem Development.
. Dansereau, Biogeographic dynamique de Quebec. Moss, Landscape Synthesis, Landscape Processes, and Land Classication, . See also
Dansereau and Pare, Ecological Grading and Classication of Landscape Occupation and Land-Use Mosaics.
. Lee, Ecological Comparison of the McHarg
Method with Other Planning Initiatives in the Great
Lakes Basin, , .
. Hills, Philosophical Approach to Landscape
Planning, .
. Dansereau, Biogeographic dynamic de Quebec. See also Dansereau and Pare, Ecological Grading
and Classication of Landscape Occupation and Land-Use
. Moss, Landscape Synthesis, Landscape Processes, and Land Classication, .
. Klign, Ecosystem Classication for Environmental
Management, .
. This distinction is similar to that proposed by
William Hendrix and his colleagues at the University
of Massachusetts. In a paper they distinguished
two directions for ecological research. The rst emphasizes ecological attributes, such as niche and
trophic organization; the other, particularly related to
large-scale planning, stresses a systems approach (Hendrix, Fabos, and Price, Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning Using Geographical Information System Technology).
. Ibid., .
. Ott, Environmental Indices.
. Bastedo, ABC Resource Survey Method for Environmentally Signicant Areas. See also Theberge, Nelson,
and Fenge, Environmentally Signicant Areas in the Yukon
. Ndubisi, DeMeo, and Ditto, Environmentally
Sensitive Areas.
. Bastedo, ABC Resource Survey Method for Environmentally Signicant Areas, .
. Netherlands, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Plan-

ning and Environment, Summary of General Ecological

Model. See also idem, Summary of the Netherlands Environmental Survey.
. Grime, Vegetation Classication by Reference
to Strategies.
. Anderson, Conceptual Framework for Evaluating and Quantifying Naturalness, .
. Wathern et al., Ecological Evaluation Techniques.
. Bailey, Pster, and Henderson, Nature of Land
and Resource Classication.
. Helliwell, Value of Vegetation for Conservation.
. M. J. Adriani and E. Van der Maarel, Voorne in de
Branding (), cited in Wathern et al., Ecological
Evaluation Techniques.
. Cooper and Zedler, Ecological Assessment for
Regional Development.
. Bisset, Quantication, Decision-making, and
Environmental Impact Assessment in the United Kingdom.
. National Environmental Policy Act of , U.S. Statues at Large ().
. Ott, Environmental Indices, .
. Ecosystem-risk assessment (ERA) provides a systematic means of estimating ecological risks associated with environmental problems. It estimates the
uncertainty associated with a certain action, such as
exceeding a certain water- or air-pollution standard.
While environmental-impact assessment examines the
eects of a broad range of human actions on ecosystems, risk assessment focuses on more or less well
dened regulatory problems using quantitative analysis to estimate the probability of undesired eects of
specic change agents, for example, eects of ozoneinduced stress on the edge of a coniferous forest.
. Glasoe et al., Assimilative Capacity and Water
Resource Management, .
. The evolutionary development and applications
of threshold analysis is well documented in Kozolowski, Threshold Approach in Urban, Regional, and Environmental Planning.
. Dickert and Tuttle, Cumulative Impact Assessment in Environmental Planning; Glasoe, Utility of
the Environmental Threshold Concept in Managing
Natural Resources.
. Lee, Ecological Comparison of the McHarg
Method with Other Planning Initiatives in the Great
Lakes Basin, .
. Sonzogni and Heidtke, Modelling the Great Lakes.

Notes to Pages

. Orians, Diversity, Stability, and Maturity in Natural Ecosystems; Cairns and Dickson, Recovery of
Streams from Spills of Hazardous Materials.
. See Rapport, Reiger, and Hutchinson, Ecosystem Behavior under Stress; and Schaeer, Herricks,
and Kerster, Ecosystem Health.
. Risser, Toward a Holistic Management Perspective.
. Hendrix, Fabos, and Price, Ecological Approach
to Landscape Planning Using Geographical Information System Technology.
. Rapport and Friend, Toward a Comprehensive
Framework for Environmental Statistics; Statistics
Canada, Case Study of the Stress-Response Environmental Statistics System.
. Spaling et al., Methodological Guidance for Assessing Cumulative Impacts on Fish and Wildlife; Lane et al.,
Reference Guide to Cumulative Eects Assessment in
. Spaling et al., Methodological Guidance for Assessing Cumulative Impacts on Fish and Wildlife, .
. Francis et al., Rehabilitating Great Lakes Ecosystems.
. International Joint Commission, Environmental
Management Strategy for the Great Lakes System.
. Royal Society of Canada and National Research
Council of the United States, Great Lakes Water Quality
. Dorney, Professional Practice of Environmental Management, .
. K. H. Loftus, M. G. Johnson, and H. A. Reiger,
Federal-Provincial Strategic Planning for Ontario
Fisheries: Management Strategies for the s, Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada ():
, cited in Lee, Ecological Comparison of the
McHarg Method with Other Planning Initiatives in the
Great Lakes Basin, .
. See Myers and Shelton, Survey Methods for Ecosystem Management; and Dorney, Professional Practice of Environmental Management.
. Holling and Mee, Command and Control and
the Pathology of Resource Management; Walters and
Holling, Large-scale Management Experiments and
Learning by Doing.
. Holling, Adaptive Environmental Assessment and
Management, .
. Ibid., .
. Noss, OConnell, and Murphy, Science of Conservation Planning, .
. Lee, Ecological Comparison of the McHarg

Method with Other Planning Initiatives in the Great

Lakes Basin, .
. Similar mechanisms are reviewed in Steiners
The Living Landscape.
. Donahue, Institutional Arrangement for Great
Lakes Management, .
. Ibid., .
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology
in Theory and Practice, .
. Ibid.
. Hersperger, Landscape Ecology and Its Potential
Application to Planning, .
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology in
Theory and Practice.
. Hersperger, Landscape Ecology and Its Potential
Application to Planning, . Specic methods exist for
examining patterns and process in the landscape (see,
e.g., Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology in
Theory and Practice; Farina, Principles and Methods in
Landscape Ecology; and Turner and Gardner, Quantitative Methods in Landscape Ecology). Lacking are denitive methods for applying landscape-ecology theory
and principles to ecological planning.
. The important works include Turner, Gardner,
and ONeill, Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice;
Klopatek and Gardner, Landscape Ecological Analysis;
Farina, Principles and Methods in Landscape Ecology;
Turner and Gardner, Quantitative Methods in Landscape
Ecology; Hansson, Fahrig, and Merriam, Mosaic Landscapes and Ecological Processes; Forman and Godron,
Landscape Ecology; Forman, Land Mosaics; Golley and
Bellot, Interactions of Landscape Ecology, Planning,
and Design; Haase and Richter, Current Trends in
Landscape Research; Naveh, Landscape Ecology as
an Emerging Branch of Human Ecosystem Science;
and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology (); Numata,
Basic Concepts and Methods of Landscape Ecology;
and Zonneveld and Forman, Changing Landscapes.
. The sources in the preceding note provide historical accounts of the development of landscape ecology.
Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology (), provides a succinct history of developments in Europe.
Schreibers review of developments in Europe, History of Landscape Ecology in Europe, is precise.
Forman and Godrons Landscape Ecology described
comparable developments in North America (pp.

Notes to Pages

). Additional valuable references include Neef,

Stages in the Development of Landscape Ecology;
and Quinby, Contribution of Ecological Science to
the Development of Landscape Ecology.
. Forman, Land Mosaics, .
. Carl Troll, quoted in Schreiber, History of Landscape Ecology in Europe, .
. The term biogeocoenose is used by European ecologists to refer to the smallest indivisible spatial unit in
an ecological system.
. Zonneveld, Land Unit.
. Zonneveld, Scope and Concepts of Landscape
Ecology, .
. MacArthur and Wilson, Theory of Island Biogeography.
. Levins, Extinction.
. Pollard, Hooper, and Moore, Hedges.
. H. Leser, Landschaftsokologie (Stuttgart: Ulmer,
), cited in Schreiber, History of Landscape Ecology in Europe, .
. Schreiber, Landscape Planning and Protection
of the Environment.
. Van Leeuwen, Relation Theoretical Approach
to Pattern and Process in Vegetation.
. Rapoport, Meaning of the Built Environment;
Lynch, Image of the City.
. Lewis, Quality Corridors for Wisconsin; Jackson, Landscapes; Zube, Brush, and Fabos, Landscape Assessment.
. Christian and Steward, Methodology of Integrated Surveys; Olshowy, Ecological Landscape Inventories and Evaluation; Thie and Ironside, Ecological (Biophysical) Land Classication in Canada;
Zonneveld, Land Unit.
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology
in Theory and Practice, .
. Forman and Godron, Patches and Structural
Components for a Landscape Ecology.
. Naveh, Landscape Ecology as an Emerging
Branch of Human Ecosystem Science.
. Romme, Fire and Landscape Diversity in Subalpine Forests of Yellowstone National Park.
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology
in Theory and Practice, .
. Tjallingii and de Veers, Perspectives in Landscape
. Four major books published during the s
provided additional scientic rigor in North American
landscape-ecology studies. The rst two, Allen and
Starr, Hierarchy, and ONeill et al., Hierarchical Concept

of Ecosystems, provided original insights into spatial

scale and the behavior of complex ecological systems
(based on authors interview with Frank Golley in
Athens, Ga., May ). The other two books, each
co-authored by an American and a scholar from
abroad, focused on the subject matter of landscape
ecology: Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology; and
Forman and Godron, Landscape Ecology. Six important
books published in the s provide additional insights into landscape ecology. Zonneveld and Formans
Changing Landscapes summarized evolving approaches,
functional processes operating at the landscape scale,
and applications as well. In Methods of Landscape Ecology Turner and Gardner provided a concise review of
emerging quantitative methods for analyzing landscape heterogeneity. In Landscape Boundaries Hansen
and di Castri integrated the concept of ecotopes with
patch dynamics and presented innovative methods for
studying them. Formans book Landscape Mosaics
synthesized the state of landscape-ecology studies and
explored a new area, spatial structure and sustainable
environment at the regional scale. Farina provided an
incisive review of concepts and techniques used in
landscape-ecology studies in Principles and Methods in
Landscape Ecology. In an edited book, Landscape Ecological Analysis, published in , Klopatek and Gardner
highlight important issues in analyzing landscapes and
demonstrate their applications. Turner, Gardner, and
ONeills book Landscape Ecology in Theory and
Practice provides a synthetic review of theory, methods, and applications in landscape ecology.
. Soule, Land Use Planning and Wildlife Maintenance.
. Hersperger, Landscape Ecology and Its Potential Application to Planning, .
. Van Langevelde, Conceptual Integration of
Landscape Planning and Landscape Ecology, .
. Jackson, Pair of Ideal Landscapes.
. Forman and Godron, Landscape Ecology, .
. Golley, Introducing Landscape Ecology.
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology
in Theory and Practice, .
. Ibid., .
. Ibid.
. Odum, Ecology and Our Endangered Life-Support
. Hersperger, Landscape Ecology and Its Potential Application to Planning, . I added the population level of organization to the list.
. Turner and Gardner, Methods of Landscape Ecology.

Notes to Pages

. Romme and Knight, Fire Frequency and Subalpine Forests of Yellowstone National Park.
. Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology (),
. Koestler, Beyond Atomism and Holism.
. Zonneveld, Scope and Concepts of Landscape
. ONeill et al., Hierarchical Concept of Ecosystems.
. Urban, ONeill, and Shugart, Landscape Ecology.
. Gleick, Chaos.
. Burrough, Fractal Dimension of Landscapes
and other Environmental Data; Burel, Eect of
Landscape Structure and Dynamics on Species Diversity in Hedgerow Networks; Milne, Measuring the
Fractal Geometry of Landscapes.
. Plotnick, Gardner, and ONeill, Lacunarity Indices as Measures of Landscape Texture.
. Milne, Measuring the Fractal Geometry of
. Palmer, Coexistence of Species in Fractal Landscapes.
. Alvarez, Urbanism.
. Hersperger, Landscape Ecology and Its Potential Application to Planning, .
. Milne et al., Detection of Critical Densities Associated with Pinon-Juniper Woodland Ecotones.
. Stauer and Aharony, Introduction to Perculation
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology
in Theory and Practice, .
. The tradition of describing the landscape based
on ecotopes was inuenced heavily by the ZurichMontpelier school of phytosociologys groundbreaking detailed oristic classication and ecological interpretation of the central European vegetation cover
(Haber, Using Landscape Ecology in Planning and
Management, ).
. Klign, Spatially Nested Ecosystems, .
. Ibid.
. Dorney, Biophysical and Cultural-Historic Land
Classication and Mapping, .
. Forman and Godron, Patches and Structural
Components for a Landscape Ecology.
. Spirn, Poetics of City and Nature.
. Toth, Theoretical Analysis of Groundwater in
Small Drainage Basins; Toth, Hydrological and Riparian Systems; Freese and Witherspoon, Theoretical Analysis of Regional Groundwater Flow; Van
Buuren and Kerkstra, Framework Concept and the
Hydrological Landscape Structure.

. Kerkstra and Vrijlandt, Landscape Planning for

Industrial Agriculture.
. Selman, Landscape Ecology and Countryside
. Wilcox and Murphy, Conservation Strategy.
. Merriam, Connectivity; Soule, Land Use
Planning and Wildlife Maintenance; Burel and
Baudry, Hedgerow Networks Patterns and Processes
in France; Opdam et al., Population Responses to
Landscape Fragmentation.
. Levins, Some Demographic and Genetic Consequences of Environmental Heterogeneity for Biological Control; idem, Extinction; Merriam, Connectivity; idem, Corridors and Connectivity.
. Metapopulation biology is closely related to
landscape ecology, but important dierences exist. J.
Wiens pointed out that unlike landscape ecology,
metapopulation models often ignore variations in the
quality of patches and the quality of what surrounds
them, the eects of patch edges, and the inuences the
landscape exerts on connectivity among patches.
Landscape ecologists pay attention to these issues in
enhancing the viability of species (Wiens, Metapopulation Dynamics and Landscape Ecology).
. A related concept, ecological infrastructure, delineates corridors between natural areas for the movement of species to prevent habitat fragmentation.
. Kleyer, Habitat Network Schemes in Stuttgart.
. Diamond, Island Dilemma.
. Forman presented specic criticisms of the islandbiogeography theory in Land Mosaics, . There is a
comprehensive review of the criticisms in Shafer, Nature Reserves.
. Noss and Harris, Nodes, Networks, and
. Forman, Land Mosaics, .
. Duerksen et al., Habitat Protection Planning.
The principles and guidelines proposed by Duerksen
were discussed in Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice: Patterns and Process,
. Turner, Gardner, and ONeill, Landscape Ecology
in Theory and Practice, .
. Ibid., .
. Opdam, Metapopulation Theory and Habitat
Fragmentation; Verboom, Metz, and Meelis,
Metapopulation Models for Impact Assessment of
. Diamond, Island Dilemma; Helliwell, Eects
of Size and Isolation on the Conservation Value of

Notes to Pages

Wooded Sites in Britain; Noss and Harris, Nodes,

Networks, and Mums; Soule, Land Use Planning
and Wildlife Maintenance.
. Smith and Hellmund, Ecology of Greenways.
. Zonneveld, Land Unit, .
. Zonneveld, Land Ecology.
. Haber, Using Landscape Ecology in Planning
and Management.
. Cook, Urban Landscape Networks.
. Forman and Godron, Landscape Ecology, .
. Cook, Urban Landscape Networks.
. Baschak and Brown, River Systems and Landscape Networks.
. Selman, Landscape Ecology and Countryside
. Anna Hersperger summarized these steps in
Landscape Ecology and Its Potential Application to
Planning, .
. Timmermans and Snep, Ecological Models and
Urban Wildlife.
. Ruzicka and Miklos, Basic Premises and Methods
in Landscape Ecological Planning and Optimization.
. Naveh and Lieberman, Landscape Ecology (),
suppl. , .
. Ruzicka and Miklos, Basic Premises and Methods in Landscape Ecological Planning and Optimization, .
. Nassauer, Placing Nature.
. Chenoweth and Gobster, Nature and Ecology of
Aesthetic Experiences in the Landscape, .
. Sell, Taylor, and Zube, Toward a Theoretical
Framework for Landscape Perception, .
. Zube, Sell, and Taylor, Landscape Perception.
. I prefer to speak of the assessment of landscape
values and landscape perception rather than the assessment of landscape, which is the practice in many studies dealing with aesthetic experiences. Since assessment of the landscape is one of many activities
conducted in ecological planning, the use of the term
landscape assessment may confuse some readers. Moreover, referring to landscape values and landscape perception makes the object of interest clear.
. Sancar, Towards Theory Generation in Landscape Aesthetics, .
. National Environmental Policy Act of , U.S.
Statutes at Large (): .

. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, th ed.

. Chenoweth and Gobster, Nature and Ecology of
Aesthetic Experiences in the Landscape, .
. Palmer, Landscape Perception Model.
. Zube, Sell, Taylor, Landscape Perception, .
. Contemporary reviews of developments in the
eld include: Helliwell, Perception and Preference in
Landscape Appreciation; Zube, Scenery as a Natural
Resource; Heath, Environmental Aesthetics and State of
the Art, Theory, Practice, and Research; Arthur, Daniel,
and Boster, Scenic Assessment; Penning-Rowsell,
Assessing the Validity of Landscape Evaluations; Porteous, Approaches to Environmental Aesthetics;
Punter, Landscape Aesthetics; Daniel and Vining,
Methodological Issues in the Assessment of Landscape Quality; and Zube, Themes in Landscape Assessment Theory. Many important books have been
published on the subject; for example, Porteous, Environmental Aesthetics, and Smardon, Palmer, and Felleman, Foundations for Visual Project Analysis, provide an
in-depth review of methods for visual assessment for
the continuum of urban and rural settings. Because of
the extensive body of literature in this eld, recent
published materials focus on specic aspects rather
than general issues about landscape perception.
. I rely on but expand upon Zubes review of landscape values, Landscape Values: History, Concepts,
and Applications.
. Mann, Landscape Architecture, .
. See ibid., .
. Gilpin, Remarks on Forest Scenery and Other Woodland Views.
. Price, Essay on the Picturesque.
. Zube, Landscape Values, .
. Henry David Thoreau, Journal (), quoted in
Dramstad, Olson, and Forman, Landscape Ecology Principles in Landscape Architecture and Land-Use Planning,
. Congressional interest in historic preservation
ocially began in with the establishment of the
Casa Grand Reservation in Arizona to protect historic
adobe ruins. Subsequent developments in the protection of cultural and historic resources in the United
States include the National Historic Sites, Building and
Antiquities Act in , which authorized a national
survey of historic buildings. The National Trust for
Historic Preservation (NTHP) was chartered by Congress in as a nonprot organization to encourage
public input in the preservation of sites, buildings, and
objects signicant to American history and culture.

Notes to Pages

This was followed by the National Historic

Preservation Act, which solidied the preservation of
historic resources by setting standards and guidelines.
. National Park Act of , U.S. Statutes at Large
(): .
. Blake, Gods Own Junkyard; Tunnard and
Pushkarev, Man-Made America.
. U.S. (). The plainti objected to the
appropriation of his property for redevelopment purposes intended merely to develop a better balanced
and more attractive community. The court ruled that
the appropriation of private property was constitutional for the reasonable necessities of controlling the
cycle of slum decay. Slum is the existence of conditions injurious to the public health, safety, morals and
. Examples include the Coastal Zone Management
Act of , the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of , and the National
Forestry Management Act of .
. Fines, Landscape Evaluations.
. Zube and Carlozzi, Inventory and Interpretation
Selected Resources of the Island of Nantucket.
. Linton, Forest Landscape Description and Inventories.
. Shafer, Perception of Natural Environment.
. Craik, Comprehension of Everyday Physical
. The Visual Management System, ch. in U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National
Forest Landscape Management; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Procedure to Establish Priorities in Landscape Architecture; U.S. Department
of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Division of
Recreation and Cultural Resource, Visual Resource Management.
. Appleton, Experience of Landscape.
. Kaplan and Kaplan, Experience of Nature; Kaplan
and Kaplan, Cognition and Environment.
. Lewis, Axioms for Reading the Landscape, .
. Whitmore, Cook, and Steiner, Public Involvement in Visual Assessment.
. Zube, Themes in Landscape Assessment Theory.
. Palmer, Landscape Perception Model. Jim
Palmers scheme distinguishes professional methods
from those used specically for landscape perception.
The scheme views landscape perception as a function
of people, view, and land. When landscape perception
is viewed as a function of people, emphasis is placed

on understanding the adaptive value of landscape preferences using a psychological and evolutionary framework such as prospect/refuge, coherence, and legibility (e.g., Appleton, Experience of Landscape, and Kaplan
and Kaplan, Experience of Nature). When landscape perception is considered a function of view, attention is
paid to the composition of a landscape scene in terms
of attributes such as line color, form, texture, and contrast (e.g., Shafer, Perception of Natural Environment; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. National Forest Landscape Management; U.S.
Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management,
Division of Recreation and Cultural Resource, Visual
Resource Management). The content of the scene may
or may not be considered. When landscape perception
is viewed as a function of land, the relationship between variables used to manage the physical environment and how people react to it is the prime consideration (e.g., Zube, Pitt, and Anderson, Perception and
Measurement of Scenic Resources in the Southern Connecticut River Valley). The variables may be land use, landform, or some identiable feature of the landscape.
. See Lynch, Image of the City; Appleyard, Lynch,
and Meyer, View from the Road; and Linton, Forest Landscape Description and Inventories.
. See Smardon, Assessing Visual-Cultural Resources of Inland Wetlands in Massachusetts.
. Zube, Evaluation of the Visual and Cultural Environment. The NAR is an area of approximately
, square miles. Besides the quantitative rating
techniques employed, the study also attempted to test
the hypothesis that visual quality was determined by a
combination of landform and diversity of land-use patternvegetative cover, water, and land-use activities.
The visual quality of the landscape is a function of
topography. The visual quality increases as the relief
and slope of the land rises. Thus, at lands are likely to
have a lower visual quality than hilly lands. Subsequent
studies provided limited support to the hypothesis.
. Zube, Sell, and Taylor, Landscape Perception, .
. Ibid., .
. Vining and Stevens, Assessment of Landscape
Quality, .
. The substantial body of documented studies includes Shafer, Perception of Natural Environment;
Zube, Pitt, and Anderson, Perception and Measurement
of Scenic Resources; Daniel and Boster, Measuring Landscape Esthetics; and Steinitz, Toward a Sustainable
Landscape with High Visual Preference and High Ecological Integrity.

Notes to Pages

. Berlyne, Aesthetics and Psychobiology.

. Appleton, Prospects and Refuges Re-Visited,
. D. Jeans, for instance, questioned Appletons dismissal of the eighteenth-century aesthetic concepts of
the beautiful, the picturesque, and the sublime in his
habitat theory, in answer to which Appleton armed
his original viewpoint (Review of J. Appleton, The
Experience of Landscape). Peter Clamp and Mary
Powell questioned the validity of the theory through
their empirical work with four subjects (ProspectRefuge Theory under Test). Another researcher at the
University of Michigan, David Woodcock, explored
whether environmental preference was a product of
evolution, but his results were inconclusive (Functionalist Approach to Environmental Preference). In
contrast, Petrus Heylingers provided some support for
the theory through his study of the aesthetic qualities
of dunes in South Australia (Prospect-Refuge Symbolism of Dune Landscape).
. Kaplan and Kaplan, Cognition and Environment,
. Kaplan and Kaplan, Experience of Nature.
. Ibid., .
. Ibid., .
. Kaplan, Kaplan, and Ryan, With People in Mind,
. Ibid.
. Zube, Sell, and Taylor, Landscape Perception,
. Vining and Stevens, Assessment of Landscape
Quality, .
. Linton and Tetlow, Landscape Inventory Framework.
. Zube, The IslandsSelected Resources of the United
States Virgin Islands.
. Pioneering studies include a predictive model of
natural landscape preferences developed by E. Shafer
(Perception of Natural Environment); Zube, Pitt,
and Andersons estimation of the scenic resources in
the southern Connecticut River valley (Perception and
Measurement of Scenic Resources); and Schaumans assessment of the scenic quality in a variety of agricultural landscapes in Washington State (Countryside
Scenic Assessment). Others are T. Daniel and H.
Schroeders prediction of preferences in forested lands
(Scenic Beauty Estimation Method); Steinitzs visualpreference study for the Acadia National Park, on the
coast of Maine (Toward a Sustainable Landscape with
High Visual Preference and High Ecological In-

tegrity); I. Bishop and D. Hulses prediction of scenic

beauty in Melbourne, Australia (Prediction of Scenic
Beauty Using Mapped Data and Geographical Information System; and D. Crawford assessment of the
visual quality of the landscape using remotely sensed
data in South Wales, Australia (Using Remotely
Sensed Data in Landscape Visual Assessment).
. Zube, Pitt, and Anderson, Perception and Measurement of Scenic Resources.
. Others were testing physical landscape characteristics hypothesized to be determinants of scenicresource values and exploring the relationship between participants valuative responses and quantied
dimensions for a variety of rural landscapes.
. Jones, Ady, and Gray, Scenic and Recreational
Highway Study for the State of Washington.
. Daniel and Boster, Measuring Landscape Esthetics.
. The SBE method has been used in numerous
studies, including P. Cook and T. Cables evaluation of
dierences in scenic beauty judgments of the Great
Plains using simple correlation and multiple regression
analysis (The Scenic Beauty of Shelterbelts on the
Great Plains).
. Steinitz, Toward a Sustainable Landscape with
High Visual Preference and High Ecological Integrity.
. Steinitz, Simulating Alternative Policies for Implementing the Massachusetts Scenic and Recreational
Rivers Act.
. Pitt and Zube, Management of Natural Resources.
. Itami, Scenic Quality in Australia.
. Herbert, Visual Resource Analysis.
. Brown and Itami, Landscape Principles Study.
. Rachel and Stephen Kaplan have conducted numerous empirical studies since the early s, for example, Kaplan, Analysis of Perception via Preference; and Kaplan, Kaplan, and Brown,
Environmental Preference. See also Herzog, Cognitive Analysis of Preference for Field and Forest Environments; and Herzog, Cognitive Analysis of Preference for Urban Nature.
. Lee, Assessing Visual Preference for Louisiana
. Whitmore, Cook, and Steiner, Public Involvement in Visual Assessment.
. Gimblett, Itami, and Fitzgibbon, Mystery in an
Information Processing Model of Landscape Preference.
. Kent, Role of Mystery in Preferences for Shopping Malls.

Notes to Pages

. Kent, Determining Scenic Quality along Highways.

. McKenzie, Pinelands Scenic StudySummary Report.
. Meinig, Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes, .
. For example, see the essays written by these authors in ibid.
. Zube, Sell, and Taylor, Landscape Perception,
. Jackson, Historic American Landscape, .
. Ibid., .
. Zube, Landscape Research; Zube, Perceived
Land Use Patterns and Landscape Values.
. Relph, Modern Urban Landscape.
. Ndubisi, Variations in Value Orientations.
. Shkilnyk, Poison Stronger Than Love.
. Lowenthal, Finding Valued Landscapes.
. Stilgoe, Fair Fields and Blasted Rock.
. Rose, Aesthetic and Moral Ordering of the Material World in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania.
. Newby, Towards an Understanding of Landscape Quality.
. Countryside Commission, Assessment and Conservation of Landscape Character.
. These last three questions were posed by Jim
Palmer in Landscape Perception Model.
. Reliability is a measure of the degree to which a
method yields consistent results when applied in similar situations or by dierent people. The validity of a
method is the degree to which it measures what is intended. The sensitivity of a method is a measure of its
ability to dierentiate between the objectives of concern to the investigator. The utility of outcomes is
their usefulness in landscape intervention.
. Zube, Themes in Landscape Assessment Theory, .
. Zube, Perceived Land Use Patterns and Landscape Values, .
. Andreas Faludi made a similar distinction in the
city planning profession (see Faludi, Planning Theory).
. Evernden, Social Creation of Nature, is an especially
important work on the landscape as a reection of culture.
. Steiner, Resource Suitability, .

. Leopold, Sand County Almanac, .

. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Land Capability Classication; Hills, Ecological Basis for Land-Use Planning.
. Lewis, Quality Corridors for Wisconsin, ;
McHarg, Design with Nature; Toth, Criteria for Evaluating the Valuable Natural Resource of the TIRAC Region.
. Steinitz, Computers and Regional Planning; Steinitz
and Rogers, System Analysis Model of Urbanization and
. Zonneveld, Scope and Concepts of Landscape
Ecology, .
. Young et al., Determining the Regional Context
For Landscape Planning, , .
. Bennett, Ecological Transition.
. Steiner, Living Landscape, .
. Wallace et al., Woodlands New Community.
. McHarg, Human Ecological Planning at Pennsylvania, .
. Dorney, Professional Practice of Environmental Management.
. Bastedo, ABC Resource Survey Method for Environmentally Signicant Areas; Bastedo, Nelson, and Theberge, Ecological Approach to Resource Survey and
Planning for Environmentally Signicant Areas; Theberge, Nelson, and Fenge, Environmentally Signicant
Areas in the Yukon Territory; Netherlands, Ministry of
Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment, Summary
of General Ecological Model; Rapport and Friend, Toward a Comprehensive Framework for Environmental Statistics.
. Examples are Deithelm & Bressler, Mount Bachelor Recreation Area; and Lewis, Quality Corridors for
. Jacobs, Landscape Development in the Urban
Fringe; Ingmire and Patri, Early Warning System for
Regional Planning.
. Examples are McHarg, Design with Nature; Wallace et al., Woodlands New Community; Juneja, Medford;
and Ive and Cook, SIRO-PLAN and LUPLAN.
. Lyle and von Wodtke, Information System for
Environmental Planning; Rice Center for Community Design and Research, Environmental Analysis for
Development Planning.
. Berger, Landscape Patterns of Local Social Organization and Their Importance for Land Use Planning, .
. Cooper and Zedler, Ecological Assessment for
Regional Development.

Notes to Pages

. Hendrix, Fabos, and Price, Applied Approach to

Landscape Planning Using Geographical Information
System Technology; Lyle, Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development.
. Forman, Land Mosaics.
. See, e.g., Klign, Spatially Nested Ecosystems;
Haber, Using Landscape Ecology in Planning and
Management; and Zonneveld, Land Unit.
. Linton, Forest Landscape Description and Inventories.
. Hills, Ecological Basis for Land-Use Planning.
. Holdridge, Life Zone Ecology.
. Cowardin et al., Classication of Wetlands and
Deepwater Habitats in the United States.
. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, National Agricultural Land Evaluation and
Site Assessment Handbook.
. Odum, Strategy of Ecosystem Development.
. Dansereau and Pare, Ecological Grading and
Classication of Landscape Occupation and Land-Use Mosaics.
. Hills, Philosophical Approach to Landscape
Planning, .
. Thie and Ironside, Ecological (Biophysical) Land
Classication in Canada.
. Zonneveld, The Land Unit.
. Forman and Godron, Landscape Ecology.
. Zelinsky, North Americans Vernacular Regions; Meinig, Mormon Culture Region.
. See, e.g., McHarg, Design with Nature, ;
Juneja, Medford; and Hopkins, Methods for Generating Land Suitability Maps.
. Dearden and Miller, quoted in Buyho et al., Articial Intelligence Methodology for Landscape Visual
. On compartment ow, see Odum, Strategy of
Ecosystem Development; on energy ux, Dansereau
and Pare, Ecological Grading and Classication of Landscape Occupation and Land-Use Mosaics, and Odum, Systems Ecology; and on nutrient budget, Lenz, Ecosystem Classication by Budgets of Material.
. Berger and Sinton, Water, Earth, and Fire.
. International Joint Commission, Environmental
Management Strategy for the Great Lakes System.
. Francis et al., Rehabilitating Great Lakes Ecosystems.
. Hendrix, Fabos, and Price, Ecological Approach
to Landscape Planning Using Geographical Information System Technology; Forman, Land Mosaics.

. Opdam et al., Population Responses to Landscape Fragmentation.

. Van Buuren and Kerkstra, Framework Concept
and the Hydrological Landscape Structure.
. Klign, Ecosystem Classication for Environmental
Management; Baschak and Brown, River Systems and
Landscape Networks; Selman, Landscape Ecology
and Countryside Planning; Haber, Using Landscape
Ecology in Planning and Management.
. Ruzicka and Miklos, Basic Premises and Methods in Landscape Ecological Planning and Optimization.
. Steinitz, Landscape Change.
. Thorne, Landscape Ecology.
. Hersperger, Landscape Ecology and Its Potential Application to Planning, .
. Zube, Sell, and Taylor, Landscape Perception,
. Carlson, On the Theoretical Vacuum in Landscape Assessment.
. Ibid., .
. Lyle, Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development, .
. Pepper, Roots of Modern Environmentalism, .
. Positivism suggests that any given end state or
goal can be obtained through logical and objective synthesis of all relevant facts and data. Positivism is implied in ecological-planning approaches. In contrast,
writers who subscribe to the antipositivistic view of
the world, especially in the areas of critical theory,
postmodernism, and poststructuralism, reject positivism as a way of knowing. In the context of ecological planning, proponents of the antipositivistic view of
the world argue that ecological-planning approaches
that are based on positivism do not embrace a holistic,
expansionist view of the landscape, which integrates
both nature and culture and draws on knowledge from
both the sciences and the arts. Antipositivistic criticisms call for multiple perspectives in understanding
landscapes but offer few methodological rules for undertaking ecological assessment and planning.
. Examples of these views are presented in Litton
and Kieieger, Book Review on Design with Nature;
Landecker, In Search of an Arbiter; Leccese, At the
Beginning, Looking Back; Corner, Discourse on
Theory I; and Corner, Discourse on Theory II.

Notes to Pages

. Steiner, Living Landscape, .

. Forman, Land Mosaics, .
. Leopold, Sand County Almanac, .
. Ibid., .
. Lyle, Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development, .
. Kaplan, Model of Personality-Environment

. Thompson and Steiner, Ecological Design and Planning, inside cover page.
. Leopold, Sand County Almanac with Essays on Conservation from Round River, , .
. Steinetz, On Teaching Ecological Principles to
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