Designing landscapes can help combat the rising levels of climate change by managing water more efficiently, planting drought-tolerant plants, and incorporating ecological structures allowing wildlife to migrate and seek refuge.

Ecological Restoration in a Changing World with John Hart Asher II with Blackland Collaborative

Blackland Collaborative in an Ecological Design and Restoration firm who has over 38 years’ experience in restoring, creating, and conserving functional ecosystems. Specifically, we are experts in native grasslands, riparian restoration, urban ecology, native prairie green roofs, landscape restoration plans at multiple scales, pocket prairies, teaching, and research. Blackland Collaborative partners began as team members of the research and consulting group formed in 2000 at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, known as the Ecosystem Design Group. Our team helped carry out over 20 years of restoration research focused on the effects of returning fire to the landscape on abused ranchland, 9 years of research understanding the reason for failure of temperate green roof systems in semi-arid/subtropical climates while also designing native prairie green roof systems that can thrive, and developing Habiturf™, a native turfgrass that minimizes water usage. Our team also served as project managers for multiple restoration and urban ecology projects all over the US, impacting 90,000 acres of Texas alone.

Some of our current projects include restoration and management plans for the City of Austin to determine best practices in response to climate change, guidance plans and best management practices for the Houston Park’s Board’s 150 miles of green space along Houston’s Bayous, Blackland Prairie restoration for a new community park in Frisco, Texas, continuing restoration work on New Braunfel’s beautiful Headwaters at the Comal property, and meadow, wetland, and green roof designs for the currently under construction Alice L. Walton School of Medicine in Bentoville, Arkansas.

Our firm will discuss anticipated climate trends, the use of native plants to solve challenges arising from threats due to dramatic variation in historic weather pattern and associated drought and wildfire, and examine how more and more cities, states, and federal projects are embracing biodiverse landscapes to address heat island mitigation, carbon sequestration, habitat loss, water and air quality, and human health and well-being. We will also discuss the need for improved plant identification and adaptive management to ensure that these projects are sustained over time.