Texas Riparian Association Meetings

I have been having a great time at the Texas Riparian Association meetings here in Austin.  I was particularly impressed with the work of Mark Simmons, an ecologist at the Lady Bird Johnston Wildflower Center here in Texas.  See the link for a better understanding of his work.

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Take our urban ecology survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B8CR88S —————————————— Now that we are an urban species, we are ever more compelled to create and regenerate urban ecological function to maintain global sustainability, human health and our relationship to the natural world. But is ecological function really being prioritized and implemented in our cities?

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Take our urban ecology survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B8CR88S —————————————— Now that we are an urban species, we are ever more compelled to create and regenerate urban ecological function to maintain global sustainability, human health and our relationship to the natural world. But is ecological function really being prioritized and implemented in our cities?

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Mark also had an interesting chart on people’s understanding of where we are in the spectrum of Preservation, Conservation, Restoration, and Construction of our eco-system services for any given particular piece of land.  I think that an important distinction needs to occur.  We are in desperate need of conservation and preservation of our existing farm land (i.e. quantity), but the quality of farmland is in desperate need of re-construction (i.e. quality).  Conservation Easements are a great thing and must have increased support as a way to increase the conservation and preservation of farmland.  However, they often suffer from a lack of cash flow to even enforce the conditions of the easement (and demonstrate that the easements have legitimate value), so how can they every find the cash to actually improve that soil’s performance/quality?  In the face of climate change stress (drought, deluges of rain, increased evaporation rates etc.), we can not expect to preserve our model T and enter climate change with great hopes.  We are going to need a more resilient vehicle to endure the coming journey.  We need to upgrade our soils so that they are far more resilient to the coming stresses.  I this sense, I see the majority of our conservation/preservation properties in need of massive construction of eco-system services, and that requires a new economic model in land use.

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