Seeding Specificity: Materials and Methods for Novel Ecoystems

Seeding Specificity: Materials and Methods for Novel Ecoystems

Mahan Rykiel Associates

Isaac Hametz, Alice Sturm,  Jiali Li,  Lois Nguyen, Terry Burns, Peter Hoblitzell , Binyu Yang , Mark B. Fiely , Horticulturalist, Kristen Keene ,  Kenna Oseroff,  Brian Davis, Charles Andrew Cole, Walter Dinicola 



Landscape architects design novel ecosystems. These dynamic scoiecological environments lack adequate natural analogs, yet pristine, idealized ecosystems are often used as references for projects in these complex sites. This primary research exploring seed germination rates for the sediment landscape of Hart-Miller Island (HMI) in the Chesapeake Bay expands the material and methodological frameworks for landscape architects to design novel ecosystems by calibrating restoration strategies and design outcomes to the specificities of a real project site, soils, and plant species. The findings, which show significant variance between published germination rates under controlled conditions and experimentally derived seedling emergence in site soil, highlights the importance of aligning design intent, research methods, and material practices. The translation of the experimental findings into a custom seed mix and seeding plan for the restoration project reinforces the application of landscape research methods and material practices in design. These in turn, enhance the ability of landscape architects to design and realize high performance outcomes in novel ecosystems, strengthening the professional community and supporting vibrant socioecological systems.