Life Amidst the Pines: A Developer’s Guide for Designing within the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem

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Material Information

Title:
Life Amidst the Pines: A Developer’s Guide for Designing within the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Campbell, Adrienne
Publisher:
School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Bachelor's
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Prescribed Fire
Longleaf Pine
Management
Restoration
Fire-Wise

Notes

Abstract:
Over the past 150 years the Longleaf Pine ecosystem has suffered a severe decline through logging, development, agriculture, human population, and fire suppression. This ecosystem once covered the majority of the southeastern states for thousands of years and has now been reduced to small remnant patches that equate to less than 3% of its original extent. The longleaf pine ecosystem supports some of the rarest vegetation and animal species in the United States. It is dire that conservation initiatives be implemented within human population communities through careful and well thought out management planning. Future land development for suburban communities will continue as the need for more human living spaces will be required to meet demands. Preserving what is left of the longleaf pine ecosystems through suburban planning requires mitigating techniques that leaves larger portions of the longleaf pines intact while grouping housing and other structures. Preserving larger portions of development properties for longleaf pine restoration will go a long way in saving the ecosystem from extinction. Given that the remaining 2% of longleaf pines represent critically endangered habitats, efforts must be made to conserve, restore, and manage as much of the remaining longleaf pine lands as possible, including small fragments in developed landscapes.
General Note:
Landscape Architecture capstone project
General Note:
Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:
AA00024262:00001


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Life Amidst the Pines: A Developers Guide for Designing within the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Adrienne Campbell

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I would like to thank my mother for supporting me in everything Ive ever chosen to do. You have spent countless hours encouraging and mentoring me, and I treasure every minute of it. I would also like to thank the faculty at the University of Floridas Department of Landscape Architecture for guiding me through this educational journey. Acknowledgements

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Habitat agmentation is the most serious threat to biological diversity and is the primary cause of the present extinction crisis. -Wilcox and Murph y

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Table of Contents Chapter ONE Project Introduction Chapter TWO Research Chapter THREE Research Summary Chapter FOUR Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Abstract Mission Goals & Objectives Research Case Studies Analyses Design Guidelines Concept Development Management Guidelines References 10 11 12 16 20 26 32 40 44 48 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Chapter One

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Project Introduction

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Abstract Over the past 150 years the Longleaf Pine ecosystem has suered a severe decline through logging, development, agriculture, human population, and re suppression. This ecosystem once covered the majority of the southeastern states for thousands of years and has now been reduced to small remnant patches that equate to less than 3% of its original extent. The longleaf pine ecosystem supports some of the rarest vegetation and animal species in the United States. It is dire that conservation initiatives be implemented within human population communities through careful and well thought out management planning. Future land development for suburban communities will continue as the need for more human living spaces will be required to meet demands. Preserving what is le of the longleaf pine ecosystems through suburban planning requires mitigating techniques that leaves larger portions of the longleaf pines intact while grouping housing and other structures. Preserving larger portions of development properties for longleaf pine restoration will go a long way in saving the ecosystem om extinction. Given that the remaining 2% of longleaf pines represent critically endangered habitats, eorts must be made to conserve, restore, and manage as much of the remaining longleaf pine lands as possible, including small agments in developed landscapes. 10

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To revitalize the Longleaf Pine ecosystem in Alachua Countys suburban areas while providing re wise home design. Mission

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1 Site Selection Goals & Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Site Planning 3 Design Development 4 Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

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Specic criteria were analyzed through GIS. Soils, topography, hydrology, and proximity to intensive urban and agriculture, yielding a lower impact om harmful smoke during needed routine prescribed burning, were analyzed to delineate a site within Alachua County. Delineating the most important areas for conservation (through site specic analysis of topography, soils, hydrology, and natural opportunities/constraints) and the most suitable areas for development on the chosen site. Design development such as specic plantings, construction guidelines and land zoning are all important factors for pyric design. Mitigation techniques is imperative throughout the property by incorporating re resistant homes and other structures, instituting several defensible space processes, installing an adequate, but minimal, roadway, and utilizing underground systems for power lines, cable, telephone, water and waste treatment systems. Active management plans are imperative for the remaining longleaf pine ecosystems within suburban areas. Continuous management will be implemented with aggressive guidelines ensuring mitigation within all defensible spaces. Initial eradication of native hardwoods and invasive species will be implemented within the longleaf pines conservation areas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Chapter Two

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Research

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Research The longleaf pine ecosystem at one time expanded over approximately 90 million acres within the Southeastern United States. At present, there is less than two million acres le and still continues to decline approximately 97 percent of this environmentally important ecosystem has been lost. The longleaf pine ecosystem evolved over thousands of years, for the most part as a single expansive ecosystem, through natural burnings every two to four years om the Carolinas down through Florida and across to Texas. Almost 900 plant species are found in longleaf forests and nowhere else in the world; in some longleaf forests 40 dierent species can be found in a single square yard. Now, it only exists in broken up patches throughout the Southeastern states, primarily in the coastal plains of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Land clearing for development and agriculture, logging, other pine species introduced with faster growth and prots, and re suppression are the leading culprits to the decline of this ecosystem. It is estimated that half of the longleaf pines are located on public lands. It is vital through active management, including prescribed burning, in order to preserve these species-rich systems before they are completely lost. Longleaf Pine Ecosystem & the Role of Fire A mere 150 years ago the Longleaf Pine dominated the landscape of the American Southeast. By 1930, nearly all of the virgin longleaf forests had been felled. Today, only about 2 million acres remain. Longleaf pine ecosystem is one of the most ecologically diverse in the world (rivaling rainforests), and is home to some of the most rare and unique plants and animals on the North American continent. Florida ecosystems have, over the course of millions of years, evolved adaptations to protect against natural occurrences of re. Some plant species use re as a control device, to diminish the amount of fuel such as du and detritus, while other species use re as a catalyst to open seedpods that have been lying dormant. The present forest communities have existed in Florida for the past 12,000 years and have relied heavily on the eects of re. Without the equent intervention of low-intensity res the Longleaf Pine ecosystem along with all of its extent species will eventually vanish om existence.

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Benets of re Eects of Fire Suppression -Cost-eective and environmentally iendly alternatives, especially to ecosystems that require routine burning, to mechanical or chemical methods of vegetation control -Reduce undergrowth that delineates risk of wildre that can cause property damage Frequent burning reduces pest insect density, such as ticks and chiggers. -Creates more attractive landscapes due to increased owering and reduces ground litter while improving the quality and esthetics of hiking trails -Improved habitat for wildlife, especially endemic vegetative and animal species dependent on routine burns -Environmental education opportunities focusing on restoration and conservation of the Longleaf Pine ecosystem Active management plans are imperative for the remaining longleaf pine ecosystems within suburban areas. These scattered ecosystems support many plant and animal species that are specically dependent upon the longleaf pine ecosystems. There is scientic, educational, and aesthetic value in conserving the longleaf pine ecosystems with a goal to restore habitat for at-risk species. Reducing hardwood densities, preventing further invasion of native hardwoods, and removing invasive species will require continual maintenance. The result of an open canopy and equent re also promotes the growth of herbaceous plants that animal species within the longleaf pine ecosystems depend on. Prescribed burning is costeective and an ecologically proactive measure that can be used to achieve results. Implementing management plan goals helps to enhance in biodiversity and natural community restoration.

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Research Prescribed Fire Unfortunately, current re-wise communities typically only burn once preventing the natural balance to be achieved within the longleaf pine ecosystems. Prescribed burning needs to occur on a regular schedule of every one to three years taking into account the growing season (Aprilearly June), which promotes the more showy owering species and eliminates unwanted fuels. Fire suppression creates an unhealthy habitat in regards to the endemic vegetative and animal species. The absence of routine prescribed burning allows increased populations of hardwoods (Quercus nigra, Liquidambar styraciua, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus falcata, Myrica cerifera, Vaccinium arboreum, Vaccinium stamineum, slashpines, etc...). Additionally, re suppression also allows invasive species, and insect pest populations to take over the ecosystem while suppressing newer longleaf pines om germinating. Routine prescribed burning is a management tool that reduces fuel for wildre, reduces native hardwood populations, and promotes wire grass seed production, the opening of Longleaf Pine cones while maintaining the ecosystems natural balance of endemic vegetative and animal species. Importantly, animal species like prairie gophers and gopher tortoises (endemic species) will leave the area if re is suppressed. 18 http://www.landscope.org/explore/ecosystems/disappearing_landscapes/longleaf_pine/

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The two major concerns regarding prescribed burning are rebrands and smoke. Smoke can cause major trac accidents as well as health hazards. Firebrands are airborne burning materials or embers that are carried upward by a re and deposited elsewhere. Firebrands are of special concern if Florida because of the tendency of saw palmetto, cabbage palm, and This diagram shows current areas where prescribed burning takes place within the urban sector. other vegetation to form airborne embers in a re. Although smoke and rebrands are a major concern re bosses are trained to only burn within specic weather parameters that help to mitigate these issues.

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Case Studies The Ranch at Roaring Fork Carbondale, Colorado This 420 acre community retains 80% of its property dedicated to open space and the space is prohibited om future development. Biodiversity is unusually high in this community due to the large areas of preservation. Although this development does not manage using re it is a good example of a community that uses mixed housing as well as retains a high portion of the site in preservation. The development has 77 single family homes and 66 attached condominium houses. -Mix of single family and multi-family housing -Education outreach provided by local extension oces -Priority of protecting native habitats -Waived traditional curb and gutter in exchange for grassy swales and shallow detention areas

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RiverCamps on Crooked Creek Panama City, FL 1,500 acres and less than 450 homes 2/3 of land in Conservation Very Sprawled out Selling point is Privacy. Almost every home is on 1 acre lot. Good example of Architecture with FL character. Developed om the beginning with wildland re safety in mind: -Wildland fuels will be aggressively thinned -Underground utilities -Fire hydrants every 1,000 feet -Home sites designed with protective zone of defensible space -Fire resistant construction materials http://rewise.org/ http://rewise.org/

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Case Studies Lakewood Bradford County, FL In May of 2002, in the small community of Lakewood a 40-acre muck re was naturally started on its southern border. The re had smoldered for months before breaking out on the surface. Eventually costing the city and state hundreds of thousands of dollars. Once the residents of Lakewood organized and tasks were accomplished, a sense of community never before felt by the residents had developed Issues that contributed to Lakewoods very high wildre hazard score: No pressurized or non-pressurized water system available Thick, highly ammable vegetation on most lots and on three sides of development One entrance/exit for the community Too narrow roads without shoulders, dead ends and small cul-de-sacs No defensible space around structures Structures have wooden siding and roofs with heavy accumulations of vegetative debris Unmanaged adjacent areas of forest or wildlands with high occurrences of wildre

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Summary: During development planning it is important to devise plans that will allow for safe routine prescribed burning. Further, management planning through developing better techniques to control smoke hazards need to be implemented within intense urban areas. Any future development planning should include not only defensible space, but also locating structures within safe areas that have a reduced smoke hazard. Smoke health hazards are of great concern during prescribed burning, especially within intensive urban and agricultural areas. Urban areas are a concern due to close proximity to hospitals, nursing homes, daycares, schools, and public roadways. Smoke hazards can cause or exacerbate existing respiratory conditions. In addition, smoke can cause automobile accidents on public highway systems when prescribed burning or wildres. In respect to agriculture, smoke can cause damage crops coming into season. However, prescribed burning is an eective and cost eective management tool used in preventing wildre and maintaining a healthy balance within pyric ecosystems.

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Chapter Three

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Research Summary

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Soils are deep, acid, moderately well to excessively drained, and mostly coarse textured throughout. Representative soils are Candler, Tavares, etc.... Topography is nearly level to strongly sloping lands on rolling hills. Hydrology of the longleaf pine community prefers dry to moderately wet conditions as water tends to move rapidly through the soils. Proximity to intensive urban and agricultural areas Hospitals, nursing homes, daycares, schools, and major roadways need to be at least 1 mile away om control burn areas due to smoke. Site Selection

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Synthesis: Further analysis revealed that the narrowed site was once dominated by longleaf pine in the recent past. Specic criteria were analyzed through GIS suitability modeling to delineate a site within Alachua County.

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Existing Conditions: This site is broken up into 12 parcels which are all privately owned. There are currently 9 mobile homes on the 241.5 acre site. 28

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Site Mitigation Presently, the density of the 241.5 acre site has overgrown with herbaceous hardwoods (Quercus nigra, Liquidambar styraciua, Magnolia virginiana, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus falcata, Myrica cerifera, Vaccinium arboreum, Vaccinium stamineum, etc...) and are mixed in with sandhill pine species (Pteridium aquilinum, Aristida stricta, Yucca aloifolia, Pinus palustris, Quercus laevis, Pityopsis graminifolia, etc...). Prior to any construction it is necessary to mitigate the site with respect to all four zones in creating eective defensible space that delineate re hazard. Within the rst zone, all hardwoods will be removed regardless of their density. In zone two, a two to three selected hardwoods, specically Quercus hemisphaerica and Quercus nigra, will be preserved. In zone three, mitigation will be slightly less stringent in the number of hardwoods preserved, again specially Quercus hemisphaerica and Quercus nigra. In zone four, removal of hardwoods will be the least stringent compared to the rst three zones giving way to preserving multiple hardwood species with consideration of their density. All four zones hardwoods will be given attention in pruning and thinning with a ground clearance of 10 feet om the lowest limbs emphasizing fuel ladder management.

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Site Planning is important for delineating the most important areas for conservation (through site specic analysis of topography, soils, hydrology, and natural opportunities/constraints) and the most suitable areas for development on the chosen site. Site Planning The synthesized analyses reveals some clear areas of suitability on the site. Steep slopes on the northwestern portion of the site prove to be hazardous to structures during prescribed burning as re tends to move quickly uphill. The existing roadway to the northeast of the site (marked in red) provides the perfect opportunity for protection om re for development directly to the south. 30

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Site Synthesis:

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Layout should include at least 2 access points, preferrably at opposite sides of site for safe evacuation during emergencies. Minimum 16 roadway width. All roadways double as re breaks. Minimum 15 canopy break. Roadways composed of all-weather hard surface material to accomodate emergency vehicles. Design Development Design development such as specic plantings, construction guidelines and land zoning are all important factors for pyric design. Mitigation techniques is imperative throughout the property by incorporating re resistant homes and other structures, instituting several defensible space processes, installing an adequate, but minimal, roadway, and utilizing underground systems for power lines, cable, telephone, water and waste treatment systems. Design Guidelines for Roadways: 32

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Vegetative fuel management is the key in lowering re hazard to homes and other structures. Fuel management protects the landscape om re and ignition to structures. Firewise has devised a 4 zone plan, as opposed to the more common 2 zoned concept that will further protect homes and structures om re. The 4 zone plan will be utilized in this project for optimum safety measures. Zone 2: The reduced fuel zone is 30-60 away om structures. The concept of this zone is to break up the continuous fuel areas by thinning and grouping small to mid-sized vegetation (such as shrubs) making it less ammable. Leave 30 feet between clusters of two to three trees, or 20 feet between individual trees. Mix deciduous and coniferous trees. Create fuel breaks, like driveways, gravel walkways and lawns. Zone 1: 30 around structures. The defensible space is the most critical zone concentrating in highly reduced fuel capacity. Plants should be carefully spaced, low-growing and ee of resins, oils and waxes that burn easily. Space conifer trees 30 feet between crowns. Trim back trees that overhang the house. Create a re-ee area within 5 of structure, using non-ammable landscaping materials and/or high moisture content annuals and perennials. Zone 3: 60-100 The idea in this space is ensuring that vegetation is separated vertically and horizontally by removing selected vegetation and/or trimming tree limbs away om lower vegetation preventing fuel ladders. Zone 4: Surrounds the rst three zones and is 100 feet and beyond around the structure. This is the zone that is managed by prescribed re and contains the majority of native longleaf pine plant materials. Design Guidelines for Landscape 34

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http://www.naparewise.org/DS%20Download/defensable-space-live/04_defensiblespace.html

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Design Guidelines for Landscape The suggested plants below reect the needs of each zone. 36

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Implementing re resistant materials to homes and conservatively implementing low-to-ground vegetation during designing, building, siting, and continual maintenance diminishes loss om re. Exterior Walls: Cement, plaster, stucco, and masonry (concrete, stone, brick or block) are all re-resistant materials for exterior walls. Windows: Double-pane glass can help reduce the risk of acture or collapse during an extreme re. Tempered glass is the most eective. For skylights, glass is a better choice than plastic or berglass as these materials tend to melt. Roong: Roong material with a Class A, B or C rating is re resistant and will help keep ames om spreading. Roong materials such as composition shingle, metal, clay, or cement tile are all re resistant. Eaves, Fascias, Sots and Vents: Box eaves, fascias, sots and vents, or enclose them with metal screens. Vent openings should be covered with 1/8 metal screen. Fences should be constructed of non-combustible materials like metal. Design Guidelines for Structures:

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Chapter Four

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Application

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Concept Development: The ndings gathered in the research, analysis, and guideline phases of this project were all utilized in the creation of program and a conceptual site plan. The 3 trailheads are the perfect opportunity for educational signage. All signage should be composed of non-combustible materials. Sign shall include: Locational map Information about the ecosystem and the need for re Information about the most recent prescribed burns Information about future prescribed burns Fun facts about the animals and insects within the ecosystem

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Concept Diagram:

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Mixing single family and attached single family housing decreases suburban sprawl 74 Housing Units on 1/2 acre 3/4 acre lots Design retains 71% of site for preservation & proper maintenance A community recreation area provides residents with amenities to promote a sense of community such as tennis courts a swimming pool and a large picnic pavillion for small gatherings. Meandering trails provide 1.5 miles of hiking through the longleaf pine preservation area and the northern portion of the site. Two access points of the development provide multiple opportunities for safe entry and exit in case of emergency. Open green spaces throughout the development allow for park-like opportunities such as picnics and sports. 42

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Site Plan:

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Active management plans are imperative for the remaining longleaf pine ecosystems within suburban areas. Continuous management will be implemented with aggressive guidelines ensuring mitigation within all defensible spaces. Initial eradication of native hardwoods and invasive species will be implemented within the longleaf pines conservation areas. 1) Existing utility corridor acts as a re break. 2) No combustible materials within the burn zone. 3) Burn edge @ least 100 om all structures. Clustered housing is the most ideal way to maximize the preservation of longleaf pine and minimizes the amount of zoning required. Clustering the housing between the burn area and road allows for more control of re and smoke during prescribed burning. Prescribed burning should occur once every 1-3 years during the growing season. Management

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The suggested management below reect the needs of each zone. Management Diagram

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Community Entrance 46

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References Arendt, Randall, and Holly Harper. Conservation Design for Subdivisions: A Practical Guide to Creating Open Space Networks. Washington, D.C: Island Press, 1996. Dahl, Bernie, Donald J. Molnar, and Donald J. Molnar. Anatomy of a Park: Essentials of Recreation Area Planning and Design. Prospect Heights, Ill: Waveland Press, 2003. DeBano, Leonard. Fires Eects on Ecosystems. 1998. Forman, Richard. Landscape Ecology. 1986. Heuberger, Kimberly. Putz, Francis. Fire in the Suburbs: Ecological Impacts of Prescribed Fire in Small Remnants of Logleaf Pine Sandhill. Restoration Ecology. March 2003. Kling, Carol. Malabar Station: Master Planning for Development within a Scrub Jay Habitat. 2003. Knicker, H. 2011. Pyrogenic organic matter in soil: Its origin and occurrence, its chemistry and survival in soil environments. Quaternary International 243: 251-263. Morrison, Darrel. Legend of the Longleaf Pines: An Interview with Leon Neel. Ecological Restoration. December 2004. Pert, C. Designed to Burn: Integrating Natural Resource Based Recreation Uses With Ecosystems Managed by Fire. Gainesville. Thesis Project. Putz, Francis. Dancing with the Pines: Perils and Joys of Ecosystem Restoration. The Palmetto. Summer 2006. Putz, Francis. Getting Started with Ecosystem Restoration. The Palmetto. Summer 2006. Smith, Jared. South Brevard Wildlife Corridor. 2004. Whelan, Robert. The Ecology of Fire. 1995. 48

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Image References http://www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/EPD/LandConservation/Pages/LandConservation.aspx http://www.archbold-station.org/station/html/land/remgtplan.html http://conserveorida.org/ http://rewise.org/ http://oridawildlifecorridor.org/ forestry.usu.edu http://www.landscope.org/explore/ecosystems/disappearing_landscapes/longleaf_pine/ http://www.naparewise.org/DS%20Download/defensable-space-live/04_defensiblespace.html