The Importance of Native Landscape Choices in the Face of a Changing Climate

New England Aster, Symphyotrichum novae-anglia, in bloom at Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Throughout the summer and into September this year, Pennsylvania has been noticeably hotter and more humid than historical norms. This extreme heat slows plant growth and increases moisture loss, stressing plants beyond what’s normal for this time of year, and creating a greater need for maintenance. According to data from NASA and NOAA, every month of 2016 has reached record levels of warmth. High temperatures in the Arctic created record-low sea ice levels this year, and the oceans’ warming led to massive coral bleaching events . As the consequences of global warming continue to affect more and more communities, thinking in an ecologically conscious way becomes not only important, but urgent. We must act now, not later, to minimize our impact and maximize positive environmental contributions on our part.

Refugia recognizes the importance of thinking globally and acting locally, and creates ecologically sound designs to cope with the effects of climate change and minimize contribution to environmental degradation. It may not be possible to create landscapes that are entirely immune to big storms and record-breaking temperatures, but by choosing native species that work in conjunction with one another to create resilient landscapes, we can give our spaces the best opportunities to thrive in ever-changing conditions. For example, by choosing to plant many perennials, Refugia ensures a rich, stabilizing root system beneath the surface of its landscapes that reduces soil erosion and runoff in big storm events, which continue to become more common in the warming climate.

Through establishing havens for wildlife and biodiverse plant communities, Refugia takes climate change science into account and creates resilient and beautiful landscapes.

To read more about record setting temperatures in 2016, check out the article written by Andrea Thompson at Climate Central: