Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

David Hopman


North Central Texas is expected to undergo increased population growth and density inside and outside of current municipal boundaries. As development increases to meet the needs of the growing population, the landscape is transformed, which results in the loss or homogenization of species (McKinney, 2006; Vitousek, Mooney, Lubchenco, & Melillo, 1997). This study examined how landscape architects can quickly assess biodiversity on a project site before and after construction without specialized knowledge or skills. Three methods were used to collect data for this study: interviews, a DNA assessment of soil fungi, and a rapid biological assessment (BioBlitz). Two groups were interviewed: a group containing biologists, ecologists, and naturalists, and a group comprised of registered landscape architects and designers. The biologist group expressed, in general, dismay at the clearing of land before construction and the lack of ecologically viable vegetation replacements afterwards. The designer group expressed frustration with restrictive codes in some cities and the lack of knowledgeable installers on some projects. Few designers expressed interest in exploring biodiversity in depth. For this research study, it was determined to use a simple BioBlitz with hand collection as a model for biodiversity evaluation. The trial was conducted on a 1500 square foot plot with a polyculture of intermingled plantings native to the area. About 35 distinct species of organisms were found by ten students over a 120 minute period. Soil fungal analysis showed a gradient in the plant root-associated fungus present in the soil, which indicated the most biologically active soil community occurring in a mixed native polyculture planting located on the University of Texas at Arlington campus. There is a need for landscape architects to lead the conversation with clients and policy makers about incorporating habitat for biological diversity. If landscape architects do not fulfill this role in the development process, there is a real possibility that no other professionals will. By simply observing and documenting existing flora and fauna, they can illustrate the need to design for and preserve biological diversity and gradually become more knowledgeable about this vital design parameter.


landscape architecture, biodiversity attitudes


Architecture | Landscape Architecture


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington