Biodiversity in Southern California is disappearing in the wake of urbanization and industrial agriculture. Species and habitat loss have made our region, the coastal sage and chaparral of the California Floristic Province, a world biodiversity hotspot. Estimates suggest that the whole province, stretching the length of the state, has lost over 70% of its primary vegetation. Yet the province is still home to nearly 3,500 species of vascular plants, more than 2,100 of which are found nowhere else.
The Redford Conservancy is committed to policy, planning and design discourse toward conservation, restoration, and mitigative and adaptive strategies that induce resilience in remaining resource areas. This commitment extends from the classroom and to include scientific, behavioral and planning and design research and engagement projects.
The Conservancy intends to support comparative of studies of performance of landscape cover and use conditions. Close to the Pitzer campus, the native cover coastal sage and other California vegetative cover on the Outback, the Bernard Field Station and adjacent Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden offer an unparalleled group of native landscape research controls. Hypothetically these studies may model, monitor, and demonstrate hybrid design and management performance including linked energy and water performance.
Such research will support advances in design, planning and management protocols for mitigative, adaptive and more resilient landscape cover and land use approaches. Using, for example, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) hypotheses of the ecosystem foundations of human well-being, related comparative studies of native landscape cover settings with urbanized and agricultural settings could also be helpful in understanding differences between and synergies across the benefits of biodiversity and ecosystems services.