My trip took me through a series of observations spanning the ecology of water of the Blackland Prairie. Characterized by heavy black soils, a gentle topology, and vast tall grasslands, the land is sparsely dotted with native prairie sites, the home of a variety of ecological organisms. It is descriptive of distinctive belts of land characterized by different ecological revelations, a transition from plateau land, savannah, to extensive Oaklands. I could identify as part of the Prairie ecosystem over 150 plant species, several species of birds, and insects. I realized that the tall prairie grass was frequently burned to restore soil fertility and allow for the growth of a variety of other species. An inquiry from one of the farmers revealed that this had been the trend since the first settlement.
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An imprint from the land’s history about the ecology and culture of water revealed noticeable climatic changes, drastic soil erosion, and loss of biodiversities, what Patchett and Wilhelm agree on (7). I learned that water always infiltrated the land through the soil, the sedges, and deeply rooted grass in the soils, determined in part by the topology of the land. Recharge was achieved by the movement of water through different soil dissolving chemicals in the process. That influenced the chemical characteristics of plants growing on those soils. I observed that concerted efforts had been made to preserve biodiversity contrary to Patchett and Wilhelm‘s argument on preservations (18). Traversing the land, a sanctuary to many wildlife species revealed how rivers and their tributaries criss-cross the land. Nevertheless, the effects of urban expansion are evident. Vast lands are going to urban development while animal sanctuaries are drastically reducing.
I learned from the culture of the farmers how the ethical sequence of the ecological evolution had extended an ethical structure to ecological and philosophical definitions in the social and political context of group symbioses. I noted that the structure extended further to the relationships between individuals and society and the third elements of land, animals, and plants for their continued existence in a natural state and how it integrates the mutual respect for land and fellow community members (168). In light of the Prairie community, I learned that ethical mechanisms do not differ on social approval for rights, disapproval for wrongs, and advancements in intellectual perceptions about the use of land. My trip made me learn that the settlers’ problems determined the Prairie land ethics practices (Leopold 169).
The prairie is an integral part of the ecosystem. Characterized by a variety of water holding systems, the prairies positively contributes to the ecosystem through the rich amounts of deep black soils that are created when ecological processes take place. Well designed landscapes significantly reduce soil loss through erosion. In addition to that, preserving nature improves our aesthetic views of the environment. Continued burning of the prairie lands adds rich soils to the ground and the preservation of nature leading to a balanced ecosystem. Other benefits include reduced air pollution, reduced water pollution, better biomass, and a better moral story from the community, more game habitats, easy movement of wild animals, a more diverse species, increased organic decompositions, prevent tree encroachments, and an excellent carbon cycle. Native prairies are preserved to maintain the temperature and physical-chemistry and physiognomy of the vegetation, an observation I made while on the trip (Robertson 1).
I could observe that natural habitats were threatened with extinction including special plants with strict physiological parameters which constitute a complex system, due to modernization processes, what Downer agrees on (1). Aesthetical views of land full of native grasses, replete with comely appearances, colorful insects, and beautiful flowers to say the least are preserved in this ecosystem. I could see a variety of wildlife species, a beautiful landscape, and a landscape that speaks of people keen on preserving it. I went through a Prairie garden restoration process. The garden, I observed, could be restored by selecting grass species to plant and planting them according to specifications laid down guidelines, a process also affirmed by (Tales 1). According to my observation, successfully restored land could lead to standing vegetation that is weeded through methods such as herbicides, mowing, and grazing.
A prairie garden is designed by selecting a garden theme, identifying and classifying the soil, determining the soil’s moisture content, types of plants to grow, and the land topology. The seedbed is prepared and seedlings are transferred to the appropriate land for transplanting. A landscaping design prepared as a guide could be used.
Through observations, it is incumbent for landscape architects to learn about the ecological significance of the prairies and other wetlands. As of native landscape designs, cultural links to Prairie reservation, varieties of Prairie plants and how to preserve them, how to restore and preserve the Prairie landscape, the effects of drought, features to consider in designing a Prairie garden, land preparation procedures, and the type of plants to grow on these rich soils are lessons to learn. A lesson that instills skills about landscaping and benefits accruing thereof, particularly the contribution to environmental approaches of integrating the need for men to preserve these lands, water ecology, and our relationship with the environment in landscape design. Landscapers could also understand the commercial value, recreational value, Biotic value, scientific value, aesthetic value, legal, ethical responsibilities when carrying out their activities and other stakeholders in the prairies.
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Downer, James. Landscape Notes. 2007. Web.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sandy Country Almanac. The Land Ethics. Psel. 167-190. 2001.
Patchett James, M and Wilhelm Gerould, S. “The Ecology and Culture of Water” Conservation Research Institute. 375 W. First Street, Elmhurst, IL 60126. 2008.
Robertson, Ken. The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois. Settlement. 2008. Web.
Tales, Rafter. 2008. Web.