Review Category : Sustainability

Biomimicry: Innovation in Landscape Design

Biomimicry: Innovation in Landscape Design By Wynton Wizinowich and Micah Barker How can we achieve that beautiful landscape desired by our clients while also reducing water consumption, pollution, and the ever-increasing cost of maintenance? Over the last 7 years while working for Bio-Scape Hawaii LLC, we have developed sustainable alternatives to conventional landscape practices. Through careful observation of natural ecosystems, we apply innovative design in built urban and residential environments. We couple our unconventional approach with high-end, naturally beautiful landscapes personalized for the client while also reducing water and labor by up to 75%. We achieve this through biomimicry, the learning from and then emulating natures forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable designs. There are countless ways to apply biomimicry, and if you study it closely, you will find many natural secrets to give you the edge in your projects. In this article, however, we strive to just share our key methods, the logic behind them and their benefits. Soil is far more complicated than even the leading... ...

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Olena and Turmeric Research at UH

Dr. Ted Radovich, Principal investigator of sustainable and organic farming systems laboratory associate prof, since 2006 Article by Heidi Bornhorst Olena or turmeric (Curcuma longa) syn. C. domestica, SE Asia, is one of our Hawaiian canoe plants. We have long valued and used it here in Hawaii.  It is a bit tricky to grow and perpetuate since it goes dormant in the winter time. It has very pretty flowers which we call ‘Pua Olena’ here in Hawaii.  We even have a mele and hula about Turmeric.  The leaves are attractive and grow separately from the flowers stalks, which emerge in late summer, after the leaves have been growing for a while. You can use the roots (rhizomes actually) for many recipes.  I grate mine with a micro planer, as I’m cooking and to add to drinks.  I keep the precious and ono rhizomes in the freezer until I’m ready to cook with them. “Poor man’s saffron” turmeric is another name for Olena It is the Base for common English /... ...

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Mala Ua: A Hawaiian Rain Garden

At one time, rainfall percolated into our island aquifers or flowed relatively clean into nearby water bodies as part of the water cycle.  As our lands have become developed, the installation of impervious surfaces, which prevent runoff from infiltrating into the ground, has changed the way water interacts with the environment.  As a result, less water is reaching our aquifers and an increased amount of polluted storm water is reaching our streams and ocean. Following rain, storm water picks up pollutants such as fertilizers, trash, and sediment carrying these to storm drains which empty directly into our streams and near shore marine environments.  Hui o Koʻolaupoko (HOK) is working to address these issues by installing rain gardens and other low-impact retrofits throughout Ko’olaupoko. A rain garden is a shallow, flat-bottom garden bed designed to serve as a collection and treatment site for storm water runoff from rooftops, driveways, walkways, streets, or parking lots.  Through the process of infiltration and phytoremediation, rain gardens can remove pollutants from runoff before water recharges aquifers or... ...

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Environmentally Friendly – Integrated Pest Management in the Sustainable Landscape

IPM (integrated pest management) is a good choice for sound solutions in dealing with pests. IPM promotes safe, least-toxic solutions to both pest and pesticide problems. What can IPM do for you? IPM helps you deal with pests, insects, and plant diseases with methods that help keep health and environmental risks as low as possible. IPM is integrated because it brings together, or integrates, a range of biological, organic, cultural, mechanical, and chemical options for pest problems. And it’s about management because you can only manage pests, you can’t eliminate them. Integrated pest management rarely relies on just one tactic, it integrates tactics to reduce pests to levels you can live with. The basics of IPM are as follows: Step 1: Be prepared, know your pests: What pests can you expect and how can you avoid them? Learn which tactics work, and under which conditions, when pests show up in your landscape. Learn about the beneficial organisms that can help you out. Step 2: Think prevention: It’s the first step... ...

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What is your definition of sustainability?

Being sustainable means many things to many people. As a business person, what is your definition of sustainability? Do you practice sustainability? Do your customers care about your sustainable business practices? Have you told them about your practices? Is there a connection between sustainability and government affairs? The answer is yes there is. One of the key aspects of sustainability in government affairs activity is in using best management practices (BMPs) in your agronomic or environmental practices. Many of the best practices have to do with the protection of water quality; some with saving water through how the landscape is designed. Within the industry, many are concerned that if these practices get defined for us by others, it’ll be through laws or regulations. Some people think they can save money by close scrutiny and adoption of the right BMPs. What is becoming obvious is that saving money and using BMPs does not have to be an all or nothing activity. For example, some people push native vegetation. If the customer... ...

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The Low Hanging Fruit: Canistel: One Sapote to Rule Them All!

The Low Hanging Fruit: Canistel: One Sapote to Rule Them All! By Adam Williams   The Canistel, also sometimes called the Yellow Sapote, is probably the showiest member of its family, Sapotaceae. I’ll be honest, this has never been my favorite tropical fruit, but it has always intrigued me, and is certainly deserving of more attention, in the back yard and commercially. I say it’s not my favorite because I love the concept of a perfect, delicious fruit to be eaten fresh out of hand (mostly because I am not fond of cooking). Although many would consider its ripe flesh quite delectable, the Canistel really shines with a little preparation, but more on that later. It is often fruiting in Hawaii during late Winter/early Spring (about now, hence my inspiration to write about it for this issue) and is more common than the average resident may be aware of. This time of year, look for fist-sized, oblong, shiny, bright yellowy-orange fruits contrasting with the thick, dark green foliage; they stand... ...

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Students rally to submit 10 landscape research poster abstract

It’s two weeks before the conference and there’s 10 terrific student abstracts submitted on landscape research projects. Click the link below for a preview of the 2013 LICH Student Poster Abstracts and learn the latest research by UH students. http://hawaiiscape.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2013-LICH-Student-Poster-Abstracts.pdf For more information on the criteria for submitting a research abstract go to: http://hawaiiscape.com/studentposterabstracts/ ...

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LICH Seeks Comments on Irrigation Water Conservation Specifications

LICH seeks comments on Irrigation Water Conservation Specifications. The LICH Irrigation Water Conservation committee has developed a draft version of specifications and design guidelines. This first draft is formatted for State of Hawaii construction specifications. We would appreciate your comments. Download the STATE Guidelines for Designing an Irrigation System and STATE 616 Irrigation System Construction Specifications. Comments due by 10/15/13.                                                                       – Construction Specifications. ...

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