Fire in Landscape Management – Strategies for Living with It

Fire is a natural process in almost all North American ecosystems. It creates and maintains habitat for a host of wildlife species, cycles nutrients, refreshes prairies and grasslands, is a necessity for many plant and animal species of special concern, enhances various recreational activities, and reduces fuels for the next fire.

However, when it enters the human environment as a wildfire it can be disastrous.  Landscape management practices play a key role in reducing wildfire impacts.

One important practice is designing and maintaining landscapes within the guidelines of defensible space which can improve a home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This webinar will discuss defensible space and other strategies for landscape design and maintenance to reduce wildfire risk. Key elements of those strategies include removing dead or dry plant material, maintaining recommended horizontal and vertical clearance between plants and buildings, reducing other flammable materials, appropriate use of ground covers and mulches, and more.  The webinar will also address prescribed fire, an essential tool for managing natural landscapes, wildlife habitat and biological diversity.  Thoughtful use of prescribed fire can also decrease threats to human life and property posed by wildfire through active fuels management. We will discuss key principles and practices in managing prescribed fires for a variety of objectives and provide examples of its use and benefits. Compared to wildfire, prescribed fire minimizes human impacts by controlling fire intensity, smoke dispersal and ecological effects.

Alan Long is Professor Emeritus with the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida. He retired from UF in 2010 to serve as Administrative Director of the Southern Fire Exchange, a regional science delivery consortium funded by the Joint Fire Science Program.  His teaching, extension and research activities at UF included fire ecology and management, forest operations, private forest management, and continuing education for professionals. He spent 10 years focusing both research and outreach on WUI fire hazard assessments and issues.  He served as statewide coordinator for forestry extension, organizing and conducting dozens of landowner workshops, and spent many years as chair of the annual Florida SAF-SFRC Spring Symposium, a professional conference for 100-200 people. Dr. Long has received numerous awards, including the Herbert Stoddard, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Fire Ecology; and the Public Education & Technology Transfer Award, Southeastern Society of American Foresters. He authored or coauthored 27 refereed publications and over 70 extension and other publications and reports.

Farming on the Wild Side: Regenerative Production Practices Based on Multifunctional Perennial Plantings

In this webinar, John Hayden will emphasize the ecology and the positive benefits of regenerative farming practices (carbon sequestration, water quality improvement, wildlife and pollinator habitat), and the plants that make for an economically viable system.

Mr. Hayden will explain how his family’s farm has evolved over the years, how their edible landscape and conservation plant nursery fits into the model, and how they apply biodiversity in their farmscape to get the results that conventional growers attain using fertilizers and pesticides.

He will cover how multifunctional perennial plants like elderberry, aronia, willow, and dogwoods are an important part of the farm income and ecology. Ideas for creating nesting and food habitat for pollinators, insectaries for beneficial insects, and bird habitat for biological control of pests will also be shared.

John Hayden and his wife Nancy are co-owners of The Farm Between in Jeffersonville, VT. The farm is a certified organic nursery and fruit farm, and grows multi-functional perennial plantings without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Over the past 25 years he and his wife have developed a biologically diverse, ecologically based, economically viable business model. Mr. Hyden did his MS research on apple pest ecology, and has over 35 years of experience in sustainable agriculture as a college educator, extension agent, international consultant, and practicing farmer.

Quest for Resilience: Adaptive Strategies for Sustainable Plant Design

What do changing weather patterns mean with regard to how we design the landscape? In this webinar, Laura Hansplant will examine the concept of resilience with regard to landscape design.

Using a series of case studies and practical examples, she will discuss how we can replicate plant community dynamics and structure to foster robust and adaptable landscapes. She will also emphasize the importance of cultural expectations and their implications for ecologically-based planting design.

Laura Hansplant is a landscape architect and co-owner at Roofmeadow. Previously with Andropogon Associates, she has over 20 years’ experience in sustainable landscape design. She has worked on projects in a variety of locations ranging from Toronto to Virginia. Her current work explores dynamic approaches to planting design for urban landscapes.

Free Webinar: Backyard Carbon Sequestration – How You Can Help

Landscapers and gardeners have long known that soil is not simply the stuff that props up plants. But not everyone knows that organic and native plant gardening practices can help mitigate climate change by building and protecting soil health.

In this webinar presentation, Adrian Ayres Fisher will review the characteristics of healthy soil, how plants and soil life work together to store carbon below ground, and how gardeners and landscapers can make a difference in the fight against climate change.

Adrian Ayres Fisher, a Chicago-area native, is Sustainability Coordinator at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois. Among other duties, she is in charge of two large rain gardens and a small prairie area that is certified as a Monarch Waystation. She is active in Chicago Wilderness initiatives, the West Cook Chapter of Wild Ones, and volunteers with the Plants of Concern rare-plant-monitoring program in Cook County Forest Preserves. She has trained and volunteered as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and was the native plant buyer for an independent nursery. Her backyard pollinator reserve has been included in local garden walks. Ms. Ayres blogs at and is a featured writer at

Sustainable Landscape Applications, Applied Ecology, Ecological Services, and Biomimicry

When we typically look at the landscapes in our neighborhoods, city streets, and shopping centers, what do we see? Do we see landscapes that provide a trophic level of habitat which processes our storm water and remediates pollutants? Do these landscapes bring a sense of place by reflecting the natural communities of the region? The answer is no.

Our vision and sense of aesthetics for landscapes has been shaped by marketed expectations toward sterile landscapes that are the single biggest consumer and polluter of water, that have high carbon footprint and are kept chemically frozen in time. These landscapes are a desert for wildlife such as pollinators and birds. The loss of habitat and environmental degradation are manifest by development with increased impervious surfaces resulting in intense storm water runoff, erosion, and increased pollutants entering our soils and water.

How do we reverse this paradigm from traditional sterile landscapes to acceptance of diverse native landscapes? Why is it important to consider our landscapes as ecosystems? How can we utilize and apply the science of mycoremedation and phytoremediation to heal our soils and clean our water?

Rick Huffman’s program will frame the paradigm shift in designing and implementing landscapes that are ecologically diverse and that function to support wildlife as applied ecology. Mr. Huffman will demonstrate that by using a holistic approach to design and create living systems of soils, native plants, fungi, and bacteria we can reverse the current paradigm. Through the process, we expand our awareness of applied science thus creating an understanding, awareness, and acceptance of a different way of producing high quality, visually pleasing landscapes that give back by supporting all trophic levels of our landscape ecology.

Rick Huffman is principal and founder of Earth Design Inc., a leading Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture firm. With over 30 years of experience in landscape design, horticulture, bioengineering, and ecology, Mr. Huffman has particular expertise in native plants as they occur in natural models. As founder and past-president of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, he has brought awareness of these natural models to the public through presentations and workshops on a statewide and regional level. Mr. Huffman has a strong commitment to education and has worked with local schools and has conducted numerous environmental education workshops for the South Carolina Wildlife Federations Schoolyard Habitat Program, the Environmental Educators Association of South Carolina (EEAC), and the South Carolina Marine Educators Association (SCMEA). Mr. Huffman is a member of The American Society of Landscape Architects and is active in the US Green Building Council’s South Carolina Chapter. He was named the Upstate Forever Volunteer of the Year for 2010 and he received the 2003 Environmental Educator of the Year Award from the Environmental Educators Association of South Carolina. In 2006, Mr. Huffman received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Awareness for his educational outreach and conservation efforts across the state.