Resilient Design Resource Kits

Restoring Biodiversity


Our society is dependent on natural resource extraction. The monetary value derived from ecosystem services and natural resource extraction, including water, timber, minerals, and fossil fuels, drives our economies at a rate of hundreds of trillions of dollars annually. Farming activities make use of 52 percent of US lands (USDA 2021) and contribute to a net loss of biodiversity through monocultures, factory farming, and overuse of pesticides and fertilizers. Extraction and conventional agriculture combined are detrimentally impacting ecosystems to undermine long term ecological resilience and human well-being. Increasing agricultural resilience, responsible and adequate land use remediation, and implementing effective forms of green infrastructure, are critical to maintaining biodiversity and preserving human and non-human survival, as biodiversity is central to system resilience and function.


Ecologists, planners, regional stakeholders, landscape architects, and conservationists can work together to remediate and reimagine post-extractive landscapes and restore areas depleted by conventional agricultural practices and livestock farming. Communities that protect ecosystems also protect livelihoods, tax bases, and government revenue sources, such as in the case of recreational economies. Designing to sustain and increase biodiversity enhances the quality and quantity of services that ecosystems provide. 

Interwoven threats of temperature rise, drought, wildfire, climate change, extractive practices, and urban development pose increasing threats to regional biodiversity. Wright Ingraham-Institute’s Grants program helps protect biodiversity by funding small- and mid-scale conservation and green infrastructure efforts both in and around the Colorado area, and globally. 


Resilient design and research efforts that focus on biodiversity loss and extraction might produce outcomes such as:

  • Adapting designed ecosystems to mitigate the stresses of urban life, using the approaches of biophilic urbanism. 
  • Designing services to preserve or restore natural ecosystem health can be alongside techniques for developing restorative agriculture, decentralized and integrated renewable energyscapes, and net-zero mass transit systems.
  • Improving public health outcomes by catalyzing everything from organic food and biomedicinals to recreation areas and green economic circularity.
  • Designing habitat and access accommodations for wildlife and native plants, for instance wildlife corridors as public parks that facilitate wildlife movement through human developments, allowing both wildlife and humans to coexist.
  • Promoting agriculture initiatives prioritize ecological health and plant diversity, as opposed to homogenized and destructive monocultures.
  • Developing integrated energyscapes and foodscapes also serve as a way to build communities.
  • Planning for the reforestation of native plant communities that can recreate ecosystemic balance in post-extractive contexts, to not only bring beauty and health to a place, but to increase the abundance of ecosystem services provided by that location.


Academic Papers

Beyond species loss: the extinction of ecological interactions in a changing world, Functional Ecology

Public Knowledge Production (Manuals and “Explainers”)

Designing Neighborhoods for People and Wildlife, ASLA

Why Are Animals Dying on Our Roads?, ARC Solutions

What Role Can Landscape Architects Play in Designing Wildlife Habitats?, The Dirt blog

Biophilic Cities Lead the Way to Urban Sustainability, The Dirt blog

Thomas Rainer: There Are No Mulch Circles in the Forest, The Dirt blog

Recreating Wildlife Habitat in Cities, The Dirt blog

Framing Biodiversity, One Story at a Time Re:Wild

Southwestern Desert Ecology Risk: Species and their Habitats, USGS

Policy Guides

The Science Behind the Need for Riparian Buffer Protection, WeConserve PA

Halting the Extinction Crisis, Center for Biological Diversity

Greenest City Action Plan, City of Vancouver


Interview with Janine Benyus on Designing Like Nature, ASLA

Interview with Nina-Marie Lister on Ecological Urbanism, ASLA

Interview with Kristina Hill on Climate Change and Biodiversity, ASLA

Interview with Os Schmitz on Recovering Polluted Ecosystems, ASLA

Example Products and Outcomes

What is missing? Maya Lin Studio (online artist project and archive)