Mapping landscape dynamics in South Florida.
The Captiva Plant Inventory was completed in partnership with the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation as part of the adaption of a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico. Species composition, overall size, health, habit, cultural significance and location were recorded in a field and then translated into a plant inventory catalog, corresponding reference spreadsheet, and shareable web-based map. The plant inventory sets the course for a design that works with plant life and the changing landscape.
A “site plan” evokes permanence, a static reading that outlines the formal imprint of design. But design for a changing climate necessitates temporal attention in order to keep pace with urgent, and sometimes fierce dynamics. A “plant inventory” informs the “site” beyond formal outlines, as it charts the dynamic transformation of plant life, establishing a baseline for past and future change. A site without an inventory is blank, seemingly devoid of life beyond circulation routes and building footprints.
Elkin, R.S. "An Impermanent Inventory: Plant Collections for a Changing Climate" in Arnoldia (2021)
The landscape is not the background of these vectors and figures, it is a living source of adaptive feedback. The suggestion is that the knowledge of how to create and maintain a “plant inventory” is becoming more crucial to landscape practices, informing the effects of accelerated climate change beyond research institutions and arboreta.