Synergistic design: detailing the benefits of a green infrastructure approach in a Western Australian landscape
conference contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Simon KilbaneSimon Kilbane, Richard Weller, Richard Hobbs
The National Green Network (NGN) (Kilbane 2013) is a continental-scale Green Infrastructure (GI) research project that spans the Australian continent (Fig. 1). The research intent is to create an ecologically robust and interconnected protected area network design to enhance the resilience of the nation’s landscape, biota and peoples. It prescribes a framework of ecological corridors and vegetated linkages as a structure for ecological connectivity and to meet protected area policy targets defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, United Nations Environment Program 2010) and the National Reserve System (NRS, Commonwealth of Australia & National Reserve System Task Group 2009). The NGN was conceived through a design based approach which included ecological modelling, ground truthing and detailed design stages. The ground-truth stage conducted within a 25 x 25km study area at York in south-western Australia. This location was chosen as an exemplar of the complexity needed to be addressed to create a robust system and to test the pragmatics of implementing the design. This led to confirmation of the NGN as an over-arching framework that was then broadly adjusted by participants through a design charrette workshop. The creation of a final detailed NGN design is the focus of this paper. While the research method thus far created a flexible and ground-truthed design, to ensure accurate, measurable and visualised outcomes further work was required. Three different final design options were considered in terms of relative costs and benefits. The final preferred design outcome represents a ‘middle ground’, a synergistic design outcome that offers multiple ecological benefits and an array of ecosystem services.