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CAPPA Landscape Architect explores polyculture theory on UTA campus

December 16, 2015

A theory developed by CAPPA's landscape architecture professor David Hopman is being tested on the campus of The University of Texas at Arlington, and could change the way we think of planting and how it affects the environment.

Professor Hopman returned to UTA after a semester of faculty development leave that included collaboration with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth. It was in working with BRIT that Hopman developed his concept of polyculture planting, creating landscapes that incorporate different plant species together in such a way that they don't compete for resources at the same time.

LandscapeOnline.com explains:

Right now, it’s only a theory, but University of Texas at Arlington landscape architecture professor David Hopman believes his concept could someday prove beneficial for the environment.

He calls it “polycultures” — landscapes that combine different species of plants together, creating an optimal setting for them to thrive. His theory is that the plants in a polyculture use “timesharing” to exist and grow. This allows multiple species to coexist in the same spot because they're not in competition with the same resources at the same time, according to Hopman.

In simple terms, polycultures produce beneficial fungi and bacteria that can have a positive effect on the environment by increasing oxygen production. Polycultures can also attract a diverse insect species.

To find out more, read the entire article at LandscapeOnline.com.

You can read more about this project courtesy of Herb Booth at the UTA News Center. You can also see the work in action and hear Professor Hopman explain his work further in this short video: