Built Environment Fellowship 2021
Dr Tijana Blanusa, Royal Horticultural Society

The research project ‘Putting the ‘Green’ into Green Infrastructure’ builds on Dr Blanusa’s past research into various forms of green infrastructure (cultivated plants and landscapes). Hedges as a study subject are chosen as a simple, space-saving, cost-effective green intervention with the potential to alleviate a number of local environmental issues. While the research to date (including Dr Blanusa’s own) clearly highlights hedges’ potential to be a positive environmental force, there is very little information on the performance of mixed hedges and their comparison to evergreen hedges on an annual basis. The research supported through this Royal Commission Fellowship will focus on closing this knowledge gap.

There is a host of ecological reasons why mixes, rather than monocultures, should be considered. The research happening in 2022 and 2023 will explore the mechanistic detail of whether certain plant mixes with particular structural/functional characteristics provide a higher level of ‘environmental services’, and will identify the underpinning traits that enable this. Learnings from the research can be extrapolated to future planning of urban green interventions beyond the life of this project.

Project Aims

  1. To investigate the hypothesis that mixed cultivated planting outperforms single species in a year-round context and for the delivery of multiple simultaneous environmental benefits
  2. To develop a case study in a school setting to test the efficiency and impact of simple and relatively low-maintenance planting solutions for high-use and risk-averse setting such as schools
  3. Showcase outcomes of this research through RHS communication channels, within RHS’s flagship garden and flower show, in a public-facing report and as an internal research report/draft paper for publication in peer-reviewed journal

September 2022 © James Hadley

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