Nature Conservation

A branch of moral philosophy which propounds that natural resources and their use, allocation, and protection are significant and of value. Conservation is concerned with maintenance of the health of the natural world, it habitats and ecological systems and its diversity and the material, non-living resources on which the natural world is based such as air, water, climate soils, minerals and also the energy not consequent on human activity.

Nearly all of the world’s surface has been more or less modified by mankind, and so naturalness may be considered as being on a scale of naturalness from nearly entirely unmodified by man to nearly entirely modified. For instance, a city is largely unnatural while Arctic tundra may be relatively unaffected by human activity. Even something like a garden hedge fits within this idea. While it may appear natural because it grows from the ground, it has actually been cultivated into a form that is pleasing to the gardener. This doesn’t mean, however, that it can’t be included in conservation. Certain measures, like not cutting a hedge during nesting season, can make a huge difference when it comes to protecting wildlife. People who grow hedges and are not sure when the best time to cut them maybe can consult an expert, like this hedge trimming contractor in Toronto, for some more information.

Man tends to under-estimate the extent of human impact. For example, birch forests covered 25-40% of Iceland when it was settled during the tenth century, but much of that forest was removed due to felling and subsequent grazing within the next century. Now, one of the most well-known sights in Iceland is the Svartifoss (black waterfall), which people can find out more about on this page. Forests aren’t as prominent as they used to be. Currently, forests cover just 0.5% of Iceland, although the Icelandic government has made afforestation one of its priorities in its climate action plan published in September 2018. You also have to take into consideration that 11% of Iceland is covered in ice, meaning many trees struggle to grow in their climate. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped Iceland becoming a popular tourist and vacation destination. If you are interested in visiting, this travel guide ( might be useful.

The science of ecology and ecological thinking has had a major impact on landscape architecture in the twentieth century and in consequence nature conservation has become significant in landscape architecture work. Indeed the 2008 Charter of the Landscape Institute states that the objects and purposes on the Institute are “to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the benefit of the public by promoting the arts and sciences of Landscape Architecture“, (i) and in part defines landscape architecture as “… the assessment, conservation, development, creation and sustainability of landscapes with a view to promoting landscapes which are aesthetically pleasing, functional and ecologically and biologically healthy …” (ii). Furthermore restoration ecology and ecological design can be areas of landscape architecture studies.


(i) Landscape Institute Charter, July 2008 clause 5(1).

(ii) Landscape Institute Charter, July 2008 clause 5(2).

Further reading

Michael Conan, Environmentalism in Landscape Architecture (History of Landscape Architecture Colloquium) Harvard University Press: 2001 ISBN 0884022781