Before the Stopover

Landscape Architecture G3 Directed Research / Spring 2018 / Kristi Cheramie

Mitchell Scherer

Before the Stopover: Restoring Bio-Diversity in the Anthropocene Through High Altitude Seed Dispersal


The extreme energetic demands of long-distance migration make it a challenging and vulnerable time for birds—marked by high mortality rates and extreme physiological stress. The greatest threat to migratory birds is human destruction of stopover habitats through commercial development, agriculture, and the introduction of new competitors and predators in stopover areas.

Passerine birds, classified as “mechanism species,” consume seeds that survive their gut passage and can effectively disperse seeds throughout thousands of miles of landscape. Passerine migrant birds mediate colonization of plants in remote areas of the world. This project reconciles the demands of human consumption of land with the needs of priority birds to facilitate landscape management strategies that evolve and adapt over time.

By using socioeconomic and environmental interactions among different sites simultaneously, designers in landscape architecture can alter the passerine bird distribution to serve an ecological function and challenge the notion that non-human worlds are somehow separate from our own.