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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1310; doi:10.3390/su9081310

Home Gardenscapes as Sustainable Landscape Management on St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean

Department of Geography, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
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Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Landscape Management)
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Abstract

Home gardens are an important topic for landscape research due to their intersectional contributions to plant diversity conservation and local livelihoods. As sites of ecological restoration, gardens transform small-scale landscapes toward higher plant richness and density. We examine “gardenscapes” on St. Eustatius, a small Caribbean island, focusing on how plants growing around a home contribute to ecological and ethnobotanical measures of plant diversity, and how residents value the importance of gardens to their livelihoods. Through a survey of 14 gardenscapes and 11 home interviews, we report 277 plant species, including 31% native and 69% non-native, high plant densities and structural evenness, 260 plants with uses, and a total of 363 uses, especially as ornamental plants (184) and for other environmental services (16), but also food (101), health remedies (50), material uses (10) and symbolic services (2). Participants indicated that home gardening could be difficult due to drought and pests, but provided resources and incomes to livelihoods, especially through the production of food products. Several respondents reported that gardening was a declining activity on St. Eustatius, but this study shows how gardening activities offer a biocultural approach to conservation that supports plant diversity and livelihoods across the island’s highly-modified natural landscape. View Full-Text
Keywords: Caribbean; ethnobotany; gardens; plant diversity; restoration; sustainable landscape management Caribbean; ethnobotany; gardens; plant diversity; restoration; sustainable landscape management
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Berkowitz, B.N.; Medley, K.E. Home Gardenscapes as Sustainable Landscape Management on St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1310.

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