Manipulation of landscape elements, such as structures, landform, water, and vegetation, can improve the operation of an existing AWMS or help to integrate a new AWMS into the farmstead. Each farm can be viewed as a series of spaces used for different operations linked together by roads or paths. The arrangement of structures, landform, water, and vegetation within this system affects aesthetic quality, operational efficiency, energy consumption, runoff, and specific functions on the site. Manipulation of these elements can establish desirable views, buffer noise, determine circulation of animals and equipment, manage odor, modify air temperature, affect snow or windblown soil deposition, and optimize use of available space. In addition, proper placement can help reduce health and safety hazards and enhance quality of life values.
Structures provide space for ongoing farm activities by creating enclosure. Existing barns, sheds, houses, fences, storage tanks, ponds, and silos are structural elements to be considered when siting components of an AWMS.
Planning for new AWMS components may give the decisionmaker an opportunity to update and reorganize farm structures and land uses between them. Existing operations and equipment may have indoor and outdoor spaces very different in size and shape than those currently needed. Structures also provide options for collecting runoff, channeling wind, controlling circulation of animals and equipment, and separating use areas.
Landform can be used as it occurs on the site or is modified to improve farm operations, direct or screen views, buffer incompatible uses, reduce massiveness of aboveground structures, control access, improve drainage, and influence microclimate. Existing land-forms give each landscape its distinctive character. Landforms often provide a backdrop for an AWMS
(fig. 8-1) and serve as a model for designing new landforms, such as embankments, berms, and spoil disposal mounds.
Integrating aboveground AWMS components into flat landscapes (fig. 8-2) is more difficult because structures often project above the horizon as prominent features. Many landform modifications can be employed to address this and other site conditions or land user objectives. Excavated soil, for example, can be used to build small landforms to reduce the prominence of new components. This effect is further enhanced through the addition of vegetation.
In excavating for a pond or lagoon, the shoreline can be irregularly shaped with smooth, curved edges to make the pond or lagoon appear natural (fig. 8-3).
Operation and maintenance requirements of the structure need to be considered. Embankments may also be shaped to match the surrounding landform.
Water has magnetic appeal. It can add to aesthetic quality, modify temperature, serve as a buffer between use areas, or divert attention from undesirable views.
Vegetation can also be used to organize space and circulation; establish desirable views; buffer noise, wind, or incompatible uses; reduce massiveness of aboveground structures; absorb particulates to reduce odor; cool air temperature; and reduce soil erosion and runoff. As with other elements, vegetation can be used to divert attention to other features.
Because native plants are often more hardy than introduced species of vegetation, they are recommended if compatible with the landscape setting. Existing vegetative patterns, such as hedgerows, stream corridors, and even-aged stands of trees or shrubs, can be expanded or duplicated with plantings to integrate a new AWMS into an existing landscape.
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