Cromarty Firth is an arm of the Moray Firth with an attractive landscape and rich wetland, in Scotland. There are various habitats in the Cromarty Firth that contains diversified wildlife. However, coastal erosion, which is a natural process that effect by many elements, is being exacerbated recently because of increased human modification. Pollution from human productive factor, sediment reduced by some human construction, and wave strengthened by climate change, are three main factors for increased coastal erosion.
The Project chooses Alness where is the most populous settlement with complex ecological and geological conditions. As a site with severe coastal erosion, Alness is thought to be the most potential area for detailed design. There are three main land use, farmland, rough grassland and wetland, in the coastal zone of Alness. By investigating the ownership of these landscapes, the rough grassland and wetland are both common space without ownership and social value that easier for transformation. Therefore, these two landscapes were chosen as my specific site.
Through critical analysis and investigation of the specific sites, the water pollution from the Dalmore distillery was thought to be the most important factor that exacerbated coastal erosion. Apart from coastal erosion, the biodiversity of the rough grassland where is a semi-derelict area that adjacent to the estuary is another issue. Because of lack of management, many dominated plants like common bent, tufted hair-grass are threatening less competitive species, decreasing the biodiversity of this area gradually. From a social perspective, there are low-frequency human activities on the site because of a lack of accessibility and attractive point. The social connection became the third issues for further research.
Finally, a sustainable ecological park is designed in the area, on the one hand, to mitigate coastal erosion by introducing the common oyster, common eelgrass, and common reed habitat to purify water, and increase sediment. In addition, oyster farming is a self-sufficient economy, which can increase employment for residents, especially for people in Alness, where is the highest unemployed settlement in Cromarty Firth. If the oil is exhausted in the future, the increased unemployed people can participate in oyster farming this eco-friendly economy. The derelict oyster shell can be reused for building oyster reef, while oyster reef can increase biodiversity which can supply rich seafood for local communities. This is a virtuous circle in an ecosystem. On the other hand, reinforcing connections with surroundings for both human and non-human is another objective of the park. The wildflower meadows and woodland are introduced here to enrich habitat for enriching biodiversity and boosting ecological connections with other landscape while different human experiential spaces are designed in the park to engage with both residents and visitors and foster social connections. Furthermore, the park can be a part of an eco-tourism network for both human and non-human.
In the future, in the face of global climate change and sea-level rise, the resilient park will become another landscape, create a different story for both human and non-human. Oyster farming can exist in perpetuity, boosting the economy and employment. The alder woodland will become wet woodland which is a highly valuable ecological habitat for wildlife.
To grow a successful, traditional wildflower meadow the fertility of the soil needs to be reduced. This is because all wildflower and grass seed need to touch bare soil. They also require a low level of competition with any vegetation already present to be able to germinate and survive. On the one hand, the yellow rattle, an annual flower and a hemiparasite of grasses will be introduced. It helps reduce the number and vigors of grasses and is a beneficial plant in grassland restoration and recreation. On the other hand, introducing grazing animals to damage vegetation and create bare ground for wildflowers. Then, various Scottish highland wildflower meadow seed will be sown in the area. In this way, wildflower meadows provide a fantastic habitat for wildlife to enrich the biodiversity of the ecosystem.
The common oyster, common reed, and common eelgrass habitat, on the one hand, purify water by transforming toxic substances into other organic matter through their organism. On the other, they can catch sediments that provide nutrients for different microorganisms. The habitat creates places for diversified species to forage, breed, and shelter, thereby increasing biodiversity. In this way, the reduction of pollution and enrichment of sediment can effectively mitigate coastal erosion, expand wetland and promote a virtuous cycle of the entire ecosystem.
In rack-and-bag culture, oysters are placed into oyster grow-out bags, then tied to a steel rack. This method is highly dependent on the tidal range of an area. Dynamic water can flow completely around the oysters allowing them to feed faster and be protected from crabs and other predators.