Decompositions pt III :
Can sharing spaces teach us an animal’s understanding of a global ecosystem?
Wild animals have evolved with their ecosystems over millennia. Therefore, many are known to be integral parts of their ecosystems, maintaining balance through foraging, hunting, and spreading of seeds, pollen and nutrients. Honeybees have the need to create honey, which they use for sustenance during the winter months. To make honey, the bees must spend the spring and summer gathering pollen from thousands of plants, consequently pollinating the plants. Through the bees, the plants are able to reproduce. Additionally, honeybees create architecture of their own - pristine densely packed hexagonal cells for storing pollen, honey, and larvae.
Migratory birds engineer ecosystems on opposite sides of the planet. When cold weather comes in one of their homes, many species fly across the globe in a great migration to warmth in another home, following ancient senses such as a sense of earth’s magnetism. Species such as osprey also link together the air and the water by hunting fish, diving to extreme depths to reach their prey.
Can sharing spaces with ecosystem engineers teach us how to be responsible engineers and designers?
Melissopalynology is the study of pollen contained in honey, which can determine the plant that is the pollen source. This study can lead to important conclusions about the health of a region’s plant and animal species.
In this design scenario, shared spaces are winter refuges. As winter approaches in the high places, birds depart on their migration and bees go dormant, huddling together for months on end. In the above image, airships too, go dormant. The airships dock onto signal towers and are frozen over to form mountain icecaps. Researchers spend the winter researching pollen from the dormant honeybee hives to determine which habitats need what kinds of ecosystemic engineering. During the spring awakening, the airship-icecaps are melted and minerals, seeds, and nutrients are sent downstream on the snowmelt to meet the other habitats.
As birds return for the summer, they are communed with and researched to learn about their winter homes on the opposing hemisphere. By sharing spaces with these ecosystem connectors, humans receive insights into the intricacies of the natural world on a micro and global scale.