When taking a look at an area of study or discipline, it’s common to wonder about the future of the field and the impact of that discipline on our future world. In this month’s Horticultural Science Online Blog, we try to answer these questions by looking at what the future of horticulture might look like.
Horticulture Is Necessary
It’s estimated that horticulture accounts for $196 billion of the United State’s economy annually and employs 2 million people. That’s a lot of horticulture-related activity in our country. Because horticulture has applications in many fields and plays an important role in how we live and shop, jobs in horticulture are here to stay.
Horticulture and the Future of Sustainability
Horticulture contributes to the upward trends in sustainability and green energy. Buildings today are often built with green roofs or roofs covered with plants. These green roofs act as insulation, keeping buildings naturally cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which reduces the expense of and reliance on traditional heating and cooling methods. The roofs are also used in urban hydrology, taking in rainwater which can be used inside buildings for things like toilets.
As our society accepts and moves towards solutions to combat climate change, new buildings may increasingly use this methodology. Because of this, horticulture will play a crucial role in the architecture and maintenance of these solutions.
Horticulture and the Future of Infrastructure
It has been found that plants and trees play a role in preserving the conditions of roads. The protections offered by shady trees over roadways can save 60 percent in repaving costs, lengthening the lifespan of our nation’s streets. Across the world, including right here at home, more and more municipalities use green bridges to improve infrastructure, preserve nature and prevent accidents and damage caused by animals crossing busy roads. These elevated animal crossings or tunnels help preserve nature and keep habitats intact.
Horticulturalists can advise on the creation and construction of these concepts, with knowledge of how certain environments and specific plants respond to building projects or how to best mimic natural places. Building will continue to disrupt nature, so horticultural specialists are needed to advocate for and manage these alternative solutions.
Horticulture and the Future of Public Parks and Gardens
Public parks and gardens account for an enormous portion of tourism and revenue for cities around the country. Gardens accrue $2.3 billion in tourism spending, and parks also provide significant monetary value and public savings.
Our nation’s green spaces continue to be treasured and maintained for tourism and preservation. Because of this, horticulturalists, who care for and manage these gardens and parks, will be in demand.
These are just three ways that consider horticulture’s ongoing future roles. The impact of horticulture and horticultural science professionals is apparent, which hopefully promises continued job security and innovation in the industry.
Check back to the Horticultural Science Online Blog in the fall as we will take a short summer break.