Leadership & Governance

ASLA Code of Environmental Ethics

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Members of the American Society of Landscape Architects should make every effort within our sphere of influence to enhance, respect, and restore the life-sustaining integrity of the landscape for all living things.

Members should work with clients, review and approval agencies, and local, regional, national, and global governing authorities to educate about, encourage, and seek approval of environmentally positive, financially sound, and sustainable solutions to land-use, development, and management opportunities.

The following tenets are the basis of the ASLA Code of Environmental Ethics:

  • The health and well-being of biological systems and their integrity are essential to sustain human well-being.
  • Future generations have a right to the same environmental assets and ecological aesthetics.
  • Long-term economic survival has a dependence upon the natural environment.
  • Environmental stewardship is essential to maintain a healthy environment and a quality of life for the earth.

Ethical Standards

As landscape architects and Members of ASLA, we have an ethical obligation to:

ES1  Support and facilitate the environmental public policy statements of the Society, a synopsis of which follows:

ES1.1  The coastal zone and its resources should be preserved, developed, and used in a carefully planned, regulated, and responsibly managed manner.

ES1.2  Parks and public areas throughout the world should be created, expanded, and managed for the well-being of the populations and resources of this planet.

ES1.3  Public lands should be maintained and administered in a manner promoting ecosystem health, while recognizing special issues relating to stewardship and long-term sustainability inherent in wildland environments.

ES1.4  State, regional, and local governments should continue to build on the strong nationwide legacy of parks and other protected public areas to preserve lands of significance for future generations and provide safe and healthful outdoor recreational opportunities for all citizens, while conserving landscape character and natural, historic, and cultural resources.

ES1.5  Open space preservation should be incorporated into every planning effort, from the regional to the site level.

ES1.6  The rural landscape is a limited resource that is vital to the well-being of the earth's life forms; the rural landscape's essential qualities should be conserved as the competing needs of a growing population are met.

ES1.7  Historic sites, districts, and cultural landscapes should be identified, inventoried, evaluated, classified, protected, and enhanced to ensure that they are available for the education and enjoyment of this and future generations.

ES1.8  The appropriate use of vegetation in the built environment is a major influence on the quality of life in a healthy environment; re-created indigenous plant communities or representative communities should be integrated into the built environment with attention given to appropriate species selection and the creation of a suitable growing environment.

ES1.9  The character and condition of the visual environments is as important as that of natural, historic, and cultural resources and should be maintained and enhanced and safeguarded from actions that degrade or destroy critical scenic resources.

ES1.10  Water resources should be equitably allocated, available water supplies should be efficiently used, all forms of water pollution should be eliminated, and land use should conserve and protect water resources and related ecosystems to sustain a high-quality standard of living and the maintenance of the quality of ecosystems.

ES1.11  Wetlands are essential to the quality of life and the well-being of the earth's ecosystems; wetland resources should be protected, conserved, and enhanced and site-specific development and management efforts should allow for compatible land use, while preserving the ongoing functions of wetland resources.

ES1.12  The natural and cultural elements of waterways and their corridors should be protected through the systems of national, state, and local designation of rivers and greenways to ensure their integrity and use by this and future generations.

ES1.13  The principles of land-use planning and design and the principles of wildlife habitat protection should be integrated to promote the enhancement, protection, and management of landscapes that promote wildlife.

ES1.14  Transgenic plants should not be used until the best available science indicates there will be no adverse environmental effects caused by their use.

ES1.15  Non-native invasive species adversely impact the ecological function of natural systems worldwide. Non-native invasive species should not be introduced where those species could contribute to the degradation of the environment and long-term maintenance and management programs should be established to control or remove non-native invasive species from land and water.

ES2  Act responsibly in the design, planning, management, and policy decisions affecting the health of the natural systems.

ES2.1  In developing design, planning, management, and policy, identify and invoke stakeholders—both communities and individuals—in helping to make decisions that affect their lives and future; ensure that they have appropriate access to relevant information, presented in an understandable form, and create opportunities for them to contribute to solutions.

ES3  Respect historic preservation and ecological management in the design process.

ES3.1  Strive to maintain, conserve, or re-establish the integrity and diversity of biological systems and their functions. Restore degraded ecosystems. Use indigenous and compatible materials and plants in the creation of habitat for indigenous species of animals.

ES4  Develop and specify products, materials, technologies, and techniques that conserve resources and foster landscape regeneration.

ES5  Seek constant improvement in our knowledge, abilities, and skills; in our educational institutions; and in our professional practice and organizations.

ES6  Actively engage in shaping decisions, attitudes, and values that support public health and welfare, environmental respect, and landscape regeneration.

Adopted by the ASLA Board of Trustees on October 27, 2000
Amended:  April 16, 2003; May 6, 2006


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