Image credits: Jeffrey Eisen, Unsplash
Habitat complexity can be enhanced at multiple scales in the landscape. Here we focus on three categories: habitat diversity includes diversity of habitat types across a landscape, structural complexity refers to the variety of vegetation types and structural heights at a site, and plant diversity relates to the richness and distribution of species and functional roles in plant communities at that site.
Less connected patches with low structural complexity are often unfavorable for biodiversity. However, creating openings between patches and limiting dense understory is likely to increase a sense of safety and align with landscape design expectations. Lawns and open areas similarly have low habitat complexity but encourage physical activity and social interaction.
Varied vegetation layers allow a single habitat type to provide food, cover, and shelter for a variety of different species. In urban areas structural complexity is associated with higher species richness. Varied vegetation structure is tied to stress reduction and improved mood, and supports children's adventure play.