Living Landscape Function Calculator

Online Resource of Plant Functions

Shared with the permission of Timber Press 

Worried about the Planet? Change starts in your backyard

What is the Living Landscape Function Calculator?

The Living Landscpae Function Calculator (LLFC) is a free tool that makes available easy to use search tools to evaluate plants in 20 categories.

Our slogan is "Data to Dirt"

Why Native Plants?

By using the LLFC to calculate the ecological value of native plants, the user has the ability to design and area with great impact and ecological function.

What is a Native Plant?

Native plants support insect populations that are essential to foodwebs that feed bird populations.

How do Native Plants support Insects?

Many factors make native plants essential to healthy environments; they are a pollen source, nectar source, and food source for breeding birds.

Using the LLFC to calculate the ecological value of native plants makes it easy to design landscapes that are both beautiful and environmentally sound.

The Living Landscape Function Calculator includes plant databases from across the United States.  The tool is free, but users must register with their email address.  We are supported by donations which are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.



Creating an account and subscribing supports the upgrading of the databases and allows members access to ongoing research.  Our Blog and Resource pages will be regularly updated with the ever-expanding network of native plant growers, designers and researchers.


Environmental Metrics Unlimited (EMU) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity, started in October 2017, in association with The Urban Affairs Coalition in Philadelphia.  




The EcoScore is based on how many categories a native plant excels in specific functions. Native plants support local ecosystems better than introduced species, primarily by supporting food webs.  


The LandscapeScore is based on the aesthetic or ornamental functions of a native plant. 

Many are just as ornamental as common exotics. They are unique to your geographic region!  

Why Native Plants?

What is a native plant?

Native plants are the plant species that are naturally found in your area. Plants introduced from other regions of the United States or other parts of the world are called exotics. Native plants have evolved in your region over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. These plants thrive in the local soils, rainfall levels, weather, and climate conditions. Every region has different native plant communities.

Why are native plants important?

Native plants support local ecosystems better than introduced species, primarily by supporting food webs far better than non-natives. From perennial wildflowers to berrying shrubs to majestic canopy trees, native plants are beautiful and functional choices for any landscape. Many are just as ornamental as common exotics. They are unique to your geographic region! When you plant natives, you celebrate your natural heritage and reconnect your yard or garden to the natural world around you. When many of us plant natives in a particular area, we help to create wildlife corridors that are necessary to sustain groups of plants and animals in our highly altered modern landscapes. Plus, native trees and flower beds typically require less fertilizer and water than lawns, saving you time and money!


Wildlife evolved alongside the native plants in your region and use those natives as food, shelter, and a place to raise their young. As a result, nearly every living creature on the planet relies on native plants for survival. They are the foundation of local food webs, giving butterflies, birds, and other wildlife what they need to survive.

-Doug Tallamy

Why are insects important?

If insects were to disappear…


  • Most flowering plants would go extinct
  • The physical structure of most terrestrial habitats would change drastically without flowering plants
  • The food webs that support amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals would collapse in months
  • The biosphere would rot due to the loss of insect decomposers
  • Humanity would be doomed! 

                                                                       E.O. Wilson

Bird populations have already seen a drastic decline due to loss of habitat and the decline of insect populations.

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We should strive to make landscapes that support specialist and generalist
pollinators, support food webs, sequester carbon and help manage our

The Living Landscape Function Calculator can help you do all of these!

Homegrown National Park is a Grassroots Call-To-Action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.  We are proud to be a part of their efforts.

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