Neighbor Ecology Habitat Clusters

Habitat Clusters

Connect with your neighbors while species connect with the land. Habitat Clusters bring ecology, democracy and design together to scale up the ecological impact you already have started in your yard with neighbors who share your care for local species survival.

Neighbor Ecology


Those who have had the privilege to travel over the past few decades have noticed how landscapes around the world are becoming more the same and less localized. This urban disconnect from contextual ecology has created fragmentation which is a leading source of habitat loss and reduced species variation.

Urban ecology matters and the bulk of urban land is privately owned. Home landscaping is beginning to shift towards ecological awareness. Backyard wildlife certification programs, documentaries, books and web resources are now available to help you fit your landscape to the local ecology. Neighbor ecology is the relationships between your private property and your neighbors private property. 

Habitat Clusters are groups of two or more neighbors who intentionally talk about their landscapes together. They may set common goals, share species propagation and collect observations to help each other steward their property towards a common good. Clusters are voluntary and based on adaptive management practices where the form and activities of one cluster may be very different than another cluster based on the ecological context, property size, and property owner interests.

Fourth River Workers Guild supports Habitat Clusters by providing consulting services, multi-stakeholder management plans, starter guides and neighbor ecology resources.




  • Decrease land fragmentation
  • Small space impact matters
  • Distribute habitat features
  • Increase group capacity and knowledge
  • Provide basis for potential research


  • Collective purpose
  • Connect with like minded neighbors
  • Discover common interests
  • Increase opportunity for positive interactions
  • Open pathways for less social neighbors to interact


  • Increase identity rooted in local ecology
  • Work towards common landscape aesthetic
  • Increases safety by increasing social interaction
  • Increase awareness of surroundings

Getting Started

Wine, Beer, Cheese!

Invite your nature loving neighbors over to chat about local ecology and Fourth River will gladly join in the conversation to point out common features and opportunities in your landscapes and easy ways you can get started.


Home EcoTour

See your landscape through a new paradigm as a Fourth River urban ecologist walks your and your neighbor’s landscapes explaining the inner workings of the plants and animals as they constantly rebuild and reinvent our Appalachian Forest right outside your door.

If you live near or adjacent to one of the many wooded areas throughout Pittsburgh we can walk with your neighbor’s along or through these habitat sanctuaries to understand what species are interacting between your land and those surrounding lands. Where are invasive species coming from and how can you and your neighbors work together to improve your unique areas habitat performance.


Home Owner Associations, tenant councils and institutional land stewards can take small steps towards neighborhood ecology like promoting wildlife certifications, access to shared resources or take advantage of a Fourth River supported social event or ecowalk of your land.

We also offer governance and policy consulting for organizations to implement adaptive landscape stewardship plans and work with maintenance and facilities managers to discover easy steps to improve local ecology services. Please contact us for more information.