Landscape Ecology and Unearthing the Past

Although this TED talk is about the development and underlying ecology of Manhattan, it made me think of Yellowstone and Grand Teton and how lucky we are that some of our most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist, used a “relationship web” and marvelously accurate illustrations to depict what once was the natural landscape of Manhattan. I was surprised when he said, “On a per area basis, Manhattan had more ecological communities per acre than Yosemite does, than Yellowstone, Amboseli. It was really an incredible landscape. It was capable of supporting an extraordinary biodiversity.” Although this project allows us to step back in ecological time, isn’t it special when we can experience a place the same way someone experienced it 150 years ago, like when we go to Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks?