THE MANNAHATTA PROJECT
THE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
Ever wondered what New York looked like before it was a city?
After nearly a decade of research, the Mannahatta Project has uncovered the original ecology of Manhattan. The centre of one of the world’s largest and most built-up cities was once a natural landscape, supporting a rich and abundant community of wildlife and sustaining people for perhaps 5000 years before Europeans arrived on the scene in 1609. It turns out that the concrete jungle of New York City was once a vast deciduous forest, home to bears, wolves, songbirds, salamanders… with over 55 different ecological communities.
Eric W. Anderson― Artist
Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Sanderson received his Ph.D. in ecology (emphasis in ecosystem and landscape ecology) from the University of California, Davis, in 1998, while studying with Dr. Susan Ustin. Starting at WCS in 1998, he established the “Landscape Ecology and Geographic Analysis” program to bring landscape thinking and geographic analysis tools into the conservation practices of the WCS. He has edited two scientific volumes and written numerous scientific papers. His work has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, CNN, NPR, and The New Yorker. He is also the director of The Mannahatta Project, an effort to reconstruct the original ecology of Manhattan Island at the time of European discovery in the early seventeenth century. In 2009 he published a book, “Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City,” illustrated by Markley Boyer.