Steven Handel, Ph.D. and Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology at Rutgers University gave a dynamic presentation on urban landscape restoration to a packed house at Threes Brewing. Proving case studies of Fresh Kills Park, Jamaica Bay and Brooklyn Bridge Park, Handel highlighted the challenges unique to urban environments such as soil erosion and contamination from pollutants, large amounts of litter, invasive plants that discourage biodiversity and human stressors such as vehicles and nearby commercial businesses.
Probing questions were asked by both Handel and the audience such as, would restoring it to its original landscape 100 years ago make sense in today’s climate? What are the key ingredients to a successful restoration? And is there such a thing as over-restoration? These answers were not simple, given budgetary constraints, environmental stressors and the growing need to address climate change effects. As shown by Handel’s case studies, partnerships between scientists, city government agencies, landscape designers, environmental nonprofit organizations, and most of all, the local community, can make effective changes for New York City urban spaces and the community members within them.
For more information on restoration ecology, follow Steven Handel on Twitter @snhandel and click the link below to read his article:
Click on Eventbrite to come to our next Urban Ecology Lecture on Tuesday, March 24 6:30-8PM where we will explore a hot topic in restoration, Oysters: Limits and Possibilities. This panel discussion will dive into the role oysters can and do play in marine and coastal shoreline restoration, the challenges and, perhaps most importantly, if they truly live up to their reputation as marine system restorers.
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