June Work Party with Friends of North Beach Park

It’s coming up soon! Here are the details:

The June work party of Friends of North Beach Park will happen on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The location will be the South Plateau, at 88th St. and 27th Ave NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Your host will be Drexie Malone.

We’ll be providing after care to the native plants reintroduced to the South Plateau in the last couple years. This will include removing competing plants that can hinder their growth or completely choke them out.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty. The temperature is currently forecast to be in the upper 80s, so please be sure to bring plenty of cold water and take frequent rest breaks. It would help to drink some extra water before heading to the park, as well as bringing extra with you. Because of the presence of stinging nettle, long-sleeved t-shirts and long pants are recommended. Having said all that, the South Plateau is very shady and the work planned is not very strenuous.

To get to the South Plateau: From the intersection of 24th Ave NW and NW 85th St., head west on 85th St (Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church will be on your right). At the intersection of 26th Ave and 85th St., turn right (North). Drive north on 26th Ave. for a long block until the intersection with 88th St., which will be on your left. Turn left onto 88th St. and look for parking. The entrance to the South Plateau is about half a block north on 27th Ave. The #48 bus line stops at 85th and 26th; the #40 bus line stops at 85th and 24th. Check http://metro.kingcounty.gov/#plan-a-trip for exact details.

If you have any questions about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

Feral Cities

Tristan Donovan
Chicago Review Press, 2015.

An engaging read about the wild animals that live in cities with us — from raccoons in Berlin to leopards in Mumbai, rattlesnakes in Phoenix and African land snails in Miami, to foxes in London and subterranean crabs in Rome.

These animals have come to be in cities in many ways. Raccoons are not native to Berlin, but were escapees after the brief fad for raccoon coats in the early days of automobiles. Foxes in London had the city built up around them – it’s not that they were pushed out of the city and moved back, but they stuck around when new food sources presented themselves. African land snails were imported by accident.

Living in the city affects the animals in many ways, — good, bad, and neutral. Bird song has to change to adapt to city noise, such as getting louder, changing pitch, or both; birds colliding with skyscrapers is a problem for Chicago, which is on the Great Mississippi flyway. In many cases, such as coyotes and foxes, the animals live longer, healthier, and with much smaller ranges than in the wild. The smaller ranges happen because food is more abundant; this results in greater density, which can be a problem if there’s an infectious disease outbreak such as mange. Another change that happens across many species is animals becoming nocturnal in the city, as that helps them avoid humans.

Donovan talks to people doing on the ground research and control of animal species, and examines the issues using references that range from scholarly articles and to general interest books, news articles, and blog posts. In the final chapter (which provides a good, inspiring end to the book), he looks at how we can use cities as conservation agents and not only improve them as homes for the animals that live with us, but bring more animals into the city.

GiveBIG for North Beach Park — today!

When we began working on North Beach Park, there were numerous places where ivy formed a monoculture on the ground. Looking back, we think about 40% of the trees had ivy up into their crown.

Today, the only places with ivy monocultures are areas that are too steep for anyone but professional crews to work. And Less than 5% of the trees have ivy up into their crowns. In many places of the park, a new generation of trees and shrubs are establishing and in a few years they will become luxurious groves of saplings, shrubs, and groundcover. We’ve seen native plants spring back after invasive removal.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done to restore North Beach Park. There is ivy, blackberry, holly, laurel and bindweed to remove. The alder and big leaf maple trees are at the end of their normal lifespan, and falling at about the rate of three to five a year. This makes it imperative that we keep working to establish a healthy, mixed conifer-deciduous urban forest.

Your donation today, as part of Give BIG, will help us continue this important restoration work. Your generous donation would help us buy more plants and replace tools that are falling apart. Even if you’ve already contributed to another organization, $10 or $15 for Friends of North Beach Park will be a tremendous help for us.

Please donate at this link: The Seattle Foundation | Friends of North Beach Park today. The Seattle Foundation will stretch a portion of your donation. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated and put to good use.

I and all the Friends of North Beach Park thank you.

The Good Rain

Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest
Timothy Egan
Vintage Departures, 1991

This book, written in the late 1980s (and published in the early 1990s) chronicles a journey and all its reflections brought on by a chance thought: while distributing the ashes of his grandfather, Egan becomes curious about how the glacier he visits got its name.

I take Grandpa out of the pack and set him next to a rock. No wind. From below comes a marmot whistle, a high pierce. I think: Winthrop. What is an old Puritan’s name doing up here, on the frozen side of a mountain that wasn’t even spotted by white men until after the Revolutionary War? What cartographer’s trick, or cheap flatter, placed the name Winthrop here, a country of noble Indian names — Tacoma, the original word for this mountain; Sluiskin Falls, named for the native who first led whites to the demon-dwelling pit of fire at the summit; Ohanapecosh, where the rivers meet below. Most of the English names were coined by syphilitic prospectors and timber beasts — the Frying Pan Glacier, Old Scab Mountain, Anvil Rock, Panhandle Gap. Why Winthrop? It’s too genteel for this massive chunk of glacial anarchy….

This leads Egan to discover that Theodore Winthrop named the glacier in 1853, during a summer visit to the Pacific Northwest. He also wrote a book called The Canoe and the Saddle, which Egan buys from a rare books dealer. In 1853, Winthrop traveled from Vancouver Island through Puget Sound and then up the Columbia River. More than 130 years later, Egan makes the same journey, chronicling the differences.

The journey is at times harrowing, amusing, sublime, and tragic. Egan’s writing throughout is beautiful. This beauty makes it painful, at times, as when he’s talking about the extraction industries that have nearly destroyed the Pacific Northwest. Each chapter visits a locale that Winthrop visited in 1853, usually at about the same time of year as Winthrop did. Egan uses the location to focus on a particular aspect of the PNW, examining, for instance, Vancouver’s role in the British Empire, the development of the red delicious apple, or a nearly-forgotten court case that made the first cracks in the Communist with hunts (with tragic long-term aftereffects). Particularly hard for me to read was chapter 10, “Salmon,” which looked at the extent to which the rivers of the NW have been dammed, and what that has cost our our rivers. Hydropower is not “clean” at all. The rivers are shallower, slower, warmer, less alive. Salmon runs that used to number in the millions now number in the thousands, on a good year.

At times, I found his writing to be a little heavy-handed, and there were the occasional missteps such as referring to a woman ranger as a “rangerette.” But overall I found “The Good Rain” to be a fine, if saddening, read about the state of the Pacific Northwest in recent history.

Complete Plant List

Combined plant record

The attached PDF is an edit of a spreadsheet that lists every one of the plants in North Beach Park either (a) seen growing in the park; or (b) planted as part of the restoration efforts; or (c) listed in a target forest type but not yet planted (very few of those). The total is 160, of which 41 (a little over 25%) are invasive.

I’ve left in the columns that give the form (tree, shrub, etc), wetland status, and a few other things which are explained in the notes at the bottom of the file. For an explanation of target forest types, please see this post.

I’ve edited OUT the columns for each of the habitat management units (ie, “HWB”, “CV”, etc.) Those columns get a “G” (for Growing) or an “R” (for planted during Restoration).

The Monkey’s Voyage

Alan de Queiroz
Basic Books, 2014

How do species disperse – how do they get from one place to another? This is the kind of question that appears to have a ready answer, but experts can spend a lifetime debating. It’s easy to see birds flying in their migrations, or mammals moving across continents. How did trees get across oceans? How did amphibians get to islands? How did monkeys get to South America? The answer to these questions not only has ramifications to evolution, but to the history of life on Earth. And scientists have been debating them since the beginning of the study of evolution.

Although perplexing and difficult to imagine, before we knew about plate tectonics, ocean crossings were the only possible choice. Darwin did some experiments in seed viability, and a lot of people talked about land bridges that no longer existed.

As we learned more about plate tectonics and the deep past of the Earth, it became obvious that most of the dispersal happened by species being isolated by Gondwana (the supercontinent) breaking up. No ocean crossings necessary. Soon enough, the idea of life as a relic of the Gondwanan break up was pervasive to the point of becoming a truism. Ocean crossings were dismissed as almost magical. The incompleteness of the fossil record was no help: the oldest fossil of a species only tells us how old a species might be; it could have been around for a long time before the unlikely set of events that create fossils happened.

Now, scientists studying the question of dispersal use DNA analysis and the molecular clock to provide new evidence that weighs more strongly in favor of ocean crossings. The molecular clock, despite its limitations, can provide more statistical evidence as to when speciation occurs than the fossil record or any other tool we’ve had to date. This statistical evidence can be combined with improved dating, greater knowledge of the continental positions in deep time, and other evidence to build convincing cases for oceanic dispersal. The hypothesis that monkeys rafted from Africa to South America may not ever be “falsifiable” in the way that mathematics or physics hypotheses are falsifiable, but enough evidence can be built in its favor to show that despite improbability, given enough time, it’s the most likely explanation.

This is the “plot synopsis” version of de Queiroz’s book, and like all plot synopses makes a tapestry into a threadbare towel. In examining the basic question of how life disperses, de Queiroz looks at aspects of the philosophy and history of science, how science is engaged by its practitioners – in the field, in academic journals, and in the realm of personal politics. It looks like there is finally enough agreed-on evidence to provide basis for further research.

This is the kind of science book that I like because it engages me in a subject I had little knowledge of, and thought I had little interest in.


From late August through December, 2014, I was publishing roughly a chapter a week of my MEH project on Nature Intrudes. I got close to the end but hit a sticking point for some reason. Here, for what it’s worth, is the final chapter of the project, called… wait for it… Conclusion. In fact, this was newly revised this week.

Immediate Plans

This document was originally written in Summer, 2014. At that time, implementation of the WNPS stewardship grant, further monitoring and control of the south plateau street runoff, and monitoring of the 24th ave. wall conduit during a rain event were considered primary.

This revision of the original document is being written in March, 2015. We will look at the plans for 2014 as originally outlined and how they have been carried out. For 2015, we will look at the efforts to date, and project for the rest of the year.

We then look at possible scenarios for 2021 and 2061, ten and fifty years after restoration began, respectively.

The rest of 2014


The August work party returned to the areas cleared in January and February to prepare them for planting in November. August work parties are generally the lowest-attended of the year, and there were only three volunteers.


The September work party was held in the South Plateau, and included almost twenty students from Seattle Pacific University participating in their “CityQuest” program. We did extensive weeding, mulched some bare areas, and built a couple composting platforms.


The October work party featured the first phase of planting for the WNPS stewardship grant. Please see “Stewardship Grant” for details. Working with students from North Seattle College’s iCare program, we planted 450 plugs of obligate wetland, which were 50 each of Carex amplifolia, Deschampsia Caespitosa, and Juncus ensifolius; and 100 each of Carex stipata, Glyceria striata, and Scirpus microcarpus.


In November, we executed the first phase of installing the plant provided by Green Seattle Partnership. The work was carried out in the Central Valley, Headwaters Bowl, and the North Slope. We were joined by students from North Seattle College’s iCare program and Circle K International, from the UW.


In early December, a large Acer macrophyllum (Big leaf maple) at the base of the North Slope fell across the trail to the Central Valley, landing in areas A and B (see figure below). It blocked access to an area that had been cleared in 2011 and had received heavy planting in the meantime. Luckily, a lot of plants survived the collapse. Enough of the main stem remained standing to create a new snag, and the fallen wood and brush added a lot of woody debris to both the stream and the wetlands.

The tree fell from the North Slope side of the trail across area A (blue) and into area B (red) in this image.

The tree fell from the North Slope side of the trail across area A (blue) and into area B (red) in this image.

The tree fall created a large gap on the North Slope. Forest stewards removed many holly suckers and shoots from the ground and logged the holly trees for removal. This gap will receive some attention from Natural Area Crews in 2015, focusing on invasive removal, erosion control, and upland planting.



The January work party featured the installation of some upland plants into open areas of the South Plateau. We were joined by members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity from the UW. One forest steward worked on the water channel, creating a meander to help spread the flow across the surface of the plateau.


The February work party featured the implementation of the second half of the WNPS stewardship grant. In this case, we were planting facultative wetland trees and shrubs. Doug Gresham (a wetland scientist) helped immensely by sorting the trees and shrubs by where they fell in the gradient from wetland to upland. Although this planting was late in the season, the plants are likely to do well because they are in fairly wet areas of the park.


March will have a site review with Parks Department staff and forest stewards to prioritize Natural Area Crew work in the park for 2015. March will also feature Friends of North Beach Park tabling at and participating in Groundswell Northwest’s “Civic Social.” The March work party will feature clearing new areas for the fall planting.


In April, Friends of North Beach Park will table at the “Natural Area and Greenbelt Mini Summit Open House,” sponsored by the Parks Department. Some plans to open parks designated as Natural Areas to more active recreation are very controversial. The April work party will again feature clearing new areas for fall planting.


We have not previously had a work party in May for a couple reasons: First, it’s the height of nesting season, which is a good reason to stay out of the forest if at all possible. Second, the 4th Saturday schedule puts in in Memorial Day weekend, when many people want to get out of town if at all possible. However, an opportunity presented itself to have a largish group work in the park. We will work in the South Plateau with middle school youth from the “Bureau of Fearless Ideas.” The work will be weeding of quick-seeding annual weeds such as wall lettuce and nipplewort. This will be part one of a two-part writing workshop for the youth, coordinated by Green Seattle Partnership.

June through November

The work done in these months has started to follow a regular pattern: In June and July, we use the stream to water plants located at the rim of the park and other dry areas. August might feature more watering or a return to invasive removal. In September, we again hope to host students from Seattle Pacific University at the South Plateau. October and/or November will feature planting from GSP supplied plants.


The Seattle Metropolitan Parks District comes into being in 2016. Many groups are already meeting to make sure the new funding has a positive impact. Exactly how this will affect forest stewards and Green Seattle Partnership is unclear, although it is likely to increase funding for Natural Area Crews and forest steward resources.


2021 is ten years after the start of restoration. If FoNBP is able to keep working with the same energy and quality of work, it’s likely that all of the volunteer and forest steward-accessible areas of the park will be in at least Phase 1 of restoration, and that all the slopes requiring crew time will have received at least an initial invasive removal.

The existing monocultures will have been eradicated, and forest stewards will work on restoration using methods that avoid disrupting the soil and shrub layer as much as possible. During the early stages of Phase 1 of new restoration, we will introduce a new conifer generation. During the Phase 2 and 3 restoration, we will increase shrub and groundlayer diversity and introduce a new deciduous generation.

Some well-established areas of restoration, such as the South Plateau and the Headwaters Bowl, will be approaching Phase 4. When a restoration site enters Phase 4 restoration, we will introduce a new conifer generation. Please see “Success Metrics” for a discussion of the restoration phases.

On the other hand, NBP loses one to three deciduous trees a year to age and failure. This means that by 2021 we will have lost between 10 and 30 mature deciduous trees, with a consequent enlargement of canopy gaps. These gaps can provide beneficial edge effects, and the greater light levels on the forest floor will stimulate conifer and shrub growth. But the increased light will also make the park more susceptible to sun-loving weeds and grasses. Each fall must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The rate of fall means that removing ivy from trees has to continue to be a priority. A tree with ivy on the trunk and into the canopy that fell into a cleared area would recontaminate it.


This is much more difficult to predict, not least because of the possible effects of climate change. But 50 years is also much longer than the lifespan of a typical “Friends of” group. It would be unrealistically optimistic to suggest that the “Friends of North Beach Park” will have continued in a recognizable form for so long. However, continuing restoration, whether through FoNBP or another agency, is the only prediction I can make.

It’s likely that by 2061 North Beach Park will have a well-established young conifer forest. Surviving conifers that had been planted at the start of restoration will be at the mid-canopy, halfway between the shrub layer and mature trees. The mature canopy is likely to be made up of the few current mature conifers, with some regenerating deciduous trees that are currently at the mid-canopy level. This layer will be much patchier than currently.

Even optimistic scenarios say that the average temperature will be noticeably warmer mid-century than it is now. It is likely the increasing warmth will disrupt existing plant communities. There will be new invasive plants, both from the introduction of new exotic species and plants from southern areas moving north.

If we can maintain enough canopy, the shade and cooling will help mitigate the effects of climate change. The wet, nutrient rich soils will also greatly aid the establishment and survival of the plants installed there, mitigating to some degree the stress of increased temperatures.

I have two optimistic hopes for the future, in regards to North Beach Park. Neither can be considered a “prediction.”

One is that this ravine, and other riparian ravines in Seattle and the lower Puget Trough, will be restored with an eye to becoming refugia, habitats for plants and trees at all forest layers that would otherwise be threatened or endangered by climate change. They might be completely novel ecologies compared to plant communities today, incorporating plants from different ranges.

The other is that socially, I hope that stewardship is seen not as something done for five or even ten years, but is something that one does for one’s entire life, and that it affects all phases of life choices. The forest doesn’t end, why should stewardship?

March Work party Announcement!

Whew — the planting is all done! We’d like to give a big shout-out once again to the Washington Native Plant Society for the Stewardship Grant that made all this planting possible, to Doug Gresham for all his technical advice, and to ALL the people who helped on site with the planting. Friends of North Beach Park thanks you, the birds thank you, and future generations, if we’re lucky, will think everything looks untouched by human hands.

Now it’s time to move on… to preparing for next fall’s planting!

On Saturday, March 28th, we’ll start the invasive removal that’s an important part of restoration. Maybe not as much fun as planting, but you have to make room, right?

We will meet at 9 a.m. at the main entrance to the park at 24th Ave. NW and NW 90th St. The work party will last until noon. We will likely need to transport some mulch into the park.

Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming.

Remember to wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and to bring water or a snack if you need them. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 bus stops a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

If you can’t join us in March, save the date for April 25th. Sign up here.

As always, you can support Friends of North Beach Park by making a directed donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

And if you’re interested in sustainable cities, and some of the transportation issues facing Seattle, please take a few minutes to take this SDOT survey. It relates to the Move Seattle levy coming up this fall, and has some questions relating to the urban forest.

If you have any questions about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

The Conscientious Gardener

The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating a Garden Ethic
Sarah Hayden Reichard
University of California Press, 2011

An important aspect of ecological restoration is the private garden. By adding native plants, decreasing the use of pesticides, more carefully recycling and reusing materials, the home gardener can, in aggregate, have a tremendous impact on the landscape as a whole.

In “The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating a Garden Ethic,” Sarah Reichard (Director of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens) lays out the principles of the garden ethic as inspired by Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” – that is, being aware of not just the plants in your garden, but the web of interactions with the soil, the sun, the water, and the other plants and life forms. She describes the problems of the home gardener, such as over watering or over use of fertilizers and pesticides, citing both general and technical literature. She also describes many solutions that can work in all areas of the country.

She is a strong advocate for native plants, of course, but does NOT advocate ripping out your entire garden. Natives can be integrated with general horticultural plants to great effect. Using the same horticultural plants can makes gardens look alike the whole world around, but if everyone were to rip out all exotic plants, we’d be left with PNW filled with the few horticultural workhorses. We’d be left with LESS diversity in our gardens, not more. Integrating the gardens with native and exotic horticultural plants is the way to go.

Being aware of the interconnectedness of all gardens, of how they connect to local watersheds, the wildlife that might come from a nearby park or greenbelt, or even the garden next door, can help guide one’s choices. Maybe use a less water hungry plant, or decrease the VERY resource-hungry lawn. Widen the bloom time of your garden to increase food for pollinators. Add plants that will go to seed and provide food for birds. Leave the seed heads for the birds.

Reichard’s book is valuable because it describes things people can do in their home gardens that will have a definite impact on the environment. It’s an important part of a growing body of literature on how to increase the ecological value of the home garden.

Novel Ecologies

Between human disturbance and climate change, every environment on the planet is being affected by humanity. Will we ever get out from under all the weeds we’ve introduced? As the scope of our effect on the planet becomes larger, biologists and ecologists have begun to talk about “novel ecologies.” a concept that would accept some level of disturbance in order to bring successful restoration within reach.

Ecological restoration is the act of taking a degraded landscape and restoring it to a fully-functioning ecosystem. Examples of degraded landscapes would be a mine site, an estuary that was used as farmland, or decommissioned alpine trails and camping sites. In North Beach Park, we’re working on a patch of degraded urban forest and wetlands. It’s considered “degraded” because, when we started restoration, there was a lot of trash from the ravine being used as a dump, the canopy cover was mostly short-lived alders and big leaf maples, and the groundcover was becoming increasingly dominated by English ivy and blackberry.

Restoration in this urban park is largely being done by removing invasive plants and introducing native plants, hopefully resembling a pre-disturbance plant community well enough that it will restore the functions that it lost. North Beach Park lost diversity and functions in at least four areas: (1) root structure which holds the soil and filters water for the stream and wetlands in the park; (2) bloom times to provide food for birds, bees, and insects and those who eat them; and (3) canopy structure which provides habitat for different birds; (4) carbon sequestration provided by long-lived conifers.

But what is invasive, what is native? Whenever humans arrive in a new place, we begin introducing new species and making things less hospitable for plants and animals that lived there before us. Do we want to restore an urban park to a status it had before any human disturbance? In the Pacific Northwest, the Salish people were living here as soon as the glaciers retreated – following the glaciers north, in fact. Later, Europeans brought a whole slew of disturbances.

The Washington Native Plant Society defines a native plant as:

“…those species that occur or historically occurred within the state boundaries before European contact based upon the best available scientific and historical documentation.”

The scientific and historical documentation happened in the early and middle 19th century, but there had already been two disruptions: Beaver trapping had already greatly reduced the beaver population, disrupting river cycles; and smallpox had already reduced the human population, disrupting such cultural practices as burning to maintain open prairies. However, neither of these disruptions had nearly the impacts that occurred with settlement, agricultural development, and logging, which started around 1850.

The 19th century botanical documentation was done with an eye toward finding new plants for the British horticulture industry, not towards understanding plant interactions and communities. We get that understanding from late 20th and early 21st century practices of looking back through the historical records or studying relict patches that, as best we can determine, exist in nearly untouched conditions.

Noteworthy examinations of relict patches in the Pacific Northwest were done by Christopher Chapell (forest plants) and Linda Kunze (low-lying freshwater wetlands). Examination of the historical record was done by Ray Larson in his MS thesis, which examined the botanical records of the federal land surveyors.

Establishing nativeness for plants is difficult. Sometimes, introduced plants that “play well with others,” or are useful or attractive to humans, are considered “native.” Sometimes a species that was growing in an area prior to human disturbance is released from competitive pressure, expands its range, and we decide it’s “invasive.” You’ll never see stinging nettle or western dock on a planting list, for instance.

The documentation of historic conditions in Washington was more recent and the disruption less drastic than in other areas. In many other places in the United States, the disruption by European immigrants happened quickly and with no records at all of pre-existing conditions.

The difficulty of knowing pre-disruption conditions and uncertainty of the nativeness of plants and wildlife, and the difficulty of eradicating all the invasive species (honeybees and earthworms would be impossible to eradicate in the Pacific NW, let alone ivy and blackberry), has led some biologists to propose the concept of “novel ecologies”. That concept has since been a point of contention among invasion biologists for about 20-30 years. The idea is that some areas are so disrupted or degraded from their original conditions that they could never be restored to pre-disturbance states. Novel ecologies would allow restorationists to set some reasonable level of acceptable disturbance that would bring successful restoration within reach.

But, in my opinion, the idea of novel ecologies is too broad and too facile.

Too broad because, wherever humans are, we create a novel ecology compared to pre-settlement conditions. Too facile, because it can too easily serve short-term human purposes. Does the government want to widen river buffers from 50 to 100 yards, which would take away acres of your Christmas tree farm? You, the tree farmer, would then show that your farm is a “novel ecology” and thus protected from change.

However, we can use the idea of novel ecologies to examine our restoration efforts. If all cities are novel ecologies, should we accept them as they are or engage in restoration? What can we do to restore, rehabilitate, or reintegrate some of the functions that we’ve disrupted? Cities were built in forests; we turned the forests into areas of dense buildings interspersed with islands of parks and gardens with pretty but non-native plants. Do we want more of a forest here in the city? What can we do to allow the city to have viable forests within its perimeter?


Two books that talk about novel ecologies from a general perspective:

Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, Emma Marris. (My review here.)

Where Do Camels Belong?: Why Invasive Species Aren’t All Bad, Ken Thompson.

Two articles that look at the concept as well:

‘New normal’ approach to conservation comes under fire by Jose Hong. This article discusses a peer-reviewed critique of the idea of novel ecologies.

Thoughts on the “New Nature”: Are Collared-Doves dangerous invaders or just birds? by Alan de Queiroz. Another article that looks at the idea of novel ecologies, discussing “Where Do Camels Belong?”, “The Urban Bestiary” (Haupt) and other books.


This article was edited by Jean Davis. All mistakes and infelicities remain with the author, me.