Meet the Author:
Eric Sanderson,  New York City

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Eric Sanderson

Eric Sanderson

Senior Conservation Ecologist
Wildlife Conservation Society
Bronx NY USA

Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the author of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (Abrams, 2009). His most recent book, Terra Nova, is about the prospect for an American landscape beyond oil, cars and suburbs. He continues the Welikia Project, on the historical ecology of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, and Mannahatta 2409 ), an on-line forum to help the public envision climate-resilient designs for Manhattan. He is an expert in species and landscape conservation planning, including in cities, with a particular interest in geographic and historic contexts for restoration and conservation. Previously he helped create the human footprint map of anthropogenic impact globally, the landscape species approach to conservation, and range-wide priority-setting for wide-ranging wildlife species. Sanderson holds a Ph.D. in ecology, with emphasis in ecosystem and landscape ecology, from the University of California, Davis. He works out of WCS headquarters at the Bronx Zoo (

December 21, 2014
New York City gridlock with pedestrians. Credit.

Forget the damned motor car and build cities for lovers and friends. —Lewis Mumford, My Works and Days (1979) Humanity managed for the better part of 400,000 years without cars and did just fine. Julius Caesar, Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, Adam Smith, and Abraham Lincoln lived in cities and never drove an automobile. They didn’t need … Continue reading Forget the Damned Motor Car

June 15, 2014 is an on-line forum to help New Yorkers develop and share sustainable and climate-resilient designs for New York City.

If Thoreau were alive today, he might move to Brooklyn, not the woods. Cities of the early 21st century are where life can be lived most intensely, the place for sucking, routing, shaving, and driving life into the corner, as Thoreau famously described the purpose of his retreat to Walden Pond. Cities are where innovations … Continue reading It’s Up to You: A Vision for 90% Less Greenhouse Gases for Manhattan’s Fourteenth Street

November 13, 2013
Storm damage along the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York, as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  Photo by Terah L. Mollise/U.S. Navy from Wikimedia Commons

Ecologists who study how ecosystems change over time know there is a balance between resilience and adaptation.  Resilience is a measure of how long it takes for an ecosystem to return to a previous state.  For example, how many decades will it take for a forest to regrow after a fire?  Adaptation is the transformation … Continue reading The Catch-22 of Resilience

June 2, 2013
New York City with the Hudson River.  Photo by Eric W. Sanderson

The following is an excerpt from my new book, Terra Nova:  The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs (Abrams, June 2013), which is about, at least in part, how cities can fit into nature: Many years ago, before I moved to the city, I had a job in the wilderness. I took a summer … Continue reading Cities Are Our Streams

January 2, 2013

Like an ancient prophet, armed with forebodings of doom and destruction, Hurricane Sandy bore down on New York City in the early hours of 30 October, 2012.  An extra-tropical cyclone, a thousand miles wide and armed with hurricane strength winds, Sandy was only eight days old.  A fitful infant terrible, Sandy had already visited havoc … Continue reading The Strategy of Sanderlings and the Tactics of Terrapins: What Was Hurricane Sandy Trying to Tell New York City?

July 17, 2012

Many entries in this collective blog about the nature of cities will focus your attention on the nature that remains in cities, defined in terms of those patches of semi-natural habitat, the green bits, which are found in all cities, and which can be encouraged or discouraged by human action.  Consider for example Celicia Herzog’s … Continue reading Cities of Nature