Today’s Science Times has a fascinating article about a historical geology project that aims to restore some part of the natural beauty and accompanying natural functions to California’s Napa Valley. Using a wide variety of historical records, scientists are rediscovering and recreating some of the native plant and animal life and restoring parts of the original ecosystems. Functions such as flood control, which are lost with the disappearance of wetlands, are returning, as are many bird species that had once graced the area.
A similar project has been carried out closer to home, in New York City. The Welikia (“my good home”) Project has systematically recreated the original ecology of first Manhattan Island and then the four outlying boroughs. Information about the original geology and ecology of different parts of the city, which was once a remarkably rich and diverse collection of ecosystems, can be used to restore the natural health of parks and other open spaces.