The Challenges of Restoring Urban Native Habitat
Patches of native habitat in urban and other degraded areas provide important ecological services. A design team developed and tested a series of planting that attempted to restore ecological connections between fragmented and degraded remnant habitats in large, urban areas. Old, urban landfills were planted with woodland patches of various sizes to determine how quickly mutualisms, including seed dispersal and pollination, occurred. Focusing on Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York and Orange County Great Park in California, where complex habitat was integrated with civic needs, Dr. Handel will explore how these types of ecological solutions can be applied to many urban designs.
Dr. Steven Handel is a Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University where he studies the potential to restore native plant communities, adding sustainable ecological services, biodiversity, and amenities to the landscape. His research explores pollination, seed dispersal, population growth, and problems of urban and heavily degraded lands.
Previously, Dr. Handel was Director of the Marsh Botanic Garden at Yale University, a Visiting Professor at Stockholm University, and Research Scholar at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He is the Editor of the professional journal Ecological Restoration and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow of the
Ecological Society of America. He was elected an Honorary Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and also received the Society for Ecological Restoration’s highest research honor, the Theodore M. Sperry Award. Dr. Handel received his BA from Columbia College in Biology and MS and PhD degrees from Cornell University in the Field of Ecology and Evolution.