Nature in New York City

February 24, 2011 at 6:47 PM 2 comments

Dominated by soft rush (Juncus effusus) and fragrant water lily (Nymphaea odorata) is Lily Pond, an example of an intact urban ecosystem, located in Blue Heron Park, Staten Island.

“Skyscraper national park.” Kurt Vonnegut’s description supports the widely held view that New York City is a paean to the built environment. This collective image includes towering edifices, taxied roadways and neon billboards. The last thing one would expect in this milieu is nature. Yet sprinkled throughout the five boroughs are approximately 28,000 acres of city parkland. Discounting ball fields and swing sets, nearly half of these have significant areas of flora and fauna. They harbor the city’s true treasures: freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, beaches, and forests. Ensconced within these ecosystems are more than 40% of New York State’s rare and endangered plant species.

Still, it isn’t easy being green in the Big Apple. Over the past century, 75% of the city’s woodlands, wetlands and meadows have been destroyed. The persistent pressure of urbanization and its concomitant ailments has driven many of the city’s native plants to the brink of extirpation. We have already lost 43% of our flora including such treasures as the yellow fringed orchid (Platanthera ciliaris) and swamp pink (Helonias bullata).

Read the full article at The Huffington Post


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nate  |  February 24, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    I had no idea that New York had so much flora and fauna. I know upper-state is basically wilderness, but I’ve actually never been to New York because I highly dislike cities. Thanks for sharing the information on another side of the state though, I enjoyed the read.
    – Nate

    • 2. nycwildflowerweek  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:42 AM

      Hi Nate,

      Thanks for the very kind comments – even most New Yorkers don’t know about the natural wonders in their “backyards”! If you are ever in the neighborhood let me know – I hope to show you some sights that may change your mind about cities. Again, thanks for sharing.

      All the best, Marielle


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