Eric W. Sanderson

Vice President of Urban Conservation

Ph.D., University of California at Davis


Landscape and ecosystem ecology


Landscape and ecosystem ecology, conservation biology, historical ecology, urban conservation, climate resilience, ecological democracy

Research locations

New York City, Shanghai, Jerusalem, San Francisco


We are alive at the most important point in all of human history, when the decisions we make now will make or break the ecology of the planet on which we all depend for thousands of years to come. The most important lever we have to make a difference are cities. Cities need nature, and nature needs cities. My main focus is on New York City, which of all the cities of the world, is the most important because of its global reputation, iconic status, diverse and energized population, and leadership in finance, media, arts, science, and other fields. It is also my home. My approach combines deep and cross-disciplinary investigations of the historical ecology of the city with cutting edge technology in visualization, geospatial analysis, and cloud computing. My belief is that the best way forward is to foster ecological literacy and democracy, artistic and scientific excellence, and the innate love so many people have for the nature of planet Earth. The power of place will get us through, if and when we center plants and ecosystems in our hearts and minds.


Sanderson, E.W. (In prep.) The Welikia Atlas and Gazetteer: A Guide to New York City’s Indigenous Landscape. Abrams, New York. Expected Fall 2025.

Sanderson, E.W., W.D. Solecki., J.R. Waldman, and A. S. Parris. 2016. Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City’s Jamaica Bay. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Sanderson, E.W. 2013. Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs. Abrams, New York. 352 pp.

Sanderson, E.W. 2009. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City. Abrams, New York. 352 pp. Illustrated by Markley Boyer. Paperback edition May 2013. New York Times bestseller.