The Calumet Region was shaped by geologic forces, succession, and interacting biomes converging on a unique natural landscape. Over the past 4500 years, a strand plain has formed to the north of a geologic area called Toleston Beach. Sequential and differential primary succession of dune and swale communities in this region allowed species from different biomes to interact freely. In the mid-nineteenth century, commerce and settlement drastically changed the area, and natural areas were fragmented, manipulated, and degraded by cultural intrusions and industrialization. Despite the near obliteration of dune and swale habitat, small fragments of natural land escaped destruction. These native fragments maintained some semblance of the landscape that once covered the region. Currently, these native fragments are threatened by the lingering intrusion of historic contamination and the continuing presence of industry and commerce. Restoration and conservation of these remnants will need to be a process of integrating biological diversity goals into the landscape of the industrialized region through planning and design. We outline here the natural history of the region, the philosophical rationale for conservation, and possible approaches for integrating and maintaining these valuable remnant resources and processes.
Additional publication details
Picking up the pieces: conserving remnant natural areas in the post-industrial landscape of the Calumet Region