The precontact geology, surface hydrology, and forests of the Northwest Bronx are placed in the context of landuse by Lenni-Lenape Indians. In the colonial era the expansion of a nascent New York City reached the study area, with extensive forest loss during the Revolution. In the 1800s came railroad trackbeds, arterial roads, and the first residential construction. Van Cortlandt Park was gazetted in 1888, but its 2 golf courses removed large natural areas. The early 20th century brought loss of Kingsbridge Meadows and its unique saltmarsh habitat, offset by construction of 2 reservoirs. Parkways in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s concluded the major environmental insults to the study area. These changes are illustrated by 21 historical maps and images, and set the stage for description of the study area and its 7 subareas.
Keywords: NYC geology and topography, precontact environment, forests and wetlands, Lenni-Lenape, New Netherland, Northwest Bronx, colonial NYC, 17th to 19th centuries, habitat loss from urban expansion, study area creation and loss
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