Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Sanderson received his Ph.D. in ecology (emphasis in ecosystem and landscape ecology) from the University of California, Davis, in 1998, while studying with Dr. Susan Ustin. Starting at WCS in 1998, he established the “Landscape Ecology and Geographic Analysis” program to bring landscape thinking and geographic analysis tools into the conservation practices of the WCS. In 2002 Dr. Sanderson and colleagues created the Human Footprint map, the first look at human influence globally at less than 1 square mile resolution. He is also an expert on species conservation planning and has contributed to efforts to save lions, tigers, Asian bears, jaguars, tapirs, peccaries, American crocodiles, North American bison and Mongolian gazelle; and landscape planning conservation efforts in Argentina, Tanzania, Mongolia, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Adirondack Park, in the USA. He has edited two scientific volumes and written numerous scientific papers. His work has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, CNN, NPR, and The New Yorker. He is also the director of The Mannahatta Project, an effort to reconstruct the original ecology of Manhattan Island at the time of European discovery in the early seventeenth century. In 2009 he published a book, “Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City,” illustrated by Markley Boyer. From May 20 – October 12, 2009, Dr. Sanderson curated an exhibition based on the Mannahatta Project on display at the Museum of the City of New York. Sanderson also guided creation of this website that allows users to explore Mannahatta in comparison to Manhattan today (see Explore page). For teachers, curriculum materials about Mannahatta are available through our Download page.


Sanderson, E.W. 2009. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City. Abrams, New York. 352 pp. Illustrated by Markley Boyer.

Sanderson, E.W., Robles Gil, P., Mittermeier, C.G., Martin, V.G., and Kormos, C.F. 2006. The Human Footprint: Challenges for Wilderness and Biodiversity. CEMEX – Agrupacion Sierra Madre – Wildlife Conservation Society, Mexico. 324 pp.

Medellin, R. A., C. Chetkiewicz, A. Rabinowitz, K. H. Redford, J. G. Robinson, E.W. Sanderson, and A. Taber, editors. 2002. Jaguars in the new millennium: an evaluation of the status, priority-setting and recommendations for the jaguars in the Americas. National Autonomous University of Mexico/Wildlife Conservation Society. Mexico D. F.

Scientific papers

Bean, T. and Sanderson E.W. 2008. Using ecological models to test scenarios of fire use by Native Americans: an example from the Harlem Plains, New York, NY. Ecological Modelling. 208: 301-308.

Sanderson, E.W., et al. (25 authors). 2008. The ecological future of the North American Bison: conceiving long-term, large-scale conservation of a species. Conservation Biology 27(2): 252-266.

Woolmer, G., Trombulak, S.C., Ray, J.C., Doran, P.J., Anderson, M.G., Baldwin, R.F., Morgan, A. and Sanderson, E.W. 2008. Rescaling the human footprint: A tool for conservation planning at an ecoregional scale. Landscape and Urban Planning 87(1): 42–53.

Redford, KH, Levy, MA, Sanderson, EW, and de Sherbinin, A. 2008. What is the role for conservation organizations in poverty alleviation in the world’s wild places? Oryx 42(4): 516-528.

Sanderson, E.W. and Brown, M. 2007. Mannahatta: An ecological first look at the Manhattan landscape prior to Henry Hudson. Northeastern Naturalist. 14(4): 545-570.

Campagna, C., Sanderson, E.W., Coppolillo, P.B, Falabella, V., Piola A.R., Strindberg, S. and Croxall, J.P. 2007. A species approach for ecosystem conservation in the southwest Atlantic. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 17:S122-S147.

Dinerstein, E., Loucks, C., Wikramanayake, E., Ginsberg, J., Sanderson, E., Seidensticker, J., Forrest, J., Bryja, G., Heydlauff, A., Klenzendorf, S., Leimgruber, P., Mills, J., O’Brien, T.G., Shrestha, M., Simons, R. and Songer, M. 2007. The fate of wild tigers. BioScience 57(6): 508-515.

Thorbjarnarson, J., Mazzotti, F., Sanderson, E., Buitrago, F., Lazcano, M., Minkowski, K., Muniz, M., Ponce, P., Sigler, L., Soberon, R., Telancia, A.M., and Velasco, A. 2006. Regional habitat conservation priorities for the American crocodile. Biological Conservation 128: 25-36.

Hobbs, R.J., Arico, S., Aronson, J., Baron, J.S., Bridgewater, P., Cramer, V.A., Epstein, P.R., Ewel, J.J., Klink, C.A., Lugo, A.E., Norton, D., Ojima, D., Richardson, D.M., Sanderson, E.W., Valladares, F., Vila, M., Zamora, R., Zobel., M. 2006. Novel ecosystems: theoretical and management aspects of the new ecological world order. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 15 (1): 1-7.

Fener, H.M., Ginsberg, J.R., Sanderson, E.W., and Gompper, M.E. 2005. Chronology of range expansion of the Coyote, Canis latrans, in New York. Canadian Field-Naturalist 119 (1): 1-5

Redford, K.H., Coppolillo, P., Sanderson, E.W., Fonseca, G.A.B., Dinerstein, E., Groves, C., Mace, G., Maginnis, S., Mittermeier, R.A., Noss, R., Olson, D., Robinson, J.G., Vedder, A., and Wright, M. 2003. Mapping the conservation landscape. Conservation Biology 17(1): 116-131.

Kinnaird, M.G., Sanderson, E.W., O’Brien, T.G., Wibisono, H.T. and Woolmer, G. 2003. Deforestation trends in a tropical landscape and implications for endangered large mammals. Conservation Biology 17(1): 245-257.

Sanderson, E.W., Jaiteh, M., Levy, M.A., Redford, K.H., Wannebo, A.V., and Woolmer, G. 2002. The human footprint and the last of the wild. BioScience 52(10): 891-904.

Sanderson, E.W., Redford, K.H., Chetkiewicz, C-L.B., Medellin, R.A., Rabinowitz, A., Robinson, J.G., and Taber, A.B. 2002. Planning to save a species: the jaguar as a model. Conservation Biology 16(1): 58-72.

Sanderson, E.W., Redford, K.H., Vedder, A., Ward, S.E., and Coppolillo, P.B. 2002. A conceptual model for conservation planning based on landscape species requirements. Landscape and Urban Planning 58: 41-56.

Sanderson, E.W., Foin, T.C. and Ustin, S.L. 2001. A simple empirical model of salt marsh plant spatial distributions with respect to a tidal channel network. Environmental Modelling 139: 293-307.

Willett, K.B. and Sanderson, E.W. 2000. Taking GIS into the Wild: Teaching GIS to Practicing International Conservation Biologists. Ecological Society of America Bulletin. October 2000.

Sanderson, E.W., Ustin, S.L., and Foin, T.C. 2000. The influence of tidal channels on the distribution of salt marsh plant species in Petaluma Marsh, CA, USA. Plant Ecology 146: 29-41.

Sanderson, E.W., Zhang, M., Ustin, S.L., and Rejmankova, E. 1998. Geostatistical scaling of canopy water content in a California salt marsh. Landscape Ecology 13:79-92.