Unsightly, decaying and unused, the “brown” industrial lands found throughout the United States serve only to remind people of changing technologies and economic downturns. The lands used to house factories and warehouses that hummed with activity and production. Now, they stand empty, overgrown, rusting, falling apart.
On the face of it, these lands appear only as environmental eyesores, but look a little closer and you’ll find these urban industrial sites can hold surprising ecological significance.
Scientists and ecologists around the country are working to redevelop many strategically-located “brown” sites into wildlife refuges and habitats.
Take, for example, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, where once chemical factories, power plants and a former missile site were operating. Now, it’s not only the stop-off point for over 300 species of migratory birds that rest, nest and feed there. It’s also home to foxes, raptors, lake sturgeon, the spotted turtle and eastern fox snake. Aiming to maintain and encourage this activity, the area is due to undergoing revitalization, with plans to restore native vegetation, cap polluted soils, restore native vegetation, and re-establish the natural shoreline.
This is just one of many restoration projects happening around the country. To learn more, have a read at emagazine.