Working in collaboration, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) propose to develop SFB4, a project to investigate and describe the natural history of San Francisco before it was a city.

Our goal is to suffuse the City of San Francisco with a vision of ecology so rich and compelling that it shifts perspectives for centuries, while establishing a data-driven baseline for sustainability and resilience suited to the particular geographic circumstances of San Francisco using natural history to reveal, discover, and reimagine the city.


WCS and SFEI are recognized pioneers in the reconstruction of lost ecosystems to inspire big-picture thinking about future landscapes. WCS' reconstruction and visualization of New York City ecosystems has galvanized international interest in the ecology of cities through the best-selling book, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City. On the West Coast, SFEI has been extremely successful bringing a historical perspective into environmental planning to guide large scale restoration efforts in the DeltaSan JoseSan DiegoNapa Valleyand other quintessential Californian landscapes.

We are actively seeking partners for SFB4. To learn more about the project, ask a question, or to lend your support, please contact either Dr. Eric Sanderson (WCS) or Robin Grossinger (SFEI).

Associated Staff: 
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Center for Resilient Landscapes
Location Information
General Project Location(s): 
San Francisco