Natural Capital: Maplewood, NJ
Green and Haines define natural capital as “a healthy and functioning environment [that] provides valuable ecosystem services, such as food, timber, wildlife habitat, flood control, and recreational opportunities, which are essential for human life” (Green, Haines 2012). New Jersey is has a very interesting landscape, being home to beaches, forests, and also more urban areas. It goes without saying that natural capital is an integral part of the stability and longevity of a community.
The South Mountain reservation, part of the Essex County Park System, is a nature reserve that covers 2,112 acres and falls within the central section of Essex County. It is in the towns of West Orange, Maplewood, and Millburn, also bordering South Orange in between the first and second ridges of the Watchung Mountain Range. For the most part, the reservation remains in its “wild state” with a variety of hardwood trees, tall hemlocks, streams, creeks, and ponds (Essex County Parks Department, 2016). It also contains the west branch of the Rahway River and a watershed owned by the City of Orange.
As for community based organizations, founded in March 2000, the South Mountain Conservancy is a “volunteer, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to preserve, protect, and enhance the South Mountain Reservation through active stewardship, advocacy, and education” (South Mountain Conservancy, 2016). It works to preserve, protect, and enhance the area’s infrastructure and natural beauty. Currently, they are working on creating a county dog park within the reservoir.
Essex County Parks Department. (2016). About. South Mountain Reservation. Retrieved from http://www.essexcountyparks.org/parks/south-mountain-reservation/about
South Mountain Conservancy. (2016). About Us. Retrieved from http://www.somocon.org/about-us/