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Tumamoc Hill, birthplace of restoration ecology
Tumamoc Hill, birthplace of restoration ecology

Early in the morning, walkers huff up a steep road on Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, passing tall saguaro cacti. In season, beside white saguaro flowers, white-winged doves hoot like owls. Among rocks, javelinas root for food, bobcats hunt. Tumamoc has long been a gathering place. The first human culture there was the Cienega, dating to about 2,500 years ago, and others followed, leaving rock art, potsherds and remnants of walls. There are sweeping views of desert, with the dramatic Santa Catalina Mountains rising in the northeast. Perhaps such views and such continuity helped inspire Volney Spalding and others as they built a new science here: restoration ecology. The Desert Botanical...

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