Biography of a ‘sand heap’
DOI link for Biography of a ‘sand heap’
Biography of a ‘sand heap’ book
This chapter examines whether the sand heap plays more of a comic or a tragic role – or possibly both – in this drama of a 'very prominent ecological research object'. Chicken Creek is a constructed natural site, the biggest of its kind in the world, created for the purpose of conducting ecosystem research. It is situated in a former open-cast mining area in north-eastern Germany, not far from the city of Cottbus. Chicken Creek was set up to become a 'super dynamic system' and, sure enough, the beginnings of nature were performed with such powerfully overwhelming dynamics that, within fewer than 6 years, about 160 plant species had colonized the sand heap and made it an extremely rich system in terms of biodiversity – richer than many ecosystems that are much older and more stable. The overall hypothesis of the Chicken Creek project is that the initial phase of ecosystem development determines the later stages an ecosystem goes through.