My musings for 29 June, 2014

Hello To All My Loyal Readers:

On alternate weeks, I share the URLs to some articles by others that I have found interesting. Here is a list of some recent articles that I’ve read.

For each posting I offer one of many videos created by Mike Foster. Mike is a wonderfully talented Nature videographer who has produced many very informative Nature videos about the San Pedro River and places in Mexico.

The Largest Cactus In The World

This video is an introduction to the largest of five major Sonoran Desert columnar cacti. The saguaro, cardon, organ pipe, senita and hecho are each reviewed. Flowers and fruit of each cactus are shown and a few interesting facts are given about each one. Later the difference between the saguaro and the cardon are clearly defined.

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A new language for ecology

It’s hard to imagine a more pervasive idea in modern science than interdependence, a key concept for understanding all kinds of systems—especially living ones, such as an ecosystem. Diverse entities interact in multiple, simultaneous ways: Think of all critters in a biome doing their own unique things, to each and all. It’s somewhat analogous to wild, sustained, multivoiced sounds of many differently tuned orchestras performing and influencing each other at once. In music that’s called “polystylism.” But in attempting to define how things work in an ecosystem, scientific language tends to focus on a single entity and follow it through a sequence, losing the essence of interdependence along the way.

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How to protect an American wildlife legacy

A new paper shows that while science plays a critical role in informing conservation action, scientists must move beyond the realm of their expertise into less familiar areas like public relations, education, and even politics, to ultimately meet America’s conservation goals.

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Moose moms abandon research calves, threatening Minnesota study

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Wildlife Services Kills Millions of Animals Every Year, Some are Even Endangered

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The Last Coyote. This essay will offend the hunters among us who kill for fun…er.."sport."

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How Environmentalists and Skeptics Misrepresent the Science on Polar Bears

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Many people are saying that it is time to completely reform wildlife management in the United States. 

Event organizers for Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 have developed the following five keys to reforming wildlife management in America:

* Ban trapping/snaring on all federal public lands.

* End grazing on all federal public lands.

* Abolish the predator-control department of the USDA Wildlife Services.

* Reform how state fish and game agencies operate.

* Introduce legislation to protect all predators, including wolves, from sport hunting, trapping, and snaring.

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My Musings For 6 June 2014

Hello To All My Loyal Readers:

As promised, I will be emailing you with announcements of my new blogs every other week. On the alternate weeks, I will share the URLs to some articles by others that I found interesting. Here is a list of some recent articles that I’ve read.

Enjoy !!

For each posting I will try to offer one of many videos created by Mike Foster. Mike is a wonderfully talented Nature videographer who has produced many very informative Nature videos about the San Pedro River and places in Mexico.

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Coati of the San Pedro River

In this video Mike Foster takes us to the world of the rare and elusive coati, once know as the coatimundi. He explains the relationship between the habitat where the coati are found and of Mexico and the tropics where the animal can be found in more abundance. He also discusses the relationship between the coati and its animal relatives as well as the confusion associated with the species and subsequent misnomer of the animal. The video contains delightful and impressive footage of coati in their natural habitat and social environment. Beautiful shots of the San Pedro River Riparian Area, its vegetation and animals. Very informative.

 

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A Season of Predators is a feature-length documentary film that explores creative approaches that some in the northern Rocky Mountain states of Idaho and Montana have begun to use to reduce human-predator conflict. The film is set in two rural valleys where expanding predator populations have led to difficult resource challenges.

 

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The famous scientist, E.O.Wilson, talks about biodiversity from his web site.

 

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An open letter to the World Wildlife Fund about their support of sport and trophy hunting.

 

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Alan Crowe, a sawmill owner in Ireland, has provided me with an infographic  about “The Forests of the World” especially given that World Environment Day takes place on June 5th 2014 and our forests are depleting at an alarming rate. All Forests will be lost in 775 Years. There is so much that we can learn from our forests. For example, 90% of the land based animals and plant life in the world live in our forests, 1.6 billion people depend on our forests for their livelihood and one third of the world’s surface is covered in them.

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Oregon State University ecologist Cristina Eisenberg believes that wolves and other large carnivores can continue to recolonize large parts of their historic range with a little help from humans. She also believes that, without our assistance, some of North America’s most magnificent wild creatures could disappear forever. Eisenberg’s new book from Island Press, “The Carnivore Way: Coexisting With and Conserving North America’s Predators,” argues that one of the keys to their survival is the ability to move across the landscape, both to respond to changing environmental conditions and to maintain genetic connections between isolated populations.

 

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From: Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

 

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Montana’s Wolf “conservation” Stamp A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

The details of this wolf stamp proposal demonstrates Montana still has the same unscientific and unethical attitude towards predators as it has always demonstrated. Without a change in its overall philosophy, all this stamp will do is help the the State of Montana perpetuate the same old myths and misinformation about predators that it currently dishes out—only wolf supporters will be helping to fund it.

The article concludes:

"We don’t need more management of wolves and other predators. What we need is to leave them alone. There is simply no reason to “manage” predators. The science is clear on this—they have many ecological benefits to ecosystems. The idea that we should manage predators is a throwback to the early days of wildlife management—it’s time for the State of Montana and other wildlife agencies to enter the 21st Century and start treating predators as a valued member of the ecological community instead of a “problem” that needs to be solved—usually by killing them."

 

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My Musings For 25 May 2014

Hello To All My Loyal Readers:

As promised, I will be emailing you with announcements of my new blogs every other week. On the alternate weeks, I will share the URLs to some articles by others that I found interesting. Here is a list of some recent articles that I’ve read.

Enjoy

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”

―  Henry BestonThe Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

Research from the National Science Foundation reveals that the Yellowstone ecosystem needs beavers as well as wolves and elk. Restoring the wolf population isn’t enough to reverse the extensive changes caused by their long absence. Everything is interconnected and all of the connections need to be restored. An understanding of how species interactions cascade through food webs is essential if we are to restore ecosystem resilience. Take a look at these two URLs

http://nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=126853&org=NSF

Images at:  http://nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_images.jsp?cntn_id=126853&org=NSF

Also:

Poachers kill more game animals than wolves

 

Wolves will kill for more space.  A new study involving Logan’s Utah State University and University of Oxford found wolves will fight to the death to protect their turf if they lack adequate space to raise their pups. This study produced a generally novel result because the conventional thinking is that large carnivores are limited by the abundance of prey in a given area. But what these wolves are ultimately limited by is the amount of space they have to raise their pups in safety.

Dan MacNulty, USU ecologist said that:

“Wolves killing wolves is their No. 1 cause of death in Yellowstone and MacNulty said the research showed that adult survival rates dropped below 70 percent if there were greater than 65 wolves per 1,000 square kilometers. These key observations in wolf infanticide may provide helpful lessons for management of wolf populations because of the insights they deliver”

“For those concerned about wolf populations, even when you have super abundant prey like in Yellowstone, there are limits to wolf population growth. There is an intrinsic limit to the number of wolves that occupy a given space,

MacNulty added that because rival packs will attack and kill rival wolf pups, their numbers are self-limiting.

 

Please see this URL for more.

My Latest Musings 9 May, 2014

Hello To All My Loyal Readers:

This series of blog postings contains the most recent  Internet articles that interest me as I strive to more fully understand Nature . They are sources for my musings and my research which I am happy to share with you.  If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

Enjoy

Large Carnivores In A Changing World

 

Is Sustainable Forestry Sustainable ?

 

My Top 10 Heroes. Kim Manley Ort wrote a marvelous blog describing her life heroes. Many of them are mine also.

 

The Magical Forest. A 60 minute BBC video on how everything is connected.

 

One person’s thoughts: “Why I’m Quitting Environmentalism”

 

Balance In Nature. Modern Western  thought versus the indigenous approach to Nature.

 

Starlings At Sunset

Astonishing video clips demonstrate the beautiful and labyrinthine flight-paths of birds, unraveling the intricacy of their aerial choreography. Through simple digital processing techniques, American artist and RI School of Design professor Dennis Hlynsky turns an average recording of flying birds into an enthralling surreal experience. The process ensures that in each “real time” frame a plurality of frames are simultaneously displayed. No time-lapse technique is used. The trails articulate ellipses and circles that oscillate constantly between order and chaos. Many of these traces look like hyper-realistic pencil drawings. The birds create beautiful patterns as they roam the open air and display some seemingly intentional creativity.

 

The Networked Beauty of Forests. A very interesting video.

 

My kind of ecology. Oysters help filter pollution in New York Rivers.

 

Do Trees Communicate With Each Other? A very interesting video on how trees inter-communicate.

 

My focus on connections in Nature includes evolution. This web page is an exciting story about the discovery of an “anatomical mix between fish and a land-living animal.”

 

Supporting native pollinators.

 

The Sixth Extinction

 

The ethics of killing large carnivores. Nowhere in the scientific literature,  is hunting for fun, for the enjoyment of killing, or for the acquisition of trophies defended.

 

Five ways that industrial agriculture is killing the environment

 

Do hunters know best?

It has become the mantra of the hunting industry:  hunter, presumably because they spend time in the field hunting something to kill, know more about how nature and wildlife work than non-hunters.  They chide non-hunters, city slickers, tree huggers, who they say have an unrealistic, “Bambi” understanding of nature, one where bunnies cavort with foxes, in a Disneyland atmosphere.  It is because of this “vast” knowledge that hunters smugly contend that they have the inside track on what is best for wildlife, conveniently this means hunting them!  And so, what they say goes.

 

An excellent video on complex systems

 

While the web site noted here announces a protest rally aimed to change wildlife management practices by the US Government, the most important part of this web page is: The 5 Keys to Reforming Wildlife Management in America. These items make a great deal of sense and, if implemented, will do much to stop the destructive way that government agencies “manage” Nature.

My Latest Musings 23 March, 2014

This series of blog postings contains the most recent  Internet articles that interest me as I strive to more fully understand Nature . They are sources for my musings and my research which I am happy to share with you.  If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.

 

Taking a bite out of biodiversity. Meat consumption by humans is one of many threats to carnivores and biodiversity.

 

Some Good News: Canada’s Porcupine Caribou Herd Is Thriving:

How can a pattern produce life? The intelligence that emerges in Nature is explained by way of Adrian Bejan’s Constructal Theory. The theory offers an explanation for complexity in Nature and why objects in Nature have the ability to and adapt to their environment. It explains how complex behavior can emerge from the behavior of networks. We may find answers to these questions and more hidden within the branches of the Constructal Pattern. Here are two references on this subject.

http://hplusmagazine.com/2014/03/20/information-becoming-aware-of-itself/

http://www.brentpeters.me/wp/2013/11/3917


More discussion on the issue of wolves. 

Are Wolves A Real American Hero?

 

ARE WOLVES IN WISCONSIN AFFECTING THE BIODIVERSITY OF PLANT COMMUNITIES VIA A TROPHIC CASCADE?

 

Overgrazing deer are changing the face of US forests. Deer proliferation disrupts a forest’s natural growth. Cornell researchers have discovered that a burgeoning deer population forever alters the progression of a forest’s natural future by creating environmental havoc in the soil and disrupting the soil’s natural seed banks. Below are three references on this issue.

http://mediarelations.cornell.edu/2014/03/07/deer-proliferation-disrupts-a-forests-natural-growth/

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0091155

http://earthsky.org/earth/overgrazing-by-deer-is-changing-the-face-of-u-s-forests#.UyzQwM9coqM.email

 

My Latest Musings 9 March, 2014

Predators are supposed to exert strong control oer ecosystems, but nature doesn’t always play by the rules.

Rethinking predators: Legend of the wolf

 

Return of the beaver to the San Pedro River.

 A great video about passive restoration in action.

 

Top Predator on the Plains: Wolf, Bear, or Human?

 

Forget Hunter’s Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings.

Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

 

I’m concerned that this question is even being raised.

Is natural history still relevant for conservation science?

 

More from George Monbiot on rewilding

 

When Renewables Destroy Nature

How Integrating Society Into Nature Can Be Bad For Both

 

From Norbert Hoeller:

Intervention by aborigines may have increased biodiversity and stability while a narrow focus on conservation may have reduced resilience.

Every species influences its environment – shades of grey rather than ‘black and white’

 

From Santa Fe Institute (Gregory West and others):

Scientists explain a fundamental equation of life

 

American Prairie Reserve’s mission to create a reserve of more than three million acres represents one of the largest conservation projects in the United States today.

My latest musings February 24 2014

Should human welfare trump wildlife?

Another story about connections in Nature.. Where beaver lead, the moose will follow.

We are all the heroes of our own lives Occupy A Hero’s Journey

Along with that, the talk between Frodo and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings: “All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you”

An interesting blog that examines the science of flow – how energy travels through natural systems, the patterns it produces on its way

A really great video on how a few wolves restored both an ecosystem and its geography.

Ice bridge to Isle Royale is complete, will new wolves cross it? Will more wolves join the depleted population on the island?

Another article covering the scientific debate about whether or not to introduce more wolves to Isle Royale.

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The Wolf Credo

Respect the elders

Teach the young

Cooperate with the pack

Play when you can

Hunt when you must

Rest in between

Share your affections

Voice your feelings

Leave your mark

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The world’s mad obsession with unlimited growth. Check out this great hamster video

MIDWAY, a Message from the Gyre is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy—and our own complicity—head on. And in this process, we find an unexpected route to a transformational experience of beauty, acceptance, and understanding.

Did Marius The Giraffe Have To Die?

I get so tired of these senseless killings by man who think they are experts on Nature. There were plenty of other alternatives !!!

Here is another post on the same subject.

Unsettled Science Behind Proposal to Lift Gray Wolf Protections, Panel Says

My Latest Musings 8 February 2014

Trophy hunting of grizzly bears in Canada results in an overkill

 

The Caribou’s struggle for survival in Northern Idaho while the deer thrives. Mankind in the middle once more

 

Bison Good, Cattle Bad? A Prairie Ecologist’s Perspective from Nature Conservancy

A fresh perspective on grazing that seems to counter many research projects. The researcher in this report sees less of a difference between bison grazing and cattle grazing. He suggests that any differences are more to do with grazing strategy rather than animal biology.

Also see more at: http://blog.nature.org/science/2014/02/03/bison-good-cattle-bad-a-prairie-ecologists-perspective/#sthash.Z31wPhm8.dpuf

Lethal methods of controlling coyotes have unintended consequences for ranchers and farmers.

There are unintended consequences that result from using lethal control measures on coyote populations. My husband and I run 300 mother cows that calve in pastures alongside coyote packs and other predators. We use only non-lethal livestock protection methods and I can’t remember the last time we lost a calf to predation.

The prophylactic killing of coyotes might make ranchers feel like they are doing something to protect their livestock, but numerous studies have proven the exact opposite to be true. Coyotes biologically respond to hunting pressures by having more pack members breed, and in turn have larger litters in which more pups survive. These packs that are fractured by hunting also leave juvenile coyotes orphaned, and thus more likely to come into conflict with pets and livestock.

Celebrating world wetlands day

Wetlands are incredibly important ecosystems. They provide vital benefits for millions of people, including food, fibre, flood protection, water purification and supply. Their importance is reflected in the designation of nearly 2,000 Wetlands of International Importance covering more than 191 million hectares.

 

Anxiety about the size of the world population has a dangerous tendency to override concern for the human beings who make up that population. The myth that saving lives leads to overpopulation is challenged by well-documented trends that suggests wealthier, healthier countries have fewer children because the odds are better that the ones they have will survive infancy. This pattern of falling death rates followed by falling birth rates applies for the vast majority of the world. Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world.

Written by Melinda Gates

 

Monsanto blamed for the disappearance of monarch butterflies

Biogist Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota has pinpointed the increased use of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides in the United States and Canada as a culprit.

The use of Roundup has destroyed the monarch butterfly’s primary food source, a weed called milkweed that used to be commonly found across North America. As the agriculture industry boomed and farmers effectively eliminated milkweed from the land in order to maximize crop growth, there was a parallel decline in the butterfly’s population.

 

Escaped salmon can edge out their wild cousins and weaken the gene pool.

Escaped farmed salmon threaten their wild cousins because they compete for food and mates. Because farmed salmon are bigger and faster-growing, they often win out. And when farmed salmon succeed in mating with wild salmon, they are liable to produce genetically inferior offspring.

 

Nicolas Perony: Puppies! Now that I’ve got your attention, complexity theory.

Animal behavior isn’t complicated, but it is complex. Nicolas Perony studies how individual animals — be they Scottish Terriers, bats or meerkats — follow simple rules that, collectively, create larger patterns of behavior. And how this complexity born of simplicity can help them adapt to new circumstances, as they arise.

 

Design For Living: The Hidden Nature Of Fractals.

 

Mankind’s obliteration of the passenger pigeon.

 

The ecology of fear: Elk responses to wolves in Yellowstone Park are not what we thought.

 

View this crowd funded think tank where there are a very well researched series of reports on climate change done by non-academics.

No funds come from grants. Only crowd funding. Center For The Study of Climate Change Conflict [  CS3C.org ]. “CS3C’s vision is climate change event and conflict reporting and resolution by developing the widest possible global involvement.  This is a forum for the smallest community to draw attention to the effects of  a changing climate on their community. The goal is to gain immediate attention to climate change threats as they develop by widening the reporting channel beyond the current government and NGO reporting base.”

My Latest Musings – 24 January 2014

 

 

 

I’m deeply interested in fractal geometry because it helps portray and explain Nature. Here is a historic video of Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry where he spoke about how he discovered fractals, and how scientists, architects and artists have unconsciously applied fractular geometry to their work. This was one of his last few talks before he left us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Must-See Video About The Yellowstone Wolves. Narrated by Peter Coyote

 

From Andy Revkin in an interview with Nature Conservancy: “I think environmentalists too long have relied on framing issues in two ways: “woe is me” and “shame on you.” It’s all terrible and it’s all someone else’s fault (usually a big company). There are plenty of bad actors, mind you (I’ve done my share of revealing them), and environmental losses and risks can be unnerving. But there’s plenty to be energized about, and it’s also vital for us — as consumers of oil and coal and metals and plastics and all the rest – to confront both our indirect role in despoliation and to acknowledge how these resources have improved lives.”

 

The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra. An inspiring 4 minute video about very poor people who live in a landfill where the children have transformed trash into musical instruments. They’ve gone on to form an orchestra.