Deer kill moose, too. Our population is greatly affected with brainworm, a
parasite which does not kill deer. As the core population was transplanted
from Canada, we often blame the DNR for not picking Finnish moose, where
_brain_ worm would be no problem...
Impatient with the slow growth of the population of wandering types, which
were not likely to meet and mate, the interested swapped some Michigan
turkeys for Ontario moose. Boxed and choppered after suitable health checks
into the Upper Peninsula near the Peshekee river.
http://www.miningjournal.net/ and search for "moose" on 02/02/05
"Reintroduction" is the term they use. The reintroduced fishers wiped out
the grouse, then began working on porkies. Reintroduced wolves don't do as
well against deer in semi-open country, but they have made inroads into the
coyote population, and the occasional house pet or calf.
Mel says: "We are discussing the plausibility
of an 'explosion' of epic proportions that is indicative of a decline
livability of our world."
Read my posts again--I am not arguing that deer populations have
exploded. I have said that the major reason for any increase, if there
is one, is likely the activity of our species, to wit, "urbanization",
and that this activity does reduce the livability of our planet. I do
not limit the term "urban" to what occures in cities. Rather, it is the
wide range of human activities which, obviously and subtly, change
natural environments for our benefit, and which, in this age, are on
the "urban" end of the continuum (with the possible exception of those
quiet, tail-less neanders known to lurk here-abouts.)
I include in this category all industrial processes, and specifically
those of industrial agriculture, practiced on 349 million acres (that's
about 18% of the lower 48, BTW, if I use the figures you provided). I
include agriculture because we seem to have a terribly difficult time
thinking of farming as a industrial process when, in all likelihood,
your hypothetical farmer living in his hypothetical 1800 s.f. probably
tills, chemically treats, and otherwise manipulates better than 2000
acres of cropland (and in some parts of the country, many thousands
more), or oversees the production and feeding of thousands of head of
cattle/hogs/chickens--a scale of activity far beyond what is
traditionally thought of as "rural". Add to this 18% the additional
acreage affected by our use of that developed (built-upon?) 6%
(effluent, erosion, pollution, habitat disruption, etc.), and it's fair
to say we have a direct impact on better than 25% of the land mass (and
we haven't even begun to talk about air or water). The world is not so
simple that the consequences of our actions are confined to the merely
6% of "built" environment.
The fact that our activities are beneficial to a few species besides
our own does not mean we should ignore the consequences to the rest.
While our "development" may contribute to the increased viability (for
how long is yet unknown) of some species--deer--it is known to be
profoundly detrimental to very many more. This attitude of complacency
is what I call myopia. No credible source denies the decline and
extinction of species now occuring on the earth is due in large part to
human activity; this is no reason for celebration.
In most of that tilled acreage, the only real difference is that the
same acreage is now farmed by fewer individuals, not that the acreage
itself wasn't farmed. Tillage practices such as low- and no-till are
indeed much more prevalent and disturb the soil far less than
conventional tillage of even 20 years ago. In that sense it is, indeed,
more "rural" than before. W/ the advent of fairly sizable acreages
devoted to the Conservation Reserve, quite significant areas are, in
fact, now back into near pre-farming condition and forbs and other
native species are returning. There are, of course, exotics in both
flora and fauna that are unavoidable given imports over the years...
The tillage practices of which you speak are only possible with the
more resource and management intensive practices I am calling
"industrial". The only reason fewer farmers can till the same acreage
is the increased use of chemicals, and larger equipment-- again, all
"industrial" and thus "urban" by my definition. What little acreage
is in the CR does not compare to that under cultivation, and I assume
did not enter the USDA data as cropland to be sighted by Mel (?) above.
Our farmlands may be less populated, but they are certainly more urban
than 50 years ago.
I believe it is still in the list as it in large proportion is land
taken from production. I'n not sure of total acres, but CRP is <not> an
insignificant number--the particular county I'm in is roughly half 'n
half and has been now for about 15 years or so...
One can define things however one desires, I suppose....doesn't
necessarily <make> it so, however.
Low- and no-till make significant differences in soil texture and
quality that are demonstrable in the laboratory--much different than the
centuries old normal tillage practices in result and much more nearly
approximating undisturbed soil. That's a reversion to "less urban" to
my way of thinking...
confined to the merely 6% of "built" environment.
Yet you insinuate it is simple enough to be unable to withstand the
consequences of our actions... interesting. Do you know that Mount St.
Helens emitted more pollutants in a single day of eruption than all the
vehicles in the entire state of California did in 2000 which incidentally
was the highest known year for emissions for that state?
extinction of species now occurring on the earth is due in large part to
human activity; this is no reason for celebration.
Nor is there a credible source that proves it to be so. This whole notion
somehow we are the alien species and not a legitimate part of the natural
order of things
is ludicrous. Species became extinct before we became "industrialized" and
at what rate
we simply do not know. Nor do we have a firm grasp on the current rate.
Let's look at your argument for a moment and try to see "The Big Picture".
You see an increase in the deer population. You've stated that you suspect
due to the decline of a competing species, a herbivore, due to the actions
of man. You've stated
it points to the general decline in the livability of our world.
What I see is this... if in fact there is an increase in the deer population
isn't that "nature" correcting the imbalance?
Wouldn't the loss of a major competing species that kept the vegetation in
check without any sort of correction
in itself be considerably more damaging? Doesn't the very correction of
increased deer population
prove that nature can and will mend itself?
Since 99.9% of all species have gone extinct before man came along, it's
hard to understand how we could compete with nature in this regard.
To escape criticism--do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." (Elbert Hubbard)
Its not hard at all if you understand the concept of rate.
Nor is it hard to understand that we can drastically reduce
that rate over the next century or so, with virtually no negative
long-term impact on human society.
Yes, and how many years now has Mt. St. Helens been spitting forth
consistently more pollution than Calif.? How did that single eruption
compare to the total emisions from all human sources in the U.S. in one
year--pick any? This fallacious logic isn't worthy of you.
Neither is this focus you have on "single" events/species/whatever. My
argument is that we are affecting every natural system, and an even
greater number of species (some of which we haven't even identified).
I've seen figures that state we have more trees in the U.S. than at any
time in the past. What these figures don't say is that the number of
different species of trees in any given location is much less. This is
a narrowing of the ecosystem, all the way around: fewer kinds of trees
means that fewer kinds of birds will use them, fewer kinds of mammals
will hide in them, fewer kinds of insects will eat them. The fact that
we have more deer does not mean nature is "correcting" the damage we
are causing. I've stated I believe it means just the opposite.
I also do not believe we are an "alien" species; I do think we could
take better care of our home. We don't have to trash it. After all,
we do have the biggest, most complex brain (excluding the cetacea); I
think that gives us some responsibility.
The world isn't "too simple" to fix itself, it's too complex for us to
be irresponsible and stupid. The ice age was a natural event;
pollution from compounds never possibily created in the wild is not.
Concentrated mercury contamination of the food chain, scattered the
world over (how's that for a paradox?), is due to human activity
alone--nothing like it in nature.
Given enough time, sure the world could probably create another
ecosystem. Unfortunately, this is the one we live in. We probably
wouldn't be included in the next one, at least not for several million
years--we're proving to be pretty expensive.
Sighhh.... again with your tunnel vision. Mt St Helens is but one. Look
here for a wider perspective.
I believe you began the focus on a "single" event/species/whatever with your
"As to the explosion of deer and geese populations...This does not bode
well for the future--it means the overall livability of our world is in
I'll agree 100% but I'm going to add to it. Nor have we identified the
extent of the affect. It's
the jump to the conclusion it must be negative and irreversible that bothers
What these figures probably did say Dan is that forestry management has
more trees to grow in a given area. Canopy management, the removal of a
tree to provide access to sunlight by several smaller trees is a common
practice. Not only that
Dan, it also allows flora and fauna that grows beneath the canopy to thrive.
Contrary to your
conclusion of "narrowing of the ecosystem" it is in fact broadening it.
Ahh the whale finally surfaces.
I agree with you Dan for the most part that we have a responsibility as
of this planet. Where I find exception with your statements is this-
You presume to sit and lecture on irresponsible human behavior as it affects
the world around us.
You do this from a computer which is composed of all sorts of "unnatural"
stuff that will
eventually find it's way into a landfill of sorts. This same appliance is
one of the highest consumers
of electricity in your house. Other unnecessary appliances which I'm sure
you own a few would
be TV's, washer, dryer, microwave, dishwasher, blow dryer, etc. etc.
Furthermore Dan, if you've ever taken food out of the refrigerator and
discarded it because you let it go bad
or ordered more food at a restaurant than you could eat you've contributed
irresponsibly to the
over industrialization of our farmlands.
And finally Dan.... your statements presupposes God isn't in control.
At least here, game population statistics are developed from far more
than just harvest counts and include detailed statistical sampling
counts. These are done as part of the management of all game species
for both control and to develop understanding of needs for maintaining
stable populations. In some instances, such as deer, its primarily a
control issue. In others such as the greater prairie chicken, it's a
There are a few individual land owners who "farm" deer for hunting
purposes, but they're the minority by far...the revenue lost to damage
caused to crops by excessive numbers far outweighs the hunting revenue
(again, at least here where it is a largely agricultural-based
economy--forested areas in the farther north/east that are non-farming
may well be biased the other way).
When writing the previous, I was thinking of areas in TN/VA where I was
that indeed, the forage depredation in areas of Lynchburg was really
nearly to the point you describe. Oak Ridge, TN, is another area which
owing to the large DOE reservation w/ no hunting for a long time the
numbers had simply gotten out of hand.
The point I was making was simply that w/ areas where predators are
removed and other means for harvesting aren't there, the numbers rise to
the point of being far greater than they would be for the same area
otherwise. This is an imbalance. Is it an indication of greater or
lesser "livability", whatever that is, I don't know. I guess that
depends on whether you're a deer or a displaced predator.
Surely that depends on how you define 'developed'. Farmland has
been developed for farming, pastureland for grazing, and large
areas have been developed for silviculture (relevant to this ng).
ISTR that we import a lot of fruit and vegetables too.
the U. S.
See? Developed for grazing.
Does that include land developed for silviculture?
The U.S cropland base and agricultural production do not contribute
to biodiversity. They reduce it.
Hey, he have to eat, we need fibers, we need wood and so on. I'm
not saying that developement is all or even primarily bad. But let's
be honest with ourselves and not pretend that a soybean field or
a tree farm is biodiverse, OK? That would be like claiming farmed
salmon to be indicative of a healthy riparian environment.
One thing I didn't see you mention, which piqued my curiosity, is what
percentage of all this land is actually arable in the first place. If a
jillion million acres aren't urbanized and they aren't in use for farming
or grazing, etc., that doesn't mean they're wide open habitat for, say,
I'd say, in fact, looking at the specific question of deer, that you just
about have to limit your range of possible habitats to the places where
trees would be growing if people weren't there. I don't think deer used to
roam the great plains, did they? I don't think they used to live in the
Mojave. Don't think, but don't really know. I'm asking a question, not
making a statement here. It just seems that analysis isn't taking into
account the vast tracts of land out west that aren't very liveable, which
are bound to eat up a noteworthy portion of the available area for all of
the endeavors enumerated as uses for land.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
"Arable" means fit for cultivation and is around 19%. Non-arable lands
would include deserts, forests, swamplands etc. Most of this habitat is
perfectly capable of sustaining a deer population. Blacktail or Mule deer
actually prefer the arid climate found in the western states including the
"...where the deer and the antelope play..." :)
Yes, they did (and do, particularly now that there's so much CRP grass
again). I saw three sets of twin fawns this spring/summer just on our
land, thanks to the bountiful(for us) rains this spring and again
starting in mid-June...
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