19 Jul 2010, 11:35am
Forestry education
by admin

Taunting Ecologists

A few decades ago, in the dim and murky past, I attended the UC Forestry Summer Camp at Meadow Valley in the Sierras. All UC forestry students were required to spend 8 weeks taking intensive courses “in the field”. It was a wonderful experience where professors and students forged bonds, and we all absorbed heaping piles of forestry education.

The Camp had (still has) cabins, a mess hall, and some lecture rooms. My term included some 90 students. The Teaching Assistants would call us to class and meals with a battery-operated megaphone, which was necessary due to the size of the student body and our dispersed living arrangements. Still, the megaphone message system was annoying, being somewhat reminiscent of boot camp or a prisoner-of-war facility.

One evening a student (Fred P.) stole the megaphone from a TA (Ron W.). Fred then took off into the woods and began taunting Ron, using the megaphone with volume at full blast.

“Zere vil be no escapes.” “You are under our control.” “Ve have ways of bending you our vil.” “Ha ha ha ha ha!” Etc.

Fred was an athletic guy, a college gymnast, and quick. Ron was a little bit portly even then, and he couldn’t catch him. Fred played with that megaphone for hours. He darted around in the woods from one side of the camp to the other, hooting at Ron, who gamely tried to catch him, with no success. It was a delightful show.

I was reminded of this incident by an old friend and erstwhile Summer Camp historian, who sent me the following news clipping:

Ecologists shun the urban jungle

Only one in six papers tackles inhabited areas

by Zoë Corbyn, Nature.com, 16 July 2010 [here]

The world’s top ecologists are failing to study the landscapes that most need work, and they risk delaying conservation efforts and making their subject irrelevant.

That is the stark message from US researchers who have quantified the extent to which ecologists devote themselves to pristine wilderness at the expense of inhabited regions. The bias is a major problem for both the field and the environment, they say, because it is areas used by humans — which take up most of the Earth’s land-mass — that are in most need of conservation.

The researchers will present their work at next month’s Ecological Society of America meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Right now our backyards are black boxes,” says Laura Martin, an ecology graduate student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who was inspired to pursue the analysis after she read a feature published in Nature last year (see ‘Ecology: Ragamuffin Earth’). “There are suburbs, villages and agricultural lands that are being completely left out of the picture as far as ecological processes go,” she says. The tendency to gravitate towards the wilderness for fieldwork has long been recognized among ecologists, but has never before been quantified.

Martin and her colleagues reviewed each of the 8,040 papers that had been published in the top ten ecology journals worldwide over the last five years, homing in on the 2,573 studies that were conducted on land and categorizing them according to the authors’ descriptions of the sites examined.

They found that in only around one in six papers had the ecologists deliberately set out to study regions used by humans. …

The article perhaps inadvertently reveals a sad truth: ecologists in general are clueless regarding ecosystems. It’s not just that currently inhabited regions are not studied; it is that so-called “pristine wilderness” doesn’t exist!

No (terrestrial) locale studied by modern ecologists has been “uninhabited” over the last 10,000+ years. Human beings have lived everywhere and had significant impact and influence on plant and animal distributions and populations. People have been a key component of ecosystems for millennia. We have not been remote from nature — we have been an integral part of it.

Ecologists are blundering into study areas with blinders on. They seek to study “pristine” nature without human influence, a condition which does not exist and has not existed for the longest time. Ecologists have no idea what they’re looking at, and no idea how to look at it. They are trapped in a bubble (of their own making) where they contemplate illusion, not reality.

What fools!

The notion behind SOS Forests is to emulate Fred. We have a bully megaphone and we taunt the fools at full volume.

“Everything you know is wrong.” “You couldn’t find your backsides in a snowstorm.” “Ecologists have their heads buried in sand.” Etc.

We owe it all to Fred. He showed us the way.

And a tip of the hardhat to Al for spurring the recollections.

19 Jul 2010, 12:01pm
by bear bait

Big story in Natl Geographic about the Santa Clara Pueblo and the restoration of their lands following the Cerro Grande Fire (2000), that the National Park Service set and lost at Bandolier National Monument, and that burned all the way to and into Los Alamos, where it destroyed over 400 residences, caused the evacuation of 18,000 people, and did significant damage to the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

After the fire the Pueblo took over the management of their land from BIA… and
have set about doing restoration forestry. The article on pg 86 explains that Indians tended the land for millennia, and that what the Europeans discovered was hardly a pristine wilderness. There is no Eden to restore. At the least, with the good and the bad, Indians used the land. There was no wilderness.

Wilderness is a myth. What we need is good stewardship without silly a-scientific myths. Long term proper management with cognizance of actual history.

The article was interesting but confusing, because Nat Geo is in a pickle — they’re uncomfortable denying a myth that goes to the very core of their favorite government agency.

20 Jul 2010, 9:12am
by Larry H.

In my Internet “crusades”, I often run into those belligerent types who feel that it is the “green duty” to oppose me and my middle of the road scientific active forest management views. More often than not, it is some guy who provides a clear contrast of the issues. It’s almost like I made up a “sockpuppet” to argue against. They offer insults, namecalling and, sometimes, snippets of junk science. I offer scientific facts, decades of experience and a clear understanding of “natural” processes.

Alas, the Obama Administration has now chosen to embrace some of the “junkiest” science around to support their political views on forests. Has the Obama Forest Service “magically” eliminated all catastrophic wildfires? Have they suddenly “naturalized” all 22 million acres of dead forests? Are burned forests and brushfields going to be considered “resilient”, “desirable” and “wilderness”??

20 Jul 2010, 9:49pm
by bear bait

The USFS cops caught a “displaced foreign traveler” tending his marijuana “garden” on the Shasta-Trinity NF and arrested him using their K-9 dog. The ObamaNation official USFS name for an illegal alien is “displaced foreign traveler.” Now don’t that pull the scab right off with your band-aid!!!!

Displaced Foreign Traveler…who the [snip] thinks this [snip] up???

I am sooooooo tired of apologists for criminals in this country. Now that we have a non-white administration, we get this stuff instead of the truth. The truth is that they have yet to find a dope grow on USFS lands with a white person doing the growing. That is because the Mexican Drug cartels will kill them and the white guys know it.

Now we have to think up names for mindless, spineless bureaucrats who lean so far left as to almost be in constant danger of falling over. PisaForms? PisaPoor excuses for citizens? Spokespersons can be now called “Obfuscater in Charge.” Or Pisa Secretary. How about Truth Tuner. As in “USFS Truth Tuner Peggy Plaidshirt reported today that USFS law enforcement has arrested two beargrass cartel poachers for having more grass than their permit allowed. Ranger Darlene Ducktail said the over picking of bear grass has become a serious crime on the Forest, and there will be a scoping session on how to include bear grass flats into the next “let ‘er burn” fire event. The issue will be the wording of regulations regarding renewal by removal involving itinerant displaced foreign travelers without portfolios. Designation of Remittance Rangers and Pharmaceutical Gardeners will be discussed with the representative from the US Dept of Labor. Determination of unemployment benefits in winter is also on the table for those poor souls who are without work and benefits during the colder months, which is not the proper way to treat “Displaced Foreign Travelers without Portfolio.

22 Jul 2010, 11:17am
by Forrest Grump

Good point. Study of “pristine nature” is also right along the Deep Ecology line. I wonder how many of these “scientists” deliberately seek study areas so they can score a wilderness junket — one with all the proper amenities like bug juice, satphones, laptop, freezedried tofu stroganoff, et cetera.

22 Jul 2010, 8:41pm
by Bob Zybach

Forrest: All of them. Don’t forget “pretty grad student” and “per diem.” What a bunch of crap.

24 Jul 2010, 1:08am
by Al B

Reminds me of something from Ayn Rand Inst. and rerun or posted in http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/environment/5167-The-Danger-Environmentalism.html

The article is entitled :”The Danger of Environmentalism” and I am rather fond of the closing line.

“To save mankind requires the return to a philosophy of reason and individualism, a philosophy that makes life on earth possible.”

IMHO, stop the phenomenon of collectivism and the whole term ecosystems. They are artificial aggregates!



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