05, 2007 08:01 PST
I agree that folks looking to conserve and manage forests should
work with professional foresters as well as wildlife consultants
and other trained individuals. The problem is that many
organizations don't understand the importance of expert advice
in preserving healthy forests or are unable or unwilling to come
up with the funding for this advice. Even those that do seek
trained individuals still face a daunting task of finding the
right ones who can best work with them to achieve their goals. I
have run into a fair number of land managers, consultants and
other "professionals" that I would not let anywhere
near land that I cared about.
A guide that would help people recognize the beauty and
importance of healthy functioning forests could prove very
useful. It would help give conservation groups and land owners a
better understanding of the concepts and terminology involved.
They could then use this info to find and create better working
relationships with the forest professionals who can help them
accomplish their goals.
The guide might also prove useful to many of the professionals.
It could help them measure and understand if their current
practices are promoting or preventing forest aesthetics and/or
eco-logics. Or, by sharing it with their clients, the guide
could help to better explain the management recommendations they
05, 2007 08:55 PST
Ed and Everyone,
I think when it comes to biodiversity or aesthetics, the key is
to seek out a proper balance. Too much of any one thing is not
good for the forests or people's appreciation of them.
I love the open look and species uniformity of large old growth
forests. But, also love the chaos of naturally disturbed forest
patches and the early successional species that magically appear
in them. Or, the small pockets of unique species scattered in
micro habitats among the more pervasive forest types. Each kind
of habitat makes me appreciate the others even more.
Almost all the species present in North America today have been
around for several thousand years, with the exception of human
introduced invasives. The most significant changes over time
have been in the numerical composition of both species and
habitat types. Before the pilgrims most of these species existed
in relatively stable and slowly evolving proportions despite the
pressures of subsistence hunters and climatic fluctuations.
Since the pilgrims and industrialization that stability has been
disintegrating at an increasing rate, taking out countless
individual species with it. Biodiversity comes from individuals
evolving to unique habitats, unique climatic conditions and
competitive pressures. By doing this, they themselves become
unique. It is these unique individuals and the way they all
works together to create a sustainable and evolving system that
I find aesthetically pleasing.
I believe it is our obligation to better understand the changes
we are imposing upon our habitat and to share that knowledge
with others. We need to preserve what we can of the world we
evolved in and help what we can't preserve to evolve to our
actions. To do this we need to learn how to appreciate natural
landscapes for what they were, what they are, and what they will
08, 2007 05:43 PST
I wholeheartedly agree with you in terms of
what you said about our
obligation. But, I oscillate between optimism and pessimism in
what our species will accept as curbs to our runaway appetites.
end, I expect that nature will have the last word by reacting to
creation of imbalance with catastrophic swings of climate.
08, 2007 08:04 PST
I believe the bill for our excessive appetite over the last
couple of centuries is coming due now and nothing we do today
will stop that. But, I have seen the tide of human ignorance
begin to turn over the last decade and even though the turn is
painfully slow and has yet to reach the masses it does give me
As the effects of climate change begin to hit the pocket books
of governments and citizens, people will be forced to take
notice. It will someday (soon I hope) become very uncool to
drive around in hummers and build starter castles in the middle
of forests. Society will begin to recognize these actions as
greedy, self centered, and destructive. It is already becoming
hip to drive around in hybrids. Someday it will be the people
who live in balance with nature and society will be seen as the
true achievers of the American dream.
It is up to people with the foresight to see the long term
consequences of our actions to help everyone see the true
aesthetics of living sustainably in a healthy, functioning
environment. I know we cannot stop the consequences of our
ignorance and short sightedness. But, we can help change the
value set of people from one that promotes short term
gratification to one that supports long term survival and
reasonable contentment. If we redirect even a small portion of
the energy, intelligence, and enthusiasm people in the
industrialized world are using to create economic empires and
personal wealth, we could at least help soften the fall.
Unfortunately every day we fail to do this the job becomes
08, 2007 15:35 PST
I was thinking about your threads, and one of the thoughts that
to the forefront of my mind was how tied up we get in the
are all trying our dead level best to be good stewards, to be
caretakers, etc. at some level, and to the extent that everybody
now did that, some degree of success could be measured, and
Oddly enough, where it seems to break down, in my current frame
mind, is in our progeny, and our progeny's progeny...rare is the
generation that doesn't swing like a pendulum to an opposite
than the current one has taken. We can select our Honda or
hybrids with a certain self-satisfaction that we're doing the
thing, but what good does it do when our offspring, in declaring
sense of independence, throw off the chains of oppression and
their 300 horsepower Mustang GTs, EVOs or STis? The only thing
positive about the current craze for SUVs, is that their owner's
progeny will likely swing to Honda FITs or Toyota whatevers....we
society are SO fickle, that the mere suggestion of the size,
and horsepower advantage of SUVs has corrupted an entire
folks that GREW UP in the era of diminished dinosaur fuels...
Okay, enough with the rant! I'm feeling bad for my Subaru
small SUV getting only 20-30 mpg...