GR: Most nature conservationists work to benefit humans by preventing destructive overuse of wildlife, vegetation, and soil. In the midst of the sixth mass extinction and reading about the losses of our great forests and soils, I believe it is clear that homocentric conservation has been ineffective. Placing nature beneath humans is the wrong approach. It’s time to recognize the equal importance of other species, both plants and animals, on the Earth. In fact, it’s time to begin reducing human numbers and returning the land to the animals.
This article by Marc Bedner discusses the history of the relationship between hunting and wildlife conservation.
No Refuge for Wildlife
“The armed hunter-rancher occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge shows the need for the Federal Government to enforce wildlife protection laws. Unfortunately, wildlife refuges were designed from the outset to benefit hunters, not wildlife, in accordance with principles the Boone and Crockett Club developed a century ago.
“Theodore Roosevelt, a notorious big game hunter, co-founded Boone and Crockett with George Bird Grinnell (who founded one of the first Audubon societies). Membership in the Boone and Crockett Club was originally restricted to men who had killed at least three different large species of American wildlife, including bear, bison, caribou, cougar, and moose. Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which traces its origins to President Theodore Roosevelt, is one of 336 wildlife refuges (out of a total of 560) which allow hunting.
“Among the early members of the Club were Aldo Leopold and Gifford Pinchot. In 1905 Roosevelt appointed Pinchot as the first Chief Forester of the U.S. Forest Service. After working for the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico, Leopold developed Pinchot’s principles of scientific forest management into a new science of game management. In conjunction with the Boone & Crockett Club, the Wildlife Society certifies game managers as trademarked wildlife biologists in accordance with principles now called the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.” –Marc Bedner (read more).
I agree with your comment Gary, that current conservation models are not working, and that we need to get away from homocentric management. Nature, or the entire world for that matter, was not put here for humans to use and consume. We need a more holistic model that recognizes the importance of natural processes, many of which are dependent upon complex biological interactions. We need to take a lighter approach to management, and put intact ecosystems as management goals, not the number of harvestable ungulates.
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Thanks Chris339. I like your blog and your comments. Lighter management indeed. No management might be better than what we’ve had.