A Survey of the “War on Wildlife”: How Conflict Affects Conservation

GR: Conflicts should perhaps be included in the list of the top nature destroying human activities. This gives us construction and farming, global warming, invasive species, pesticides and toxic wastes, soil erosion, resource harvesting (deforestation, fishing, and hunting), and conflict. As global warming advances, conflict will probably move up in the list.

“Over the last 60 years, more than two-thirds of the world’s remaining biodiversity hotspots have experienced armed conflict. The effects have been myriad, from destruction as a result of military tactics to indirect socioeconomic and political changes, like human migration and displacement. This so-called “war on wildlife” has important implications for conservation and peacebuilding efforts, according to a recent literature review published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.“

“Through armed conflict, global socioeconomic and political dynamics can ultimately threaten local animal populations and the vulnerable human communities that rely on their services,” said Kaitlyn Gaynor, lead author of the study, via email.

“The paper, a collaboration between natural and social scientists at the University of California-Berkeley, categorizes 144 case studies around the world that illustrate direct or indirect links between armed conflict and critical wildlife populations, from African elephants in Angola to mountain gorillas in Rwanda.

“The results of the literature review show a clear trend towards “non-tactical” pathways of conflict affecting wildlife more than tactical. Non-tactical pathways include changing institutional dynamics (83 cases), movements of people (81 cases), and altered economies (84 cases).” –Bethany N. Bella (Continue: A Survey of the “War on Wildlife”: How Conflict Affects Conservation.)

Horse Creek Project: Losing Taxpayer Money to Harm Spotted Owls

GR:  Relentlessly, the U. S. Forest Service sacrifices forest ecosystems so timber companies can make profits.  Personally, I would like to see the Forest Service protect the forests, not sell them out. Isn’t that what we expect them to do?

Low severity fire in upper Buckhorn Creek. Small snag patches such as this one in upper Buckhorn Creek are being targeted for logging by the KNF. The damage to soils, forest regeneration, and habitat complexity will degrade some of the watershed’s only remaining old-growth forest. Photo courtesy of Luke Ruediger http://www.siskiyoucrest.blogspot.com.

“Meet the Horse Creek Project, the Klamath’s new boondoggle that will log sensitive areas while losing taxpayer money. (There’s something in it for everyone to hate!)

“The Klamath National Forest cannot let a fire go to “waste.” Following the 2016 Gap Fire, the Klamath National Forest is trying to log areas that should be off-limits: Late Successional Reserves, forests set aside from commercial timber harvest so that they can develop into old-growth forests; Riparian Reserves, areas around streams that are supposed to be off-limits to logging to prevent water pollution; and northern spotted owl habitat. The Klamath National Forest argues that logging large diameter snags, (which will stand for decades until new forests grow up around them all the while providing critical wildlife habitat) is good for the forests and for wildlife—paradoxical logic that has been rejected by both science and the courts.

“If history is any guide, the Klamath National Forest will lose money in logging owl habitat—what’s known in Forest Service parlance as a “deficit sale.” Burned forests are worth more to owls and fishers than they are to timber mills. To make a profit, timber companies need to purchase trees from the Klamath National Forest for next to nothing. In several timber sales from earlier this year, the Klamath National Forest sold a logging truck’s worth of timber for about $2.50—less than the price of a cup of coffee. The Klamath will lose untold thousands or millions of dollars on this timber sale, money that could go to protecting local communities or improving wildlife habitat.” –Tom Wheeler (Continue reading:  Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) » Horse Creek Project: Losing Taxpayer Money to Harm Spotted Owls).

Save Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge!

GR:  Global climate change and other issues beset us from all sides, but we must still try to protect and care for the small wild places that remain.

“Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last remaining protected remnants of the northern Everglades left in Florida.

“It’s a national treasure, providing ideal feeding and nesting habitat for more than 250 species of birds, including the largest colony of wading birds in the Everglades. Acting as a natural filter, the refuge also provides clean water for communities in South Florida. But now it’s in danger of being lost forever.

“Loxahatchee isn’t like most other refuges. It is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) through a lease agreement with the South Florida Water Management District, which manages drinking water supplies and flood control in south Florida. Now the water management district wants to rescind the lease from the federal government, effectively closing the refuge for good.The District contends that FWS has done a poor job at raising funds from Congress to manage invasive plant species on the refuge, as stipulated in the lease agreement. These non-native plants, such as melaleuca trees and Old World climbing fern, damage the dwindling Everglades habitat. Yet the state has done a poor job itself of controlling invasive species in its surrounding Water Management District Areas. In fact, Loxahatchee became infested with Old World climbing fern from surrounding state-owned lands. Revoking the lease agreement will not solve this regional invasive species problem.” –Haley McKey (continue:  Save Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge!

NPR Poo-Poos Catastrophic Wildlife Collapse; Issues Happy Pills Instead

GR:  I have often lamented the lack of ecological knowledge among our leaders and news media.  Here’s a story by Joe Bish that illustrates the problem of ignorance among reporters.

“If you are like me, you may often wonder why such a great percentage of your fellow citizens do not fully appreciate the ecological crisis. But then, you read a report such as published by NPR below: this odious gem was printed in the wake of the recent World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report.

“I initially guffawed at the temerity of the reporter to sow doubt about the massive publication’s authenticity, mangle Stuart Pimm’s sentiments, and finally force-feed the reader a good dose of artificial happy pills. However, the more I read the article, the more insidious it became — for the simple reason it just does not convey the dire nature of what WWF published. It’s simply terrible reporting — and therein, perhaps, is one reason so few truly grasp the predicament we face. Recall this is an NPR story that probably reached multiple millions of people.

“The reporter, Rebecca Hersher, seems to have plenty of experience — see below — just hardly any that pertains to ecology. Therefore, she is left with the standard artifice of modern journalism: to manufacture controversy and look for “another point of view.”

“NOTE: Hersher came to NPR from Nature Medicine, where she wrote about biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, and started her career in science, with a B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard University in 2011. She has been a staff member of NPR’s All Things Considered. She was one of the producers of NPR’s Peabody-winning coverage of the 2014 Liberia Ebola epidemic (work that won her the Edward R. Murrow award for use of sound.) During her time at NPR, she also embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan on an assignment with NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.”–Joe Bish, Population Media Center (NPR Poo-Poos Catastrophic Wildlife Collapse; Issues Happy Pills Instead).