Posts Tagged ‘ecology’

Wildfire: Let It Burn

August 11, 2017

Wildfire: Let It Burn

“Scientists at the cutting edge of ecological research … argue that the century-old American practice of suppressing wildfires has been nothing less than a calamity. They are calling for a new approach that basically involves letting backcountry fires burn across millions of acres.

In principle, the federal government accepted a version of this argument years ago, but in practice, fires are still routinely stamped out across much of the country. To the biologists, that has imperiled the plants and animals — hundreds of them, it turns out — that prefer to live in recently burned forests.”

“Scientists are still trying to figure out how regularly forests burned in what is now the United States in the centuries before European settlement, but reams of evidence suggest the acreage that burned was more than is allowed to burn today — possibly 20 million or 30 million acres in a typical year. Today, closer to four million or five million acres burn every year.

‘From an ecological standpoint, everything I’ve learned teaches me this is a good idea: Stop putting out fires,’ said Jennifer R. Marlon, a geographer at Yale who was among the first to use the term “fire deficit” to describe the situation. ‘These forests are made to have fire.’

Human lives are at stake, too. Firefighters die, more than a dozen in some years, putting out fires that many scientists think should be allowed to burn.”

— Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows,” Justin Gillis, New York Times

More:

“The Future of Fighting Wildfires in the Era of Climate Change,” Bob Berwyn, Pacific Standard

“Benefits of Fire,” SmokeyBear.com

“Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes,” Tania Schoennagela, Jennifer K. Balcha, Hannah Brenkert-Smith et al., PNAS

“Fire Ecology,” Pacific Biodiversity Institute

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Top image (“Smokey Says ‘Let It Burn'”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Ain’t No Fish

March 6, 2017

“Some Days There Just Ain’t No Fish.” Produced and directed by Miki Cash and Tom Gasek of Wonky Films. Song written by Carl Sigman and Bob Russell; sung by Hoagy Carmichael.

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Standing Rock

November 22, 2016

“Mni Wiconi: The Standing at Standing Rock,” a short film by Lucian Read about the Native American people of the Standing Rock  community who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline project. “Mni Wiconi” means “Water is Life” in the Sioux language.

This week, some people are choosing to join them for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Updates:

“Medics Describe How Police Sprayed Standing Rock Demonstrators With Tear Gas and Water Cannons,” Alleen Brown, The Intercept

“Police defend use of water cannons on Dakota Access protesters in freezing weather,” Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

“Trump owns stock in Dakota Access parent company,” Harper Neidig, The Hill
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All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)

December 3, 2015

In the spirit of the holiday season and the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

“All I Want is Truth (for Christmas),” written and performed by Laura Burhenn with her band The Mynabirds.

You can order donloads here

Laura Burhenn @ TEDx

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Australia Will Kill Millions of Kitty Cats

July 21, 2015

Australia Will Kill All the Kitty Cats
20 to 30 million feral cats roam Australia, killing 75 million animals each night. 29 of the continent’s mammals have been lost to extinction, and feral cats are implicated in 28 of these eradications. More than 120 Australian animals are currently at risk of extinction by feral cats, which also spread diseases that affect farm livestock.

These critters are not the mild-mannered moggies British colonists brought with them since arriving in 1788 but ferocious felines weighing up to 30 pounds. The Australian government wants to kill 2 million of these furry furies in the next 5 years.

More:

“Feline Massacre: Australia Unveils Plan to Kill Two Million Feral Cats,” Vice

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The Nutella Affair

June 19, 2015

The Nutella Affair

Not since Louis XII seized Milan has there been such conflict between France and Italy. French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal urged the public to stop eating Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut goo, to help prevent deforestation. Nutella is 20 percent palm oil, and palm plantations are often created by cutting down huge swaths of topical forests. Italy went into an uproar, since Nutella is made by Ferrero, the huge confectionery firm based outside Turin. Michele Anzaldi of the Camera dei Deputati was outraged by the grave e brutto slur against eccellenza italiana.

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‘Tis the Season … to Gun Down Deer in Rock Creek Park

December 2, 2014

'Tis the Season ... to Gun Down Deer in Rock Creek Park

The National Park Service resumed its “Deer Reduction Program” last night, deploying sharpshooters in Rock Creek Park to shoot whitetail deer in the middle of the Nation’s capital. The seasonal slaughter will continue every night until March 15th, and recommence next winter. Last winter’s cull cut deer density in half, from 80 to 40 deer per square mile. The Park Service is shooting for a goal of 15 to 20 deer per square mile.

Venison harvested by the program is donated to food programs for the homeless.

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Image (“Rock Creek Deer Hunt, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Happy New Year, Bambi

January 4, 2014

Happy New Year, Bambi

2014 sees the resumption of the white tailed deer hunt in DC’s Rock Creek Park. National Park Service sharpshooters are blasting the graceful critters again as part of a 15-year deer management plan. When NPS started the cull in 2012 there were 320 deer in the urban park, 77 deer per square mile. The target density NPS is shooting for: 15 to 20 deer per square mile. To provide a partially happy ending to this tale, venison harvested by the program is donated to programs for the homeless.

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Image (“Rock Creek Deer Hunt, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Rock Creek Park: 20 Deer Down, 130 to Go.

April 2, 2013

Rock Creek Park: 20 Deer Down, 130 to Go.

Despite protests by concerned DC citizens, sharpshooters have bagged 20 deer in Rock Creek Park, which runs though the middle of the Nation’s Capital. The National Park Service is reducing whitetail over-population in the urban outdoors, and hopes to harvest a total of 150 critters by the end of a 3-year deer-reduction period. Resulting venison is donated to local food banks and shelters.

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Image (“Rock Creek Deer Hunt, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Bye-Bye Bambi: The Hunt Is On In Rock Creek Park.

March 27, 2013

Bye-Bye Bambi: The Hunt Is On In Rock Creek Park.

In the dead of night, while half the city is out of town for Easter Week, the National Park Service is implementing its ruthless slaughter of helpless, cute, fuzzy deer whitetail reduction plan in Rock Creek Park.

More:

“‘Deer Reduction Operations’ to Begin Tonight in Rock Creek Park,” Martin Austermuhle, DCist

“Sharpshooters to begin killing deer in Rock Creek Park for National Park Service,” AP via Washington Post

“Rock Creek Park Deer Slaughter Starts Tonight,” Will Sommer, Washington City Paper blog.

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Image (“Bye-Bye Bambi, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length