Biodiversity

Discussion of general forest ecology concepts and of forest management practices.

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edfrank
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Biodiversity

Post by edfrank » Sun May 16, 2010 8:14 pm

ENTS,

Here is a series of links to some nice articles/blogs about biodiversity.
nbmedia.JPG
What is biodiversity? And why do we care, anyway? (part 1)
http://www.nbmediacoop.org/index.php?op ... Itemid=178

So biodiversity is important. What's the crisis? (part 2)
http://www.nbmediacoop.org/index.php?op ... Itemid=178

Enough with the biodiversity bad news. What can be done to fix it? (part 3)
http://www.nbmediacoop.org/index.php?op ... Itemid=178
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: Biodiversity

Post by dbhguru » Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:31 pm

Ed,

Thanks for being our research arm. I eventually get to most of the topics, thanks to the Unanswered posts option. Great feature to have. We can cycle back and see what important discussions have not made it out into full daylight. I hope our other members don't forget about this useful feature of the BBS.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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edfrank
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Re: Biodiversity

Post by edfrank » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:03 pm

Bob,

By far the vast majority of the unanswered posts are by me. Many of them have to do with integrating the BBS structure with that of the website and do not really require a response. Many of the others are of topics that should be of general interest to the rest of the ENTS community and primarily represent links to outside sites that contain news items or materials that may be useful for reference to ENTS members. I am somewhat disappointed by the lack of response to many of these items. I have had a few hits - like the world's largest beaver dam, but most pass uncommented upon.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: Biodiversity

Post by dbhguru » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:55 am

Ed,

I don't think that it is a lack of interest in the topics you bring forth, and certainly there is no lack of appreciation for what you've done and continue to do for ENTS and the BBS. Rather, I think that the problem is that we live in an extremely complex world with many important topics front and center in our lives competing for our attention, courtesy of our sophisticated communication system - and especially the Internet. A common response to too many subjects to deal with is just to mentally shut down. I know I have that response at times. Additionally, Ed, you put very thought=provoking topics on the table - not the type for superficial one or two sentence responses. But back to the complexity of our world, and as a digression, what's on my plate.

The situation here in Massachusetts relative to biomass, clear-cutting on state properties, FFVP, green certification, protection for special forests, the conference this fall, etc. presents me with a full range of demanding topics. I feel like I'm letting important constituencies down by not being heavily involved in every environmental issue that's put in front of me. Then, there is planning for the WNTS rendezvous out west, a book on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Poplar Forest and Montpelier projects, our database and important uses to be made of it, reports to DCR on Friends activities, etc. These projects heap the pile higher. After a while, I want to drop it all and sneak out into the forest, measure a few trees, take a few photos, jots some impressions down, stitch it all together, make a post on the BBS, and go to bed. Old age is catching up.

But the topic of your original post is about biodiversity. It is a subject that has always intrigued me, and one I acknowledge has far reaching implications. What is biodiversity's real importance to us, today, locally, regionally, globally? That's an critically important question for us to answer, but one that languishes in muddy waters. As we no doubt agree, biodiversity is another term with multiple meanings that is being carelessly bandied about. The growing message from real scientists is that biodiversity is essential to the proper functioning of the life support systems of the planet. That should hold our attention. However, when you think about it, the biological diversity of the British Isles was greatly simplified millennia ago. Generations of English, Irish, Scottish, and Welch grew up amid fields and manicured woodlands. They gobbled up the local resources and then looked elsewhere. For several centuries, the Isles thrived off conquest and importing what they could not locally produce or grow. In a very real sense, in their heyday they lived off the diversity of the rest of the world. But now, in this global economy, all rich nations do that and all rich nations are guilty of ecosysteml simplification. America is one of the biggest offenders. Clearing hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest to grow beef to supply MacDonalds restaurants and make more American pudgy is a massive, highly visible form of biological simplification. Extirpating a species like the snow leopard to satisfy desires for exotic fur or to satisfy the demand for some ancient oriental remedy is another highly visible form of simplification, highly visible only because of the esteem in which many of us hold that beautiful cat. The snow leopard has its champions, but extirpation of thousands of species of "ugly little bugs" goes unnoticed. What will be the cost of losing the unseen? Time will tell. The message from the deep thinkers is that we need all the species, the ones we like and the ones we don't.

The massive Gulf oil spill is now focusing attention on the livelihoods of thousands of families in that beleaguered region, e.g. shrimp fishermen. Our wetlands and estuaries now suddenly seem important, but were taken for granted by millions when "drill baby drill" was the chant by the simple-headed right-wing constituency. Notice that they're kind of silent now.

Maybe the majority of the public will gradually wake up to the many major environmental threats facing us and take them seriously. Maybe the Internet will be the most important vehicle for spreading the word despite it being saturated with junk and misinformation. I'm not a good prognosticator. But judging by the current political climate, we've got a long, long way to go. If the democrats are thrown out, we go back to what? That's a solution to anything?

Locally, biodiversity has its erudite face, but as a general topic in Massachusetts, it is a political football. It is a vague concept to the public that has been co-opted by a coalition of the private timber lobby, self-serving resource academics, and most regrettably, the Bureau of Forestry and the Watershed Division of DCR. This coalition of the guilty has been propagandizing for a long time, equating biodiversity with whatever happens after clear-cutting. I stay disillusioned with the timber arm of DCR. At the top, it is self-serving and at the bottom, incompetent. It does great injustice to valid concepts behind sustainable forestry. Outside of what some private landowners and foresters commit themselves to practicing, and some examples of forestry within the public sector, such as in some of the national forests, I'm beginning to wonder if there ever was such a thing as sustainable forestry, or has it always been a promotional scheme of big timber and its extensions in academia and government?

At the local level, this points to the issue of what is being presented in the media by the timber interests as examples of biodiversity as a cover-up for forest exploitation. In the future, I'm going to be reading a lot more about biodiversity as seen through the eyes of real thinkers - not the technicians working in the resource departments of colleges and universities and in government. So bring on the links to sources of real information on biodiversity, Ed. I'll read and comment. Well, I've rambled enough.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Re: Biodiversity

Post by James Parton » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:14 pm

Ed,

I know how you feel. Sometimes I put a lot of work into trip report posts and have few comments back. Like you, I like hearing members comments and opinions. But I agree with Bob. You do post a lot of interesting stuff. Keep it up!

JP
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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Don
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Re: Biodiversity

Post by Don » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:14 am

James/Ed-
I'm reminded of some old psychology classes I took years, no decades ago, where self-actualization was a trait that was recommended to be placed high on one's personal hierarchy...
To find balance between self-actualization and one's need for acceptance is often a lifelong pursuit (as it should be, balance is dynamic).

That said, I agree with Bob...Ed, you've placed a prodigious portion of information on our plate! I'm certainly guilty of one-way consumption, as I try to view every new post, and often comment only on those in which I am intrinsically interested in...
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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gnmcmartin
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Re: Biodiversity

Post by gnmcmartin » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:19 am

Ed:

When I was getting up today and thinking about ENTS, and not thinking about ENTS or you in relation to any recent posts or discussions, I was just thinking about what ENTS would be without you. Not only did you set up this BBS (and the previous Google Group), and now "manage" it, but you make more contributions than anyone. And contributions that show a depth and breadth of knowledge that few people can match. As for my own contributions or lack thereof--much of the time I am simply overwhelmed. I don't read everything, and certainly don't understand very much of what I do read well enough to make intelligent comments. Much of the time I just feel my limitations, both in background and intelligence, and time. But I value all your contributions very, very highly, even those, and maybe especially those, where you pose questions about my own ideas/opinions.

Please keep it up--if you can. I don't know how you find the time!

--Gaines

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dbhguru
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Re: Biodiversity

Post by dbhguru » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:32 pm

Don,

Your mentioning of self-actualization versus acceptance is a topic unto itself. I would say that Ed is self-actualizing in the best sense of the term. I imagine most of us move between the poles. However, retirement and advancing age provide us with an opportunity to self-actualize in ways we may have previously been hesitant to do. Knowing your objectives, I would regard your taking over the Alaska champion tree program as a clear example of self-actualization - a darn good example.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Don
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Biodiversity

Post by Don » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:07 pm

Since I hijacked the topic, I'll return the trajectory to the topic at hand, Biodiversity...

For my way of thinking, biodiversity gets functionally defined by its role in supplying an ecosystem with sufficient resilience to respond to disturbances (natural and otherwise) in a long-term self-sustaining way. Resilience being the number of biological solutions (plant and tree structural and compositional heterogeneity, bacterial, pathogens, fungal bodies, epiphytes, etc.) available for the array of short-term, long-term, cyclic, non-cyclic disturbances.
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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