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View Diary: Two years after hunting was legalized half the wolves are gone (263 comments)

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  •  Of course there are predator-prey cycles (4+ / 0-)

    which form a dynamic balance rather than a steady population that never changes.

    However, this is a 'balance' of a sort if you consider that these animals have lived together for quite a while before hunters showed up with guns.

    If there was no 'balance' than either one of the populations would have naturally died off. That is generally what people mean when they refer to balance; the fact that ecosystems are generally self-perpetuating barring some large external perturbation.

    •  With wolves on the Idaho landscape (3+ / 0-)

      for nearly 20 years now, I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing a trophic cascade effect in the food web. Seems this should benefit Canada lynx and fisher. Wolves are very effective at taking out smaller canids in their territories, like fox and coyote.  Fewer small canids, less pressure on their smaller prey (squirrels, snowshoe hare, grouse) allowing prey populations to rebound and be available for recolonizing lynx and fisher. Ah, the circle of life (and death)!

      •  People have been thinking about trophic cascades (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        giddy thing

        and wolves ever since reintroduction. It's very hard to show further than the direct prey species. I think what you are talking about is a meso predator release or something like that. No time to look up the term. Coyote populations have rebounded in Yellowstone, they are now at pre wolf levels, supposed affects on willow, aspen, beaver, song birds, etc. have been disproven on further study, sometimes by the same scientists doing the initial study.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:43:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Links please. (0+ / 0-)

          My understanding is that they were proven.  Of course without access to quality journals all one can find on the internet is someones opinion of research not the real research

          •  That's a perfect example, it never was proven (0+ / 0-)

            it was thought that it might be.

            And now we know different.

            Newspapers are a secondary source.

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/...

            If you look hard enough you can find a way around the paywall, I won't assist you on such a public forum.

            Hypotheses aren't even theories. We now have greater understanding.

            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

            by ban nock on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 01:55:05 PM PST

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            •  And that paper (0+ / 0-)

              does not prove it is not happening from what I can gather from the abstract.

                Mech is a good researcher but this is not a scientific paper, it is a critique of media and outreach presentation.   His review is of claims from websites and other media, not the scientific lit.  I think he is saying that it is more complex then the media claimed which I do not doubt.

              Thanks for the semi-link behind the Elsevier fortress, not your fault I can not read science I probably help pay for.  

    •  I was talking scientifically (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      giddy thing

      predators can and do eliminate prey populations sometimes in the natural world. There is no "balance of nature" it's no longer taught in university level ecology courses but the myth persists in the popular mind.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:39:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course this has happened in the past, (0+ / 0-)

        but it's not an often occurrence simply because nature has been operating for millions of years, and thousands of years with the 'modern' species that we know.

        Any such imbalances generally worked themselves out of the ecosystems long before guns showed up. The only time that mass extinctions have occurred over a short time period have been from extreme forcings...like comets, or man.

        •  it is an ongoing process to this day (0+ / 0-)

          the term is no longer used by scientists. They say nature is in flux and can achieve temporary states of equilibrium.

          I'm not talking extinctions, although that happens too. Nature and ecosystems are in a constant state of change.

          Just google balance of nature and read. Some of the scientists on blogs make for great reading.

          The term balance is used by laypeople such as us, generally to mean a static state that we want. One where there are some of the species we like and not so many they cause problems for us.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 02:02:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If in (0+ / 0-)

        balance you mean static I will agree.  However, undisturbed system come to balance.  Ecology is about the balance of nature.  Ecology is all about balances and how they always change, Chaos theory plays it part.  Yes, predators and parasites can cause extinction, but that may be the action putting the system back into balance.

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