Friday, May 11, 2018

Science-Based Herbicides vs Holistic Grazing in Weed Management of National Forests

Forest Service to cut hundreds of ponderosa pine trees near Sisters killed by the herbicide "Perspective."
(Ryan Brennecke/Bulletin photo)

photo by Jim Anderson
Recently back on May 4th in the News, there was a sad report of a tragic event which took place along many of Oregon's Highway right-of-ways where conventional science-based weed abatement practices of spraying dangerous herbicides, like Bayer's toxic weed product known as "Perspective" which was supposed to target broadleafed weeds and other fire flamable vegetation, some unintended consequences took place. Apparently, this has been the practice by Oregon Transportation Department for some time as it is also around the country. While the target may have been the broadleaf weeds and other flammable weeds through a seemingly easy no break a sweat approach management version provided by science-based toxic chemicals and hopefully acquiring immediate results, the chemical apparently made it's systemic way underground, perhaps further facilitated through the mycorrhizal grid network to the Ponderosa pine rootsystems which eventually later led to the Ponderosa Pine's succumbing to the toxic effects a few years later. Interestingly it does seem that there were warning labels on this side effect on non-target trees and shrubs which were totally ignored. Without further explanation, here are the two links. First is from August 2016 and the second from May 2018 a few days back.
The Nugget Newspaper (Sisters, Oregon) "The warning bell is ringing!"
The Bend Bulletin: "Forest Service to cut hundreds of ponderosa pines near Sisters killed by herbicide"
===============================================
A more viable & responsible Solution and one that Perfectly Biomimics Nature
Photo: Washington State DOT Flickr Photostream

(Photograph courtesy Texas DOT.)
This photo above is of goats clearing grass and weeds near Olympia area highway interchange. Something seriously needs to change for the better. Herbicides need to be shelved and never used again. Of all the grazing & browsing animals, goats are basically biological mowers/browsers and can perform a similar function as mechanical mowing but without burning fossil fuels and generating carbon emissions. Another advantage is that some weed seeds are sterilized as they pass through a goat’s digestive system, allowing for more effective weed control than mechanical mowing or chemical herbicide spraying. Goats can also easily access steep and uneven terrain along highway shoulders and cutouts. Of course there are the usual concerns over the use of grazing in highway applications which may include higher costs associated with fencing, watering and supervising the animals; liability; and potential distractions to drivers, but I think much of these costs could be a non-factor if the Highway Departments did not try and manage this themselves and awarded grazing rights to responsible herdsmen who could provide a better professional hands on project of oversight. We're not talk just throwing the animals out there and seeing what happens. They do have to be responsibly managed and not left on their own. Clearly areas like this region in Oregon where 1000s of large Ponderosa Pines must now be removed could have benefitted by this holistic approach as opposed to the conventional science-based practices which have been used for decades. Most all roadside landscape plants should be natives to the areas the roads are located which eliminates watering and benefits wildlife, especially the native pollinators. Below are some links to sites which further explain the benefits.
Roadside vegetation management in the Netherlands
https://environment.transportation.org/"Invasive Species/Vegetation Management"
Roadside Best Management Practices that Benefit Pollinators Handbook for Supporting Pollinators through Roadside Maintenance and Landscape Design
US ARMY: Unconventional Sustainability Method using Sheep & Goats in Hawaii Nabs Award
https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/THE USE OF GRAZING ANIMALS IN ROADSIDE VEGETATION MANAGEMENT
===============================================
Grazing to Reduce Wildfire Risks also Biomimics Nature
Photo by johndeerefurrow.com

Another interesting article in John Deere's online journal, "The Furrow," provided interesting feedback on experimental practices of Fall grazing of invasive annuals like cheatgrass to reduce wildfire risk and helping to provide nutrients to the soils. Here is that link:
https://www.johndeerefurrow.com/2017/09/01/forage-not-fuel
Also, remember my last post on the environmental effects of the presence of megafauna (large herbivores) and the roles they all played in forest and prairie health and almost total absence of wildfires ??? 😲 Yes, studies showed that fire while being naturally present was not the major destroyer and killer it is now. Well, here it is again:
Megafauna were the "Ecosystem Engineers" not Wildfire

National Park Service / Neal Herbert

Now, one would think that the environmentalists and government agencies would all be for such a holistically sustainable approach to weed management which actually replicates Nature through Biomimicry, right ??? Wrong! The modern day environmental movement has a murderous hatred of ranchers and as many of the leadership in this movement have admitted, they want this industry to go extinct. This is a really sad video.
The Eco-Activist Movement's rejection of utiling grazing and browsing animals for any Vegetation Management

In this video posted by journalists from the Wall Street Journal on March 30th 2018, "The Last Cowboy at Pine Creek Ranch," they discuss one ranching family, who, after a 40-year battle, was wrecked by government agency rules designed to make ranching unprofitable and impractical. Wayne Hage won his case in court numerous times, proving his grazing and water rights were his legally, not publicly owned and controlled as the government insisted. Yet each victory was appealed by the heavy hand of government, moving the case to the next court and the next judge in the system, forcing Wayne to spend more and more on legal fees. The government plan was simple and obvious. Destroy him financially until he was forced to give up. Now the the government and environmentalist's viscous tactics have finally forced this family to give up the fight as they prepare to move off the ranch and let the ecoactivists and government have their spoils in the war over the rangelands. The Federal land managers were aided in this travesty by the environmental group known as Western Watershed Project (WWP); the program’s director, activist Mike "Buffalo Man" Mease, who was interviewed in the video had this to say.

A cow is a non-native species to Amaerica and when we set them free on the wildlands of the west, they don't know what they're doing out there. As they will walk and eat every blade of grass in front of them, as they walk Cattle hoofs are not cleft. They are one single pallet which compacts the soil, unlike native animals which have cloven hoofs which aerate soil.”
Amazingly, most all the Government agencies and environmentalist groups including Mike Mease's Western Watershed Project & Buffalo Field Campaign, etc generally know full well that grasslands developed under intensive grazing from large herds of bison (pre-1800s saw 60+ million Bison according to stats) and other wild animals (millions of Elk, Deer, Antelope, etc), which through co-dependency became necessary for both soil and plant health. Yet in practice however, most of these militant groups have become more and more hostile to the presence of cattle or other domestic grazing/browsing animals presence on the land, which they variously blame for native species loss, range degradation and forest destruction, erosion, pollution, global climate change and even labeling ranching operations as public theft. In justification of this warped thinking, WWP’s spokesman, Mike "Buffalo Man" Mease, claims cattle harm grasslands because they are not “native.” He provides a nonsense explanation about cattle hooves compacting land by calling them "single pallet" as opposed to the native animals like Antelope, Elk, Deer, etc which have cloven hoofs which aerate soil. If any animal could be labeled as single pallet, then would that not better describe such animals as Horses which have a uni-hoove (or single toe). Cows have cloven hooves with dewclaws. Interestingly, both horses and buros were present in larger numbers centuries ago and had positive effects on the land. But take a look at the differences below.

Images - Mother Nature's Tillers


Mike "Buffalo Man" Mease's knowledge here is confusing as you listen to the very words leaving his mouth given the fact that he labels himself with the knickname, "Buffalo Man" which should leaves folks puzzled. Bison (Buffalo) and Cattle have the same identical hooves. Once again, there were once over 60,000,000,000+ Bison in pre-1800s in North America. So by his definition when using the hoove design argument, was Nature in trouble when such vast numbers existed just a century ot two ago ??? And if so, then why does he champion more and more buffalo on the landscape ??? Surely from his outdoor experience and credentials he must know what is right ??? Oh wait, he doesn't have any biology or conservation credentials. Mike Mease has a B.A. in Radio/Television and Psychology from the University of Montana. This is almost the same identical credentials of another infamous eco-activist, Kieran Suckling of militant Earth First fame and co-founder/director of the Center for Biological Diversity out of Tucson, Arizona. Neither of them are biologists. Like Mease, Suckling wants ranching to go extinct:
“Ranching is one of the most nihilistic lifestyles this planet has ever seen. Ranching should end. Good riddance.”
CBD director KierΓ‘n Suckling to the Washington Post.
In the interview with the journal High Country News, when he was asked if his lack of any science degrees were a hindrance to his work. He responsed:
"I think the professionalization of the environmental movement has injured it greatly. These kids get degrees in environmental conservation and wildlife management and come looking for jobs in the environmental movement. They've bought into resource management values and multiple use by the time they graduate. I'm more interested in hiring philosophers, linguists and poets. The core talent of a successful environmental activist is not science and law. It's campaigning instinct. That's not only not taught in the universities, it's discouraged."
Well that's wonderful. Learning how nature really works and pursuing degrees in environmental conservation and wildlife management are totally worthless. Civil disobedience, eco-terrorism and psychological warfare thru sue and settle are something to be admired. Kieran Suckling once boasted that he himself engages in a kind of psychological warfare (which for a fact he is credentialed with his degree in Philosophy) by causing stress to already stressed public servants when he bragged, "They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed -- and they are. So they become much more willing to play by our rules." 
(Source: High Country News)
I'll never understand the murderous hatred eco-activists openly display towards ranchers on the part of the environmental movement which is in fact killing nature, not preserving it. So much about ecology movement these days has become like a fanatical version of a religious Jihad or kind of animist holy war. While there were clearly practices within traditional ranching that were irresponsible in the past, that is not the case with many ranchers today who see great worthwhile value in helping to preserve wildlife and restoring the land's vegetative ecosystems. It's not just a matter of their livelihood for profit, but also their love and passion for conservation which has also become their hobby. Rather than demonizing all ranchers and lumping them onto the Bundy Bandwagon, they should embrace and ally themselves with the more responsible ranching land stewards. But thus far they have refused to do so.


Image - Cow Hooves

Take a close look at both photos above and below here of both cattle and Bison (Buffalo Hooves). Both cattle and bison hooves are split. The two animals are so closely related (same 'kind' of animal) that they can actually interbreed. They are roughly the same size and weight. Whether on a forest floor or on grasslands, when cattle herds are hands on managed and grazed in a way that mimics bison herds in large numbers, timing and behavior, their physiological effects on the landscape are similar to the bison. Under these conditions cattle can stimulate plant growth like grass and the native weeds (which cattle won't necessarily eat), but which in turn benefit creatures which like the weeds like the pronghorn and deer and the native insects necessary to sustain grassland birds like quail and grouse. In so doing cattle and bison sequester carbon and add organic humus to soil, which increases its fertility and water-retention, thus improving watersheds. But given Mike "Buffalo Man" Mease's lack of understanding that there really are no physical differences of cattle to buffalo, are we to assume ancient historical buffalo herds of 60+ million were a bad thing within the pre-1800s environment ??? πŸ˜• Hardly!

Image - Bison Hooves

When you look at the various hooves and their imprints, you should be able to notice that they closely resemble chisels. They have the ability to cut into the soil, churn it up, break up crusts and clumps, create pockets to hold moisture, trample old vegetation into the ground. Humans have terminology for this action. We call it tilling and cultivation. Of course animal disturbance on the land done the right way only disturbs the top few inches, not feet like science-based mechanized innovation. But grasslands, forests and wildlife have steadily declined since the massive bison herds were wiped out over 150 years ago. So to offset this horrible ecosystem decline, these so-called defenders of Nature, which apparently also includes many in government, academic and the general conservation bureaucracy seek to banish cattle completely off the landscape. And yet Cattle properly managed through a hands on holistic approach are the only true substitute for those missing keystone grazers, the (Bison herds). What's worse, environmentalists have no idea of how, why or what other animals to replace the Bison with out on the landscape. They never offer any real world viable solutions other than promoting the need of reducing mankind through science-based abortion, eugenics and hospital oversight over euthanasia programs. After that, they want to turn everything into their version of wilderness and Nature will just fix the problem all by itself.


Interestingly, regarding these chisel design patterns of hooves: the  Rodale Institute has developed a crimper-roller that’s designed to trample green manures and old stalks into the ground. The tines work like chisels. Vineyards have available to them a smaller, even more chisel-like adjustable “eco-roll.” And Ames Lab at Iowa State University have also produced an imprinter-roller that tries to imitate the hoofprints of passing buffalo, to be used in Colorado prairie restoration. All of this is about bomimicry when it comes to the ecological management of the landscape that went on for thousands of years with 60+ million forest and prairie Bison. Keep in mind, such innovation is necessary in the absence of herbivore animals. Animals are the original ecosystem management component [tool] and that's by design.

In conclusion, this information and news items are for people who do own land and who want to manage that land in a holistic manner which will enhance ecosystems and wildlife. There are numerous services that grazing and browsing animals can perform if properly managed which would negate the using of more science-based toxins. As for all these enviromental groups which lay claim to being the only solution for representing Nature, run the other way folks. There is a Proverb 24:21 which states the danger in associating with these types of groups, it says, 
" . . and do not associate with those who are calling for change [or allegiance with, and are dissenters, rebels, revolutionaries]." 
Our world today is characterized by militant activism against anything and new ways of being offended, angry and outraged seem to be invented or fabricated now on a daily basis. Save your money folks and pursue rescuing and rehabilitating nature under far more peaceful responsible circumstances. My wife and I just recently visited my hometown from Sweden which is San Diego California this past April 2018. Everything there seems to have taken a turn for the worse. California is literally riddled with misdirected people who are looking for any reasons to become activists for whatever cause. People now days seem to be at war with whatever is popular on social media that outrages them and considered trendy to participate in. Very few seem to have a normal life anymore, whatever normal life once was. In the mean time, being credentialed with regards to environment issues are ultimately meaningless when these so-called credentials conflict with common sense and reality on the ground.




Sustainable Dish with Joel Salatin


Monday, April 9, 2018

Who has the right & authority to Name Nature ??? (& What's up with Species?)

Anybody else have a Love/Hate Relationship with Taxonomy and Taxonomists ??? πŸ˜’
To answer this question in the Post's title, People Do! πŸ˜‰
Image - Psychology Today
No really, it's true. People have that right. Well, just suppose half the people believe what is said at Genesis 2:19-20 where Man is given the assignment of naming the animals, birds, seas creatures, etc. Then of course there is the present day secular gang who adamantly insists there is no God and deem it their responsibility not only to name, but classify Nature. And voila, we now actually have two opposing ideologically driven sides who are surprisingly on the same page with something. Who woulda thunk it ? 😲 Yeah I know, but like I've always said, both sides are the mirror image of each other. Much to the irritation of the Sciencey gang of course. πŸ˜‰ Giving common names to living things can run into the hundreds of names on a single organism alone, given all the various languages, cultures, ethnicities and historical civilizations over centuries, etc. One of the strategies that was supposed to simplify things and fix the confusion so that identity of a specific living organism could be universally assured worldwide was to provide scientific names in Latin. Okay that made sense, as long as all peoples agree. But I've found long ago that not even that works. Which brings me to some other puzzling terms & labels in english like, "species," "sub-species," "speciation," "breeds," "races," "cultivators," "hybrids," etc, etc, etc. Different terms, but ultimately in each instance still require all the same mechanisms for which provide changes. How many of you know that there can be upwards of 16 different definitions for the word "species" and that there is no universally accepted answer among scientists and other researchers ??? How many knew there are such things as different species of molecules, chemicals, etc ??? How many of you knew that there is no universally accepted idea on what accounts for "speciation" (which refers to the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution) ??? Take a long hard look at our natural world going down hill and you'll soon realize that science clearly does NOT know everything about Nature as they promote themselves as the only authorized keepers of knowledge & truth. I'll provide more examples of more things that bug on this subject down below.

Image - Amazon
But first, Biologist Carol Kaesuk Yoon, who wrote the book, "Naming Nature," which delved into the historical tensions between evolutionary biology and taxonomy. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was the Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist, who formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature. But even Linnaeus struggled in the eighteenth century to define this sciencey word/term "Species" in light of living things tendency to change (mutate) over time while still relying on the usual imperfect human gut felt intuitiveness & common materialistic propensity with making purely visual judgments by mere outward appearances. Later as taxonomy modernized by moving into the laboratories, the results appeared counterintuitive to humanity’s innate predisposition for order in the world. In otherwords things became more muddled and fuzzier than previously thought. But by conceding scientific authority to taxonomists, Dr Yoon then argued, that mankind contributes to their own alienation from nature. No surprise here since the average human being has been indoctrinated into allowing the credentialed (politics, religion, business, scientists, etc) to do all their intellectual thinking, research and personal study for them and accept blindly whatever makes their own personal worldview feel good.

People are no longer interested in going outdoors. It's as if they've been possessed by some alien force, we'll call technology and social media. Who needs a real life when you can have a virtual life with 100s of make believe friends. If they want to see Nature then they Tech companies invented Pinterest, Google Plus, Facebook, etc. They can look at all those pretty doctored up photographs with no titles or description. I'm just not that way, I've got to find out things for myself and verify that they are true. I can't just take some narrator's (David Attenborough, Robert Redford, etc) word or ideological take on the subject. Take my biggest pet peeve here on plant classification manipulation.
What the heck is up with all these Plant Name changes ? πŸ˜•
Image - Pacific Horticulture

My number one interest is how we've come by the names given to plants (& how we classify them), since plants are the biggest influence regarding my love and passion for nature. Over the past few years there has been some major upheavals in the scientific name change department. This photo above of a California shrub from my home town is known commonly as Deerweed (Acmispon glaber), but it was formerly known as (Lotus scoparius). Other reclassifications have taken place. Cupressus stephensonii, the species known as Cuyamaca Cypress, which is endemic to the Southern California county I come from, San Diego, has also been reclassified as Hesperocyparis stephensonii. And the list of reclassifying is endless. Rather than rant on this subject anymore, here is an article in Pacific Horticulture: "Why Plant Names Change" which provides a fascinating account on why there have been so many changes. The interesting thing is that it just begs more questions. Take a look at a few of these questions below from a Nursery industry business perspective when it comes to things being labeled accurately that would be of great interest to the home gardener, professional landscaper, and commercial farmer.
The Future of the Taxonomy of Cultivated Plants
"In agriculture and horticulture, at least 80% of taxonomic problems are related to the cultivar. In particular, questions such as (a) “Am I really dealing with a new cultivar?” (b) “To which species does a cultivar belong?” (c) “How can I recognize a cultivar phenotypically, especially if it is a hybrid?” and (d) “Does the cultivar-group system always work?” continually impact on the work of those dealing with the classification and naming of cultivated plant material."
(Source) 
Okay, those are common sense logical questions anyone would ask. Now in this same link above and just below the the abstract which I've partially quoted here above, the article also brings up yet another term to further muddle an already challenging task of separating things into scientific ordered categories and that was the subheading title here:
IS THE INTEREST IN CULTONOMY EQUALLY DIVIDED? 
Cultonomy ??? Yes, Cultonomy focuses more on the classification of cultivated plants or 'cultivators' using only few classification categories. Still, what we really are discussing here are varieties of the same "kind" *cough-cough* "species" of wild parent plant and the various well known vegetable varieties we all know and love from the grocery store. Even though we would never come close to guessing that the varieties listed below all come from the same single cursed invasive parent Mustard plant many gardeners, landscapers, conservationists curse, we should still be amazed at the great "variety" that has resulted from a single plant. The other thing that should impress is the massive amount of informational content within the this wild Mustard plant's DNA for which the epigenetic mechanisms play a major role in accessing Apps, Files, Programs, etc (formerly known as Junk DNA) by turning on or off switches in genes allowing a certain gene or combination of genes to be expressed in various specific ways. 



Whaaaaat ??? You mean all those veggies come from one common ancestral plant we call wild mustard ? Yup it's true! So how is all this possible ? Well, apparently, about 2500 years ago, Brassica oleracea was solely a wild plant that grew along the coast of Britain, France, and other countries around  the Mediterranean. That wild form which still exists today as do other familiar ones known as wild mustard which looks like the one here in the photo to the right and is also a well known weed to most Western Home Gardeners. Yup, this plant has taken over many parts of the southwestern United States on slopes which were once chaparral and especially coastal sage-scrub covered. But what's interesting is that the change within this plant are itself incredibly fascinating. And more incredible are the mechanisms within the genetics (epigenetics) which allow such changes to occur. These changes occur whether dumb luck by changed environmental cues which created the changes or whether they were intelligently directed by humans. Which leads us to more questions. If intelligent humans can purposefully direct and choose for changes in plants and we label to result as a "cultivator" or "variety," how come we don't label (bare with me here) them different species, brees or races ? Why not call different humans "cultivators" (since two intelligent people can make an intelligent choice to have children) or maybe "breeds" like we do with animals ? So we can call we humans collectively a "species," but would different races be "sub-species" ??? Amazing how nonsensical things can become when you layout in the open ? 


You see, nobody here is arguing there is no change out there in Nature, but rather what exactly are the mechanisms for change and why do we humans label things the way we do. I mean is it really dumb luck or rather incredibly amazing complex responses within an organism's genetic makeup to outside environmental cues, purposed or otherwise which result in these changes ??? And why do these changes created by the same mechanisms really constitute all these different labels like a "Species" ??? "Sub-Species" ??? New "Breed" ??? New "Variety" ??? New "Cultivator" ??? Or ????????? πŸ˜• A while back in 2016, there was an article in National Geographic about the change of feather colour in a bird known as Northern Flickers. It was noticed that some yellow Northern Flickers were sporting feathers which were mysteriously changing to a reddish-orange plumage and the theory was that the western Red-Shafted Northern Flickers were mating with the eastern Yellow-Shafted Northern Flickers creating the orange variety. But both these birds live so far apart from one another. So how did this change happen without such cross breeding ??? It was discovered that in some areas the yellow variety of Northern Flickers were eating the red berries of an introduced non-native invasive Honeysuckle. Whatever was in the pigment (rhodoxanthin) within the berries of the Honeysuckle, it had an effect on the colouration of the plumage. It's kind of like when a person eats or drinks too much carrot juice and their skin can turns a bit yellow orange, otherwise known as Carotenosis. 😲 Still, no one has yet placed a new species label on such an effect. At least I've not yet heard of an Orange Flicker species label. But the Northern Flicker story is fascinating and illustrates part  of what makes or causes changes to occur. Here is what Matt Chew, Research Professor of Arizona State University, commented on to the Auduban Society about the term they used, "invasive" (Matt hates this term with a passion).
"The basic finding here is that flickers that eat honeysuckle berries transport rhodoxanthin to their feathers, and ornithologists finally figured that out. Ockham's razor should have been applied to this morphological problem long ago, and at last a simple, obvious solution was recognized. But it's embedded here in a pretty thick matrix of nativist ideology." (Source - Auduban)
Matt Chew referred to William of Ockham (Ockham's Razor) who taught that entities should not be multiplied without necessity. Seriously, dumb luck is said to always be King in creating change. The Science textbooks have always told us that changes over long deep time through random unplanned purposeless mutations (copying errors) coupled with Natural Selection (A label invented for an idea that says randomly generated variation, would be poorly designed (i.e., hindering reproduction capability) and wouldn't get propagated) are what give us different successful species. Except of course when it doesn't work that way. There are numerous well known evolutionary icons out there which are said to illustrate speciation. Darwin's Finches, Stickleback Fishes, Ciclid Fishes, Blind Cave Fish, Peppered Moths (now we have peppered snakes), etc. On the subject here of the Peppered Moths, the classic story goes like this. The peppered moths went from being mostly light-colored to being mostly dark-colored during the industrialization of 19th-century Manchester, England. The phenomena was called “industrial melanism,” and they attributed this to natural selection. The theory went,  that dark-colored moths were supposedly better camouflaged on coal soot polluted-darkened tree trunks and this is what likely helped them to survive predatory birds who couldn't see them. But then later after air quality improved because of clean air legislation in the mid-20th century, the lighter-colored moths became more common again. We are told this is how new species develop. I once had conversation with guy who insisted this is how speciation works. You couldn't convince this guy otherwise. I gave him an illustration of an Earth populated with human beings, half the population being white people and the other half black people. I said what if something caused all the white population of people to be killed off and totally eliminated, this does not mean that suddenly all the black population become a new species. They're still human. Like water off a duck's back folks. And you will still find this story in most all of the biology textbooks teaching this icon of Darwinian evolution. 
Images - Eawag/David Marques

Here's another example above with these three-spine sticklebacks which were introduced to Lake Constance in Switzerland around 150 years ago (a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms). Since then, the fish have apparently begun splitting into two separate types: one that lives in the main lake (pictured above left, female top, male in breeding colours below), and the other that lives in the streams that flow into it (above right). So I guess if the environmental field changes, as in the case of Stickleback fishes, Darwin's Finches, Peppered Moths, Blind Cavefish, etc, all which seemingly changed overnight when the environmental changes occured dramatically, it just question begs why would it occur 10,000 times faster within one or two generations on certain occasions when we were told it took 1000s or millions of years for the lucky development to happen in the first place ??? For example there have been experiments which have shown blind cavefish acquired functional eyes and eyesight in one generation of cross breeding with other different cave fish. They've now discovered that the loss of eyes in fish living in dark Mexican caves was not due to genetic (copying error) mutations, but rather due to genetic regulation or what we call epigenetics. Specifically, methylation of key development genes which originally repressed the eye expression, but which the later experiments revealed could be reversed to express once again the eyesight program. So to bring things up to a level of nonsense again for illustrative purposes, why don't we call blind humans another species ??? I know I know. Matt Chew also hit on another interesting point:

"Importantly, no one has ever justified calling plants "invasive" by any scientific method. That's because it isn't a scientific claim. Although widely endorsed and regularly deployed, it is an egregious metaphor, intended to incite negative sentiment. It is a powerful figure of speech, being used to indoctrinate, not educate. Codified into laws and regulations, it supports a significant chemical biocide industry."
Yup, sure enough, the term "invasive" being used here is a human construct and implimentation of the term really only helps to serve certain specific industrial science business interests for killing an unwanted evil invader. (plant, animal, bird, fish, whatever) πŸ˜’ So the manufacture of and use of terms can be used to manipulate meaning and justify a religious belief, polictical strategy, environmental agenda, etc. But now what about these Northern Flickers ???


Image - Michael S. Quinton, National Geographic Creative
Two uniquely different birds, same "kind" or "species" of the Northern Flicker. The one above is northern yellow-shafted flicker with normal coloration flying out of its nesting hole. The red-shafted northern flicker below lives in western North America, far from where the new strangely red-orange northern yellow-shafted flickers live. So for the yellow-shafted northern flicker, “you are what you eat” has proven freakishly true. They ate red berries and pigment changed feather colouration. Same could be said of identical human twins separated at birth. Both live and grow up under radically different environments and although both have identical DNA, the outward appearance & changes can be dramatic. See and watch the video:
How does Epigenetics work ??? 
Image - Michael S. Quinton, National Geographic Creative
The Religious Icon Known as Tree of Life

Illustration - NewtonsApple.org


You may remember from your school science textbooks that iconic Tree of Life proposed by scientists to explain the origin of every living thing ? Classification and labeling within this tree was supposed to hold so much promise in our understanding of life, where it all came from and how it all works. Except that something happened along the way in how we now understand things. With the field of genetics getting past that facricated roadblock called Junk DNA, we've discovered multiple amazing things about the way the genomes of life work and operate and it has dashed many old long cherished scientific myths. For example this iconic Tree of Life no longer looks like a tree, but rather a messy tangle of a black widow spider's web. Now there is more confusion rather than clarity and those begging questions that come along with it. Once again, Matt Chew exposes some uncomfortable flaws with word semantics.

"Words matter. Invasion is a coordinated, purposeful activity. It isn't just a way of expressing how we feel about something showing up where we didn't expect it. To demonstrate that honeysuckle is invading, we need to show that honeysuckle knows where it is, knows there is somewhere else to be, knows how to get there, and intends — as a species, mind you — to take and occupy territory that it does not presently control. Not an easy array of tasks."
Good point on the real meaning of this word/term invasive within the context of blaming an organism for planning, scheming, knowingly intending to accomplish something selfishly evil as any sentient being would do. Unfortunately for the promoters, plants are not sentient beings. To utter such words could actually be considered heretical to Darwinian thinking. But getting back what Matt Chew said about using words/terms being utulized for one's personal agendas:
"a powerful figure of speech, being used to indoctrinate, not educate. Codified into laws and regulations."
It's Matt's words here which inspired me to write about a subject of terminology being used in Science for promoting political, religious or business agendas. A website I sometimes follow, but only rarely comment on is A NEW CENTURY OF FOREST PLANNING. The site for me holds some mild interest with regards to forest management and ecosystem health. Generally there is some interesting discussion on practical management of National Forests which includes a wide array of uses by the public for recreation and commercial usages. The site is often used as a platform of debate between two competing ideologies with opposite worldviews, mostly between a handful of the same regular characters. One side championing Timber Industry business interests and the other Environmental Industry business interests. A post was introduced back on March 1st 2018 by the site's Admin, Sharon, who brought up some outstanding points on what exactly qualifies as a unique species. The subject was about Extinction on the National Forests. If anyone is familiar with the Environmental Movement's tactics on how they go about getting what they want, you'll understand they first need to locate and find a specific subject (animal, bird, amphibian, reptile, plants, etc) to champion and save from extinction. This is where the fuzziness and muddled nature of the definition shell game (word semantics) with regards Species comes into play. In the New Century article on extinction about species in National Forests, an example was provided on a rare "species" *cough-cough* "variety" or "sub-species" of the San Gabriel Mountains Blue butterfly (Plebejus saepiolus aureolus) and this lawsuit was going forward to punish and hold accountible the US Forest Service who apparently allowed this critter to go extinct. Or so we are led to believe. The accusasions came from none other than the Center for Biological Diversity. This professional environmental business organization is known for it's talent in a gaming strategy called, "Sue & Settle." Nobody plays it better than they do.

Greenish Blue Plebejus saepiolus (Boisduval, 1852)

This isn't to minimize the importance of conserving and saving unique animals or plants on Earth, but rather when something is said to go extinct, is it really extinct given the information we now have on genetics or is this just a ploy ? Have these environmental folks actually searched every square hectare of land area to see if it may reside elsewhere ??? Take this butterfly example. What made it distinct from all other butterflies of this same species ??? Was it's unique differences something similar to the dietary changes in the Northern Flicker ??? Or was it some other environmental anomaly which actually made it break off from other butterflies of it's "kind" - "family" - "species" - whatever ??? Interestingly it was never proven or actually listed as a species, but at best seemed to be a "sub-species." An article came out last month (March 2018) in the online journal, Daily Mail, which provided a number of bullet points on this present species crisis and the sixth extinction. It wasn't exactly helpful in enlightening the public about how science defines species. And it was extremely mysterious in informing the public how they arrived at their conclusions. Again, just more murkiness. Here are a few relevant bullet points on the subject of species as they used the term in the article. 

  • "Two species of vertebrate, animals with a backbone, have gone extinct each year"
My Thoughts: The definitions of what exactly constitutes the process of speciation is a mess and lacks clarity in my view. Matt Chew's reference to the deliberate use of the term "invasive" as being politically useful is the same here regarding species going "extinct." In this case, environmental groups will use specific terms which are especially useful for fundraising more money from followers or their political allies who have access to government coffers. But if we apply the above bullet point to the discussion at Forest Policy Planning site, who gets to decide that life forms like the San Gabriel Mountains Blue butterfly (Plebejus saepiolus aureolus) was a species and it went extinct ??? We don't have clarity on what species really means and in the case of this butterfly, it was wasn't exactly classified as a separate species, but at best a sub-species. So when the Center for Biological Diversity says that they have “gone extinct,” how do they know that these butterflies did not simply mingle in with the larger population of the same kind of butterfly somewhere else where they may have hybridized and later separated ??? I’m not trying to make light or fun of the situation here, but just what exactly we are talking about when it comes to species ??? Who'd like to read a fun Butterfly naming species story ??? 


Florida Museum photo by Kristen Grace

In the above photograph,Tom Emmel displays the set of Cyllopsis tomemmeli that he collected as a 17-year-old in 1959, but suddenly today almost 60 years later it is given a name as a new species. But is it really a new species or variety of the same kind of organism ?? Who knows, but the article is interesting and should create more questions about how we arrive at conclusions:
FloridaMuseum: New butterfly species discovered nearly 60 years after it was first collected
  • "There are an estimated 8.7 million plant and animal species on our planet"
My Thoughts: How exactly did they arrive at all these numbers and stats, especially before today's genome mapping tools came out ??? And if these genome mapping tools were used, what were the cutoffs used for determining a new species ??? How exactly are they made & determined ??? Are they applied specifically or broadly across the board ??? It's a lot like reading other science articles with all these deep time dates dealing with millions or billions of years. Mainly we have to take it on faith that the researchers know what they are doing for no other reasons than because they are said to be credentialed.
  • "About 86% of land species and 91% of sea species remain undiscovered"
My Thoughts: How do they know what has or hasn't been discovered and that these percentages are correct ??? I can't do that, so how can they do that ??? I mean these numbers are so specific, but what really is the underlying foundation for them ??? The real percentage numbers could be higher or lower, but how would they even know ??? This reminds me of another dubious science discipline, Astrobiology, and something I read in an online site about extraterrestrial life being out there somewhere in the universe.
“We know there are exterrestrial aliens out there, we just haven’t found evidence for them yet”
If you want to read more of this, here is the link to the DailyMail Online sixth extinction article (HERE). Oh and one final bullet point from the article about this mystical future event alluded to about the coming Sixth Extinction. 
  • "Earth is enduring the sixth mass species extinction which is plunging the planet into 'global crisis', scientists have warned."
My Thoughts: Today, Science has become the head of a modern day doomsday cult. They fingerpoint at the rest of humanity for the present climate change and never once accept or attribute blame to themselves for leading mankind down this path through their own inept scientific understanding and technology built on such ignorance. Traditionally in the past, we've all known of these various oddball religious groups who were often labeled as Doomsday Cults. But now appears the present secular belief system has caught up and have created their own version of a modern day academic Doomsday group think. You cannot read anything these days without this incessant love affair with the celebrated Sixth Extinction. I'm not minimizing the dire downward trend of the planet's ecological health. But I have no need of a scientific paper to tell or inform me that things are changing out in Nature everywhere across the globe for the worse. Take note below of an area of Switzerland, where Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese Fan Palm) is spreading on the southern side of the Alps in moist forests and building self-sustaining populations.

Image - Vinvent Fehr
Here is a video from the photographer of this photo above
Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese fan palm) spreading in southern Ticino
There's really nothing more here to explain about the ongoing continual mass confussion of life classification on the part of the Scientifically credentialed. One day proper classification of all living things will come about, but not at the hands of the present Scientific Orthodoxy. I believe scientists have only barely scratched the surface about the informational content of DNA and the infathomable future potential possibility for providing further future change which can give mankind interesting observations for all eternity. I believe that most of the past extinct creatures are in a sense probably still with us today in one form or another. My last post on the extinction of Megafauna well illustrates that many are still with us. Remember the extinct Giant Ground Sloths, well we still have Sloths that exist today, just not giant ones. Remember those Mammoths and Mastodons ??? Yes, these are also gone, but remember scientists have found that the frozen fossil DNA is actually the same almost identical DNA that still exists in today's African & Asian Elephant populations and that at one time they all interbred with one another. If future environmental conditions improve and go back to what they were when Earth was heavily vegetation from Pole to Pole, then the possibility of their gradual return could be a reality. Who knows. Of course we'll need another type of major climate shift. What about Dinosaurs ??? Remember Juarassic Park's sick Triceratops ??? Did it strike anyone else as to the uncanny similarity in it's skin, legs and feet, face, etc to present day Rhinos ??? While many have proposed Rhinos come from a type of Triceratops, I'm going way out on a "Just So Story" limb here and propose that Triceratops actually came from Rhinos. Is it really all that far fetched ??? I know, the Triceratops looks so much more elaborate and complex in it's development. But so does Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Kale and Kohlrabi when you compare them to their unremarkable lowly weed parent plant the wild mustard (Brassica oleracea). Maybe like the exotic more spectacular looking cultivators, the various Triceratops were also the dead end hybrids of Rhinos. Pay close attention to this spellbinding talk in the video below, as paleontologist Jack Horner tells us the story of how iconoclastic thinking revealed a shocking secret about some of our most beloved dinosaurs.


So it turns out that many of these different dinosaur species fossil discoveries, were never new species after all, but were mere adolescence of the adults. Go figure! 😊 See how easy it is to create a just so narrative ??? Like Jack Horner said, Scientists love to name things. He also said Scientists have egos. Let's face it, there's a lot of fame, glitter and glory out there to be acquired if one can get their name up in lights for a new discovery. Also, future funding and notoriety are great motivation drivers to taxonomic exuberance. Believe it or not, most Evolutionary Biologists admire and follow Rudyard Kipling's lead in this "Just So Storytelling" tactic all the time, so I would encourage you to please read the Wiki article link below on Mr Kipling's Just So Stories children's book. Be careful folks about what and who you're donating your hard earned money to for scientific research. Species ? 😏


Wikipedia

"Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling

No need for any references, you've got enough to chew on, think about, meditate and ponder on for a while πŸ˜‰
“Sure, you can name a tree, categorize it, safely identify it. But that tree exists, living the fullness of its quiet life, even if in its long history no man ever stood before it and labeled it "Pine." It knows itself already and mysteriously encounters the sun each day, nameless.” Ivan M Granger (poet)


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Move over Birds, Bears disperse Berries & other Seeds as well

Think birds are the primary dispersers of seeds? Think again. OSU researchers in Alaska found another animal that might disperse more seeds.
Pixabay / MGN
New research recently released by Oregon State University shows bears in southeast Alaska may be the best contributor for spreading berry seeds. Researchers used motion activated cameras set up in a study area about 30 miles north of Haines. 
“We checked the cameras and the status of the berry clusters approximately once per week.” quote from the study
Image taken on December 26, 2017 by Santee Lakes

Cedar Waxwings eating Toyon Berries @ Santee Lakes

Image by Danilo Carradori - (Fairy Wren)
We all know that birds consume tonnes of seeds, nuts & berries, etc and disperse these seeds to other locations by means of their poop. Just check any fence lines in the rurals or even in urban neighbourhoods of any city and you'll find out just what birds are fond of eating. For me as a landscaper it was annoying to see Brazilian Pepper tree seedling emerging from the bottom of chainlink fence borders. They are a nightmare to control if allowed to grow. Others who live in rangelands whose business is cattle may curse Junipers for spreading across their grasslands, but even here again it's the birds who are at fault. Maybe Cattleman should find economic ways to profit from the Juniper's presence, than blaming them for the invasion in their home territory. It's a common misconception to say that birds are the primary resource for naturally spreading seeds. There is an Oregon State University study that says it’s bears can ddo this through their scat (poop). I'd say both critters do this, but the bear factor is interesting. The Scientists concluded that’s largely in part due to the fact that brown and black bears could consume an estimated 300-400 berries in a single bite of a devil’s club cluster. Hopefully one day somebody renames beautiful things found in Nature which incorporate these otherwise vulgar words/terms "devil," "hell," etc. It's clear that there are a number of ways that seeds from plants in nature become dispersed. Another recent report from Cornell University stated that even Snakes act as 'ecosystem engineers' in seed dispersal. Well, that's what they said 😲 See, the idea is that snakes eat rodents like rats, mice, gophers, etc. These little critters eat seed and often store them in their cheek pouches and if a snake comes along and eats them, then the seeds are eventually released by means of snake poop. Whatever 😏 Anyway it's interesting and a little scary too when you consider the way humans have "reverse engineered" (Oops, recently got in trouble from someone for not using another science-based religious metaphor, "evolutionary degeneration") our planet Earth. It's like slowly dismantling an automobile to see how many parts and components you can remove before the vehicle is incapable of functioning anymore. How's that for this world's settled science? πŸ˜’

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
“In search of the nutrition in devil’s club fruit, we estimate that a single bear can consume over 100,000 devil’s club berries per hour of continuous foraging, and brown and black bears can collectively disperse an incredible 200,000 seeds.”quote from the study
Image by http://hookedonflyfishing.net
The Oregon State researcher's data also showed black bears were more likely to eat berries late in the season when Grizzly Bears were trading in the berries for salmon. πŸ˜…
Got Kids ? Teach them about Nature 😸


Here's the full article on the interesting study:
The primacy of bears as seed dispersers in salmon-bearing ecosystems 


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Southern California: Breathtaking Natural Wonders that will one day Disappear

My Postcard World

In the old days back in the 1950s, animated post cards for travelers were everywhere like this California Natural Wonders postcard. I've always loved the map card's artwork and this one of California is really kool with all the little animated cartoony characters. This map card shows all the different natural wonders throughout California, like the giant redwoods, Death Valley and of course Yosemite National Park, just to name a few. California was always promoted and advertised as a land of wonders and rightly so. But I want to focuss on Southern California and many of the wonders which are now either gone or will be going soon. Did you know that Southern California boast one of the largest Lodgepole Pines ?


Photograph - Bryant Olsen - June 19, 2010

ebay.com - prefab log cabin kit
Most of us when we think of the lodgepole Pines, we may think of those dense woodlands in the northern reaches like Yellowstone where 80% of forest there is Lodgepole pine. We may also think of where their name comes from because these were used by the Native Americans there who did use them for lodgepoles for the typical Indian Teepee. The density of a Lodgepole Pine forest is such that because of the phenotypic plasticity scenario they often are associated with, competition is so incredibly extreme that all these trees can do is grow up as opposed to out. Hence we get a pole that is so perfect, that many prefab log cabin kit companies use the Lodgepole Pine for this very purpose.


Photograph - Jim Peaco - Yellowstone Sept 1998


Another name for a Lodgepole Pine forest is a Matchstick Forest. Not only because they actually do look like a book of matchsticks, but they are also known to go up in an explosion of fierce forest fire like matchsticks when ignited. Whenever the subject of wildfire comes up together with Lodgepole Pine, you almost always get an associated headline that reads, "Fire Adapted Forests & Fire Ecology." Fire Ecologists are passionate bunch when it comes to wildfire, so much so that they sometimes seem to almost worship fire as the only means for saving a plant community. This doesn't mean that fire cannot be used for good. Because it most certainly can. I know because I've used it on my own  land. But the question is, "Is fire really all that necessary in every and all circumstance and with what frequency ?" Opinions and beliefs among fire ecologists vary. Some say the necessary interval between wildfires should be 30-50 years, other say 70-130 years. Trust me there is no real united consensus among them. How often do you hear or read about them bickering amongst themselves for position as to each one's expertise in the public eye through various journals ? Now take a look at this megafauna dude below known as a Mastadon. He was mainly a browser. Can you imagine what effect he had on keeping forests and chaparral bush habitats open and airy ??? Or what about the giant ground sloth ???



No matter who you wish to believe or follow, almost none of them will acknowledge the benefits of grazing and browsing animals as a means of healthy ecosystem maintenance. Megafauna are almost never mentioned as part of the term "Natural" for no other reason than they no longer exist. Yet we often hear the term, "Pristine Wilderness." This term most generally means untouched pre-European white man landscape. But this also most often gives the impression that the Native American is somehow considered as having a sub-human status. Like a sort of animistic conservation force guiding nature. Indeed, the Native Americans are much revered and worshipped by fire ecologists and even environmental groups because of this ongoing romantacized myth that these people were the ultimate ecological land stewards. When we listen to their public lectures or read their articles in journals, the conversation almost always comes from the standpoint of the methods used by the Indians as land stewards. What has always bothered me is that I know for a fact that the Native Americans were and still are equal to all other human beings. They are prone to mistakes as everyone else. So are we to believe they only lit fires for conservation purposes ? What about mistakes with fire like lighting fires during a Santa Ana wind event to cook supper or deliberate acts of war utilizing fire against other hated enemy tribes ? The list is endless, but apparently if they made stupid mistakes, are we then to believe this too is a part of natural because they were natives??? Now consider this item below.
Champion Lodgepole Pine in San Bernardino National Forest
"Champion Lodgepole Pine"

image - bigbearlake.net
Wow, now that's not exactly what one thinks of when the image of a Lodgepole Pine comes to mind. The world "Champion Lodgepole Pine" (discovered in 1963) is a magnificent, double-topped tree that towers above the surrounding forest reaching a height of roughly 110 feet. It's age is estimated to be older than 450 years, which means that it germinated about the year 1560 CE. You really have to stand back at a distance to get the full view from across the meadow up there in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear. The trail getting there features a wet meadow and other mature conifers including this largest recorded Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) in California! But some puzzling questions come up about the fire ecology dogma we are force fed about what is "natural" & "normal" when it comes to fire ecology. Take a look at those low hanging branches on this massive Lodgepole in the photo taken by Walter Feller above. Are we to believe that no fire blew through here and used those low hanging branches as a fire ladder at any time in it's 450+ years of life from 1650 onward ??? Clearly when this tree was young, the dense branches would have been from the ground up for a 100+ years anyway, with time and age naturally pruning off lower branches eventually. But still, these other giant dead limbs are almost touching the ground, how did all those fires miss this tree ??? There has been some remarkable work done on fire history and it doesn't really jive with all the blind faith dogma we've been fed. Back in February 2017 of this year, the Smithsonian Magazine printed an article about research done which stated that 84% of wildfires in North America were human caused. Interestingly, on the west coast of the United States the percentage is actually 90%. Here's the article below:
SmithsonianMag: Study Shows 84% of Wildfires Caused by Humans
Now back this past September, ScienceMag, did an interview with one of the researchers of that original study, Jennifer Balch, a wildfire ecologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Surprisingly, California itself is up around 90% higher than nationwide average of human caused wildfires:
"Nationwide, humans are responsible for starting 84% of wildfires, according to a paper co-authored by Balch, published this past March in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In California, the eastern United States, and the coastal Northwest, people are behind more than 90% of wildfires."
Now here is a breakdown on highest reasons in order of highest stupidy just why many wildfires come about:
"So the breakdown: Of the approximately 1.5 million wildfires in the government record, 25% were burning of trash and debris; about a quarter (22%) were unknown human causes. The next biggest category is arson, [then] heavy equipment, campfires, children, and smokers. Those are the seven biggest categories.  Fireworks didn't rank in the very top for the whole year, but it does pop on July 4th. It’s the day with the most fires. Over 7000 events started on July 4th alone. They were predominantly started by fireworks. It's unfortunate that our Independence Day didn't fall in January or December when it's cooler and wetter.
So now we have to assume that out of all these wildfires, natural wildfire only accounts for a mere 10% which might translate to lightning storms (rarely volcanoes). Most of these occur within the middle of the country along either side of the Rocky Mountains all the way west to the Pacific Ocean. That 10% is still not a lot of wildfire if we want to label something natural in the forest maintenance department. When researchers study wildfire and proclaim it's hallowed importance to mantaining a healthy vegetative ecosystems, rarely do any of them ever account for the historical presence of large animal herds (herbivores like deer, elk, antelope, etc) and possibly even still farther back, the one time extistence of the herbivore megafauna presence which would have kept forests and chaparral bush habitats with well pruned understories.

But it was when Native Americans (also real human beings) finally arrived on the scene, that they then would introduce their reasons for utilizing wildfire, like running buffalo (bison and/or other megafauna) off cliffs and gradually putting pressure on slow moving megafauna species towards extinction through hunting, then yes everything did change. But some are still clinging to this Indian Burn dogma as natural phenomena for no other reason than ideologically driven religious dogma and politics. I'll move on and put other references at the bottom of this post. The final point here is that environmental components and other natural mechanisms now have changed for the worse and unfortunately this Champion Lodgepole tree's good fortune for avoiding catastrophe has run out. No doubt the end is nearer than we think for this tree also. If a catastrophic forest wildfire doesn't take the Lodgepole Pine tree, then perhaps it'll succumb to another fate like that of the last ancient Ponderosa Pine tree in Idyllwild California earlier this year 2017 which finally died and was professionally removed.



Image from myidyllwild.org
I wrote about this very tree in 2013. In all my searching while I lived up there this was the biggest Ponderosa Pine in all of Idyllwild and before that early logging in the area, such large trees were very common. But here is the last final documentation I am aware of. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. 😞
Saturday in Idyllwild viewing it's most gigantic Ponderosa Pine
Image is mine from 2013 - Idyllwild California
One sad thing for sure we can count on is that this mega-drought is not over and this despite many eco-groups & government officials proclaiming the drought over and all is well, offering proof through photo posting on social media sites of a record year of wildflower abundance. And most bought into that. Scott McLean, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal-Fire said this in June 2017:
“Everybody’s excited about the drought being over but all that moisture enhances the grass crop. It’s denser and higher, and it catches fire very easily."
(Source) 
Yes and the 2017 wildfire season turned out to be another record year of destruction. But lo & behold we are hearing again the drought was not over as propagandized last year. The death of trees will now only escalate. Previous news reports had estimated that 100 million trees in California had died thus far as a result of the 4 or 5 year mega-drought, but now a new report has that firgure at 129 million trees. As a news report just today stated, the warmer temps, lack of rain and snow are allowing more bark beetles to survive, when the normal cold should be killing and reducing their numbers. But that's not happening right now.
"Unseasonably warm and dry winter giving Bark Beetles in the Sierra a second lease on life" ABC30 Action News


More Bad News for another natural icon, Torrey Pines 😬
Photo: Scott Davenport/Flickr/Creative Commons (2013)
Major decline in Torrey Pines & SoCal Forests in general
Sad to imagine decline and general death in Torrey Pines, but it's true. The top photo is a favourite viewpoint for 1000s of photographers, both professional and amateur. Take note of the beautiful iconic scene in the top photo from 2013. Below is a photo of this same geological location as it exists today. Notice the dead trees ? Many blamed drought, but oddly enough down the road at Torrey Pines Country Club and Golf Resort, 66 trees planted many decades ago in association with massive networks of golf course green lawns are dead as well. This is a strange anomaly because the golf course setting creates a wetter climate scenario which is the extreme opposite of the State Reserve circumstance just to the north. Thus far no one is really taking note of the difference.


Broken Hill Sunrise by Phillip Colla (2015)

Other examples are just plain devastation of natural areas by wildfire. In San Diego County, the 2003 Cedar Fire almost completely obliterated the entire Cuyamaca Stat Park. For those who don't know this region in the San Diego Mountains, it was like the Yosemite of Southern California with numerous square miles of no development, just raw unbridled wild old growth forest. It's all gone now and numerous generations after generations will never see Cuyamaca's old growth splender with the exception of old photographs. Go ahead and google it for yourself. Mankind is debating back and forth about whether or not humans are the cause of climate change. No one now disputes climate change is upon us, but rather the argument appears to be who or what is at fault for the climate change. Presently, the Scientific Orthodoxy is fingerpointing at the whole of mankind as fault for climate. Oddly enough there is an element of truth to that.


This Lemming animation above is well known. The animals themselves have often been the subject of overpopulation and mass suicide myths. Interestingly back in 1951, there was a science-fiction piece published entitled, "The_Marching_Morons" which depicted an over-populated planet run by a handful of Elites who viewed the rest of humanity as nothing more than unintellectual morons (compared to themselves) who needed to be controlled. You see, the morons over-populated (prolithic at having babies) Earth as compared to the intellectual elites who didn't procreate as much. Sound familiar ??? Sounds like much of the scientific environmental talking points from scientists who blame global climate change on everyone else but themselves. The sad reality fact is that mankind only follows the bad leadership it has been given. People have been conditioned and trained that way from birth. Secular Science has truly further created a mainly materialist minded human being who only wants more and more THINGS (TOYS) like the wealthy among them have. Mind you, this same materialism infects the conventionally religious among mankind who also have been material minded for many centuries as opposed to anything spiritual. And science for the past 150 years has oblidged their hunger for materialism with their technologically advanced products. Unfortunately these products and other wares demand raw materials taken from Earth's dwindling easy to get natural resources and science has oblidged there as well by providing more efficient technologically advanced destructive means by which these raw materals could be extracted. In so doing they have reverse engineered vast ecosystems across the globe, much of which provide weather and climate controls, clean water filtration and food production by incredibly complex and sophisticated mechanisms for countless 1000s of years which other more responsible parts of science are now only beginning to understand. Yes the average poor slob human beings are viewed as those moron Lemmings and Big Consensus Settled Science represents the Elitists who now attempt to run things and fingerpoint at everyone else as the problem. Really guys ??? πŸ˜”πŸ˜•

I'll add more examples as I have time, but clearly many many more major natural attractions in California will continue to be in decline, despite so-called proclamations from environmental groups that all is well.

Other References on Reason for Decline
What's the real connection between Droughts & Wildfires ?
Burn Baby Burn - Fire Ecologist Celebrate Fire Season