Sunday, April 16, 2017



One of the excuses the city has been giving for butchering the trees and bulldozing the riverbank is that there was a lot of "deadfall". They say this in horrified tones as if it was some terrible disease.

Gimme a break, deadfall is perfectly normal. A healthy forest will have deadfall. It provides shelter and homes to birds and insects and other animals.  Lichen and moss and mushrooms and other fungi grow on it. It decomposes and provides nutrients to the soil.

moss & lichen

Maybe you've seen them clearing deadfall from forests. The reason we do that is because we've suppressed the natural cycle of fires. And so we pile mistake on top of mistake.

Humans have a seemingly insatiable desire to manage nature. We can't have a natural area without supervising it, which means roads and trails and all kinds of interference. We turn Grasslands National Park into a giant cattle pasture, supposedly to make up for wiping out the buffalo. Of course, you can't have cattle without fences and roads and dugouts. How about we just bring the buffalo back. Of course, we can't do that without treating them like cattle and rounding them up and herding them around. We can't have wolves or bears or cougars without radio collaring them. Perhaps it's some deep seated fear of the wild. After all, who knows what horrible beast (without a radio collar!) might be lurking under that deadfall. Perhaps something fearsome like a salamander.

Tiger Salamander

Come on people, nature did perfectly well for billions of years without us to "manage" it. The only reason we need to manage it is because we're in the process of destroying it. If our management did anything to slow down this destruction it might be worth it. But it doesn't. If anything it just hastens the process.

I think another part of the problem is that humans don't have much patience and they seldom take the long view. It takes decades or even centuries to grow trees. It's so much quicker to cut them down and plant grass and asphalt.

I'm ok with making a path so people can enjoy nature. Perhaps they won't destroy it quite so quickly if they appreciate it. But if you destroy the very nature that they're coming to see, in the process of creating the path so they can see it, all you end up with is yet another stretch of sterile pavement. If that's what people wanted they'd be spending their time in parking lots. Oh yeah, I forgot, that is the great outdoors for most people.

We're in the middle of the worst extinction event in the billions of years of our planets existence. Since 1900 the rate of extinctions has been approximately 1000 times faster than normal. If the current rate of human disruption of the biosphere continues, one-half of Earth's higher lifeforms will be extinct by 2100. All as a result of "progress" and "management".

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