February 17, 2019

Ecosystem services or services to ecosystems? Valuing cultivation and reciprocal relationships between humans and ecosystems

Abstract

The concept of Ecosystem Services (ES), widely understood as the “benefits that humans receive from the natural functioning of healthy ecosystems” (Jeffers et al., 2015), depicts a one-way flow of services from ecosystems to people. We argue that this conceptualisation is overly simplistic and largely inaccurate, neglecting the reality that humans often contribute to the maintenance and enhancement of ecosystems, as often evidenced (but not exclusively) in many traditional and Indigenous societies. Management interventions arising from Ecosystem Services research are thus potentially damaging to both ecosystems and indigenous rights. We present the concept of ‘Services to Ecosystems’ (S2E) to address this, closing the loop of the reciprocal relationship between humans and ecosystems. Case studies from the biocultural ecosystems of Amazonia and the Pacific Northwest of North America (Cascadia) are used to illustrate the concept and provide examples of Services to Ecosystems in past and current societies. Finally, an alternative framework is presented, advancing the existing framework for Ecosystem Services by incorporating this reconceptualization and the loop of reciprocity. The framework aims to facilitate the inclusion of Services to Ecosystems in management strategies based upon Ecosystem Services, and highlights the need for ethnographic research in Ecosystem Service-based interventions.<<<Read More>>>

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It All Begins With the Fake Term “Ecosystem”

*Editor’s Note* – “Everyone” does NOT know and not everyone is interested in swallowing this BS  about balancing a fake ecosystem. Nor are we interested in wasting our time with outcome-based new-science scientism of “maybes,” and “indications” – hoping for another fake excuse to love the animals and hate the people.

Everyone knows that keeping our forests and grasslands full of wolves, bald eagles and honeybees is good for the environment. But could protecting animals and preserving ecosystems also help people not catch Lyme disease or West Nile virus?

Source: Save Wildlife, Save Yourself? | Maine Public Broadcasting

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Creating New Knowledge So We Can “Understand” Wolves

This is a great example of post-normal science. The statement declares that in order that we can understand the complexities of how wolves effect ecosystems, we “will require new minds, new mathematics,…” This is in disregard for real science, facts and truth. In other words, those who believe heavily in their agendas, must fabricate data and propagandize the masses to believe it.

ABSTRACT:

“Since their introduction in 1995 and 1996, wolves have had effects on Yellowstone that ripple across the entire structure of the food web that defines biodiversity in the Northern Rockies ecosystem. Ecological interpretations of the wolves have generated a significant amount of debate about the relative strength of top-down versus bottom-up forces in determining herbivore and vegetation abundance in Yellowstone. Debates such as this are central to the resolution of broader debates about the role of natural enemies and climate as forces that structure food webs and modify ecosystem function. Ecologists need to significantly raise the profile of these discussions; understanding the forces that structure food webs and determine species abundance and the supply of ecosystem services is one of the central scientific questions for this century; its complexity will require new minds, new mathematics, and significant, consistent funding.” (emphasis added)<<<Read More>>>

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The Traveling Wolf Medicine Tour

*Editor’s Note* – In an email exchange this morning to others on my email list, this is what I wrote (with a couple of edits) in regard to this piece of junk opinion that can easily be labeled as nothing more than a traveling medicine show.

“It is my opinion based on a few years of study, that when it comes to wildlife management and dealing with animals in general, we humans project our human and emotional rationale onto animals. When people, regardless of their education, place some kind of value onto an animal that is “human-like” it distorts rational thinking. I believe that a wolf is nothing more than an instinctive and opportunistic killer. If the opportunity is there, along with whatever drives a wolf to kill, it will…..period. We, as humans, attempt to rationalize a wolf (or any other animal) in some kind of human element, i.e. that a wolf can and does distinguish a “sick” prey species and picks that one over another. To form a conclusion that wolves “kill the old, the young, the sick and the weak,” can only be formed on human emotions and irrational thought.

Perhaps the “evidence to support” is there but it is probably supporting the wrong theory. If data shows, after the fact, that wolves ended up killing more “sick” prey, it happened, more than likely because there was opportunity NOT because a wolf processed in its mind that it would not have to work so hard to munch on a sick wolf versus a “healthy” one.[As certainly a wolf with that level of brain power would not willingly eat “sick” flesh.] I think this is what Jim B. calls, “Romance Biology.”

If anyone was to actually stand by their claims that wolves make prey species healthier, they would then struggle to answer the question as to why, if a wolf can distinguish a “sick” prey species from a healthy one, then surely they also can distinguish a healthy one and a healthy, pregnant female prey species and go for the gold.

I just think it is a bastardization of the scientific process when data is used to promote a humanistic-placed value on something because that’s what the human mind rationalizes…..irrationally!”

From the Jackson Hole News and Guide:

“In the main, the preponderance of scientific evidence supports the view that wolves generally kill the old, the young, the sick and the weak,” Mech began. “There’s so much documented field data behind it.”

All the things humans treasure about every wild prey species — their physiology, agility and resilience — are reflections of the predators that made them adapt and evolve over eons.<<<Read More>>>

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Debunk: Predators Kill Only Lame, Sick and Weak Prey Species

I have finally found a written explanation about predator/prey relationships that is easy to sink your teeth into and understand and written by an authority on the subject; Dr. Charles Kay, Wildlife Ecology-Range Management Specialist Utah State University. His article can be found in Muley Crazy Magazine, Jan./Feb. Edition 2013.

Anyone paying any attention to the emotional debates about large predators – wolves and coyotes seem to carry the most irrational emotions – have heard someone, even those supposedly who are authorities, say that wolves/coyotes/large predators are necessary for our ecosystems because they kill only the lame, sick, weak and/or substandard members of the prey species. With the mindless perpetuation of such drivel, we are also told this “sanitary” engineering by predators provides for “healthy” prey species, some even claiming this natural phenomenon limits and reduces certain wildlife diseases because these predators are killing the sick among the prey.

I have always contended that if large predators were intelligent enough to determine the sickly of the species, why aren’t they equally intelligent to pick a good meal rather than one that might taste bad and be full of worms and disease? But I guess maybe that’s another discussion.

What studies that do exist, clearly show that large predators kill their prey/food depending upon several factors, none of which are the result of a predator recognizing they have a sick animal on their hands. Factors include: How easy it is for predators to kill their prey species under normal conditions; the size and killing ability of the predator versus the size and defense capabilities of the prey; how the predator hunts and environmental conditions. Seriously, is this something new? Of course not.

Dr. Kay explains that any prey species that is easily captured and killed, there is no difference in the proportionate killing of healthy vs. ill prey species. As the size and defense capabilities of the predator animal increases, the incidence of prey killed increases mostly do to a reduction of defensive capability.

Kay uses an example of lynx in Europe that will feed on both roe deer and red deer. He explains that roe deer, “are less than half the size of mule deer, while red deer are the same species as our elk.” Roe deer are easier to catch for the lynx and kill without evidence of taking a disproportionate number of sick roe deer. As far as the red deer are concerned, because the animal is bigger and more difficult to catch and take down, lynx tend to target red deer calves in disproportionate numbers to the overall red deer population. A bigger predator, such as a wolf, isn’t choosy between roe deer and red deer and will take either species that is available when hunted with little or no regard to seeking out a sick member of the herd.

All predators hunt differently; some are ambush hunters, some are stalkers that run down their prey, for examples. An ambush hunter isn’t particular or concerned over whether an animal is sick or lame. Essentially they have one shot at their prey, healthy or not. On the other hand, a predator, like a wolf or coyote, track down their prey, sometimes running them down, or perhaps surrounding their target. In this case, opportunism will likely afford the predator a better chance at catching up to and killing a sick or lame prey species. This only makes sense.

As any good scientist would do, Dr. Kay points out information he provided in other research work written about in “Predation and the Ecology of Fear” [see Muley Crazy 10(5): 23-28; 2010]. In this work and subsequent reporting, Kay points out that often times the substandard prey species can become this way due to harassment by predators and humans. Predators torment and harass prey species constantly. Battle weary prey animals then become an easier target and thus the ill health mythology exploited by the predator protectors is not so because it is caused by natural conditions such as physical defects and disease.

And if predators, such as wolves, exist for the function of killing only the lame, diseased and infirm of prey animals, while yielding us a “healthy” ecosystem, how does one explain surplus killing? Surplus killing, which is readily recorded, is when wolves move into a herd of prey and just kill everything they can until they have had enough killing, for no apparent reason than to kill. Some think of it as a learning adventure for the immature dogs in the pack. What I can tell you is that those who protect predators will deny that surplus killing is real.

Depending upon the region in which predator and prey relationships are being examined, one can find many environmental conditions that will effect a predator’s ability to hunt and a prey’s ability to defend themselves or escape. Deep and crusty snow comes to mind, as often prey species such as deer and moose, that use running as an escape, cannot flee so easily and wolves and coyotes easily run them down.

Dr. Kay also debunks the notions that large predators are good to limit or reduce wildlife disease because they pick on the sick prey and not the healthy. He points out that, “Wolf predation has not lowered the incidence of brucellosis in elk within the Yellowstone ecosystem.” Also, “In Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, bison are infected with both brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis. Yet more than 50 years of wolf predation has not lowered the incidence of either disease.” Again, “Cape buffalo are preyed upon by African lions and spotted hyenas, both formidable predators, yet predation has not slowed the spread of bovine tuberculosis in Kruger’s cape buffalo population.” Finally, “predation by black bears, mountain lions, and coyotes has not slowed the spread of chronic wasting disease.”

In addition to revealing that predation is not changing the incidences of disease, Dr. Kay tells his readers that some predators, such as wolves and coyotes, carry more than 30 diseases that they are infecting ungulate populations with, and creating for potential harm and possible death to humans. Certainly a predator spreading so many diseases cannot and is not making for a healthy prey population, but an unhealthy one.

Proper control of predators is the proven and scientific method of keeping healthy prey and predator species, not some myth that these predators are like trained physicians making house calls to keep all their food supply healthy. Let’s not pretend.

It is certainly one thing to want to protect your favorite wild animal but at what expense? Do we risk the health of humans while hiding behind some notion that predators are sanitation engineers? As Dr. Kay says, “the next time some wolf biologist or pro-wolf advocate tries to tell you that predators only kill the lame, the sick, and the infirm, or that predators help control disease, listen politely, or not, and then have a good laugh! What you do next is up to you, but remember, the federal government has warned all its employees, who normally handle wolves or wolf scat, about Echincoccus granulosus, but has yet to pass a similar warning on to the general public.”

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Repeating Nonsense About Predator Control Doesn’t Make it Factual

On September 10, 2012, the Portland Press Herald released an opinion piece in which the author believed that spending money to control the population of coyotes for the benefit of all wildlife was “ill-conceived wildlife measures”. The author claims that spending $100,000, of which only $15,000 was actually spent, was an “irresponsible use of taxpayer funds”. Was it really?

Today, in the same newspaper, a person wrote a short comment in support of the first opinion piece:

Reduce the population of coyotes enough to make a temporary difference, and those remaining will produce more pups to fill the loss in numbers. If the governor had asked the state biologists, they would have told him this.

That is the entirety of the letter.

First of all, there is no scientific evidence that proves the absurd statement that if you kill some coyotes, “those remaining will produce more pups to fill the loss of numbers”. That’s a myth that has been perpetuated by protectors of predators, like the coyote, as a means to dishonestly deceive the public in order to drum up support for private and personal agendas.

There are few that will argue that attempting to control predators can be achieved with one season of killing. It’s an ongoing thing. If the desired number of coyotes can be achieved with a required amount of effort, the task of managing a stable population is much easier.

The second issue is that the author says that if the governor had asked the state biologists, they would have told him that the coyotes would reproduce more coyotes to fill the void. That statement is probably true because most of the biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and wildlife agencies all over the world, are predator protectors and have been indoctrinated to believe the same myth the author has. Therefore, the lie is perpetuated with very few people ever challenging the concept. What a travesty!

All of this is the product of non scientific brainwashing, convincing non thinking students that nature balances itself out. That if man was somehow taken out of the equation, some kind of nirvana would ensue and all would be well. Odd that they would perpetuate this myth being that if it were true, why would any state NEED a fish and wildlife department, wasting millions of dollars each year for something they seem to think would be handled just fine without them.

Dr. Valerius Geist, a foremost wildlife scientist and professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, calls the idea of this kind of wildlife management thought as “intellectual rubbish”. But why waste my time attempting to help people understand the truth when the truth doesn’t fit their narrative?

I challenge all readers to make an attempt at learning that there is no such thing as a self-regulated ecosystem; at least not in the Disneyesque sense of things. It may surprise you to know that there does not exist a system of ecology, i.e. ecosystem. That it’s not a system at all, leading people to believe it is some kind of well-oiled machinery. In reality nothing is ever static therefore there can be no balance.

Left to mother nature, reality would scare most people, with large swings of near extinction of some species, starvation and disease. That’s how mother nature does it.

But that didn’t stop the coiners of the term ecosystem, again to deceive the public and gain their support knowing people are just all too eager to believe what they are told and not think for themselves and discover the truth on their own.

If you are actually interested in truth and not someone’s “intellectual rubbish”, you can begin by reading an article I wrote a couple years ago about Dr. Valerius Geist’s comments on natural balance and self regulation. There you will find links to scientific articles and studies that will help you understand how everything is constantly changing. Wildlife does not become balanced and remain static by itself. It is in constant flux, influenced by a host of ever changing conditions and circumstances and often leaving the forests with what is known as a predator pit; void of any population of prey species and dominated by predators. Follow the links and continue your own research. It’s not easy but sometimes discovering facts is not. It’s fascinating stuff and the truth will set you free.

If you really are a believer in the conservation of all wild things, then do yourself a favor and first, stop reading and believing the garbage being put out by fish and wildlife agencies, media and environmentalists that are agenda-driven and dishonest. The conservation is about conserving ALL wildlife not protecting one species at the expense of others.

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Ecosystems: A Genocidal Fraud

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The “Intellectual Rubbish” of “Ecosystems” and “Balance of Nature”

*Editor’s Note:* Yesterday I received an email from a member of a communication network who questioned what tactics were going to be necessary to correct this perpetuated myth of “natural regulation” or “natural balance”. For those not familiar with these terms, essentially the self-appointed custodians of the forests have fabricated the idea that if man would just simply go away, then our fields and forests would self regulate into some elevated form of nirvana. Yesterday, in the same email, I coined the title for such believers as sufferers of “UPEPS” or Utopian Philosophy Ecosystem Perfection Syndrome.

UPEPS has run rampant across this land and how I got UPEPS was from information provided to me by Dr. Valerius Geist, professor emeritus, University of Calgary. This email prompted me to research my archives to reread what I wrote just about one year ago about the balance of nature.

Here’s is a republication of that article. Please do yourselves a favor and follow the links and take the time to understand about positive and negative feedback loops and how those relate to our everyday lives. And then ask yourself if nature can “balance” itself if man would just bug out.

Today, we learned that Dr. Valerius Geist, a foremost wildlife scientist, “Denounced Ecosystem Management“. In his condemnation he described the belief in “Utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity” as “intellectual rubbish”. He also challenges, in a way, those not stricken with “intellectual laziness” to “Know the difference between positive and negative feed back, and you are on the way of understanding both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems.”

I would like to take a layman’s stab at explaining about ecosystems and the myth of nature balancing itself. As with everything I write, I don’t ask readers to simply believe what I write but to do some research and make their own determinations.

Of late, I have composed a couple articles in reference to “natural regulation, here and here. The theory of “natural regulation” can just as easily be described in the same fashion as Dr. Geist used above; “utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity.” Or, in words we can all understand – just leave it alone and let things go as they will.

Part of the problem is that all people have been subjected to the use of the word, “ecosystem” to describe a landscape where flora and fauna live together in perfect harmony. “Eco” being a hip word these days (I assumed derived from ecology) and the “system” I am willing to wager is very much misunderstood. Many people, if engaged in some kind of biology discussion, might think of a system as their own body; a composition of organs and tissues all working together, the result of which is a living, breathing and walking specimen of human being.

Unfortunately the “system” in ecosystem is only used as a means of classification, or dare I say, should be used in that way. Regardless, the term in and of itself is quite misleading.

Dr. Geist spoke of “know[ing] the difference between positive and negative feed back”. This information can easily be obtained by doing searches Online but perhaps it’s much easier to find than understand. As individual humans (animals), our system (body) works to maintain “homeostasis” – “to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus tending to disturb its normal condition or function”. The responses to those disturbances are what are known as “negative feedback loops“, working to reverse or negate those disturbances. Dr. Geist says this is why “individuals are individuals”, i.e. “because they are controlled by negative feed back – negative!“.

In the contrast, as is pointed out by Geist, groups of organisms living together, in what is now too commonly referred to as that somewhat mythical “ecosystem”, are “never controlled but instead are subjected to “whims and randomness of positive feed back”.

Positive feedback loops, logically would be the counterpart to negative feedback loops. In the positive feedback loop, the body senses changes or disturbances and reacts to actually speed up the change. Some examples of this in humans might be a heart attack, clotting of blood, or even labor pains.

Dr. Geist tells us that if we can gain a solid understanding of the differences between positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops, then we might better understand “both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems”.

Stochastic as it would apply to our “ecosystems” involves “a random variable or variables“.

Our ecosystems, so used, is a conglomeration of organisms all subjected to the influences of random variables that are forever changing. Geist describes those random variables as: “whims and randomness of positive feed back.”

If in our minds we can envision that our world is comprised of multiple pockets of habitat of varying sizes, each abutting and/or overlapping, or even standing apart, comprised of diverse species of plant and animals (including man) and all being subjected to random variables, it becomes much more difficult to seriously give credit to a “balance of nature”.

Tom Remington

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The “Intellectual Rubbish” of “Ecosystems” and “Balance of Nature”

Today, we learned that Dr. Valerius Geist, a foremost wildlife scientist, “Denounced Ecosystem Management“. In his condemnation he described the belief in “Utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity” as “intellectual rubbish”. He also challenges, in a way, those not stricken with “intellectual laziness” to “Know the difference between positive and negative feed back, and you are on the way of understanding both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems.”

I would like to take a layman’s stab at explaining about ecosystems and the myth of nature balancing itself. As with everything I write, I don’t ask readers to simply believe what I write but to do some research and make their own determinations.

Of late, I have composed a couple articles in reference to “natural regulation, here and here. The theory of “natural regulation” can just as easily be described in the same fashion as Dr. Geist used above; “utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity.” Or, in words we can all understand – just leave it alone and let things go as they will.

Part of the problem is that all people have been subjected to the use of the word, “ecosystem” to describe a landscape where flora and fauna live together in perfect harmony. “Eco” being a hip word these days (I assumed derived from ecology) and the “system” I am willing to wager is very much misunderstood. Many people, if engaged in some kind of biology discussion, might think of a system as their own body; a composition of organs and tissues all working together, the result of which is a living, breathing and walking specimen of human being.

Unfortunately the “system” in ecosystem is only used as a means of classification, or dare I say, should be used in that way. Regardless, the term in and of itself is quite misleading.

Dr. Geist spoke of “know[ing] the difference between positive and negative feed back”. This information can easily be obtained by doing searches Online but perhaps it’s much easier to find than understand. As individual humans (animals), our system (body) works to maintain “homeostasis” – “to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus tending to disturb its normal condition or function”. The responses to those disturbances are what are known as “negative feedback loops“, working to reverse or negate those disturbances. Dr. Geist says this is why “individuals are individuals”, i.e. “because they are controlled by negative feed back – negative!“.

In the contrast, as is pointed out by Geist, groups of organisms living together, in what is now too commonly referred to as that somewhat mythical “ecosystem”, are “never controlled but instead are subjected to “whims and randomness of positive feed back”.

Positive feedback loops, logically would be the counterpart to negative feedback loops. In the positive feedback loop, the body senses changes or disturbances and reacts to actually speed up the change. Some examples of this in humans might be a heart attack, clotting of blood, or even labor pains.

Dr. Geist tells us that if we can gain a solid understanding of the differences between positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops, then we might better understand “both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems”.

Stochastic as it would apply to our “ecosystems” involves “a random variable or variables“.

Our ecosystems, so used, is a conglomeration of organisms all subjected to the influences of random variables that are forever changing. Geist describes those random variables as: “whims and randomness of positive feed back.”

If in our minds we can envision that our world is comprised of multiple pockets of habitat of varying sizes, each abutting and/or overlapping, or even standing apart, comprised of diverse species of plant and animals (including man) and all being subjected to random variables, it becomes much more difficult to seriously give credit to a “balance of nature”.

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