Clearing tropical forests is a lose-lose

It releases a great deal of carbon and produces much less new food than more intensive use of existing croplands-

Lose-lose . . . sounds like a Western land use issue.

Clearing tropical forests is a lose-lose. Michael Marshall. New Scientist.

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The Guy Idaho Ranchers Love to Hate

“If we weren’t getting to them, they’d brush us off like a fly. After all, we’re just a little organization with 14 or 15 people, but they act like what we do is the end of the world.”

Jon Marvel sees two ways to get cows and sheep to stop grazing on public lands: Politics and litigation. He chooses the latter.

Dennis Higman does a profile on Jon for NewWest.

Fortunate for all of us who care about western public lands and wildlife, the degree to which ranchers and their politician lap-dogs whine about WWP is in direct proportion to the degree at which the organization is bringing much needed change and restoration to the western public landscape.

The Guy Idaho Ranchers Love to HateNewWest.net

There are two topics you don’t want to bring up with most Idaho ranchers: wolves and Jon Marvel, the white-haired, 63-year-old founder and executive director of the Western Watersheds Project.

Obama: Pygmy Rabbit “not warranted” for ESA protections

Salazar Strikes Again, Denying Meaningful Protection for Imperiled Tiny Bunny of the Sagebrush Sea

Pygmy rabbit

The declining condition of the Sagebrush Sea has been highlighted on a couple of occasions over the past couple of weeks.  In recent Washington state news we learned that jackrabbits in sagebrush habitats are diminishingPygmy rabbits were rejected ESA protections by the Obama administration last week, and earlier last year Dr. Steven Herman remorsefully described his account of the extinction of the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit:

Science is seldom followed in these endangered species “interventions”.  Politics trumps science -and conservation.

We need to remember the Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit as an example of a form lost in part to the the insanity of Public Grazing.

The Sagebrush Sea is Dying

Significant threats to sagebrush habitat across the western landscape continue to threaten and diminish a variety of sagebrush obligate species.

Sagebrush habitat is among the most imperiled ecosystems in North America and the rate at which our unique western wildlife and fish communities are declining is truly alarming.

Attempting to bring the most relief in the least amount of time, environmentalists continue to push for Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for a number of umbrella species endemic to sagebrush habitats, including the grand-master of the Sagebrush Sea: the Greater Sage grouse.

Prioritizing these “umbrella” species is important, because when successfully listed, the protections secured these species will blanket entire ecosystems positively affecting the diversity of fish, wildlife, and environmental values which share the explicitly protected individuals’ habitat.  It’s like hitting a plethora of birds with one stone (bad analogy).

Ken Cole (age 11) holds pygmy rabbit

Pygmy Rabbits’ Race to Recovery

So it is with the charismatic, imperiled pygmy rabbit, North America’s tinniest bunny, and the only arboreal rabbit (climbs sagebrush) on Earth !

In 2003, a coalition of conservation groups petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to list pygmy rabbits under the ESA.

In early 2008, the USFWS, responding to legal pressure from conservation groups, finally issued a positive 90-day finding for pygmy rabbits, initiating a more thorough assessment of whether to protect the bunny under the ESA.

The agency dragged its feet again, prompting Western Watersheds Project et al to provide a legal reminder, again, of its court ordered obligation to the bunny …

Unfortunately, just earlier this week Pygmy rabbits were denied Endangered Species Act protections by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Laura Zuckerman, Reuters

“We find there has been some loss and degradation of pygmy rabbit habitat range-wide, but not to the magnitude that constitutes a significant threat to the species,” Bob Williams, supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Nevada, said in a statement.

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Wilderness Values Protected on the Pashimeroi River Watershed

Western Watersheds Project wins a great legal victory for wilderness and endangered fish.

~ Jon Marvel
Jon Marvel
Friends,

On July 30th, 2010 Idaho Chief District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued an Order in Western Watersheds Project‘s favor overturning a Bureau of Land Management decision to build fencing within the Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA) on the Burnt Creek Allotment in central Idaho’s Pahsimeroi River Watershed. Read the rest of this entry »

Grousing at windmills

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Grousing at windmills | Need to Know | PBS

Perils of Collaboration/Collaboration in Peril ?

Two Contrasting Perspectives on the Collaborative Conservation Model

George Wuerthner continues his thoughtful critique of the collaborative process by illustrating a stark distinction between the act of “collaboration” and the art of “negotiation”:

Perils of Collaboration – George Wuerthner, Counterpunch

Rocky Barker gives voice to the pro-collaborative perspective, suggesting if collaboratives aren’t nourished with passage – their failure may end up fanning the flames of more principled/anti-establishment voices:

Other collaborative processes threatened if Simpson’s bill goes down – Rocky Barker, Letters from the West – Idaho Statesman

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Further evidence of Sixth Great Extinction

Species are vanishing quicker than at any point in the last 65 million years

We often speak of endangered/imperiled species in a relatively local context, in terms of wildlife that we might take for granted or might find nearby,  here that often means the western U.S. of A.  But every once in awhile it helps to learn more about our local situation by considering it within the context of a broader, more generalized perspective.

Globally, species are going extinct at such a rapid pace that many are suggesting that humanity is prompting the Sixth Great Extinction on Earth.

It says a lot about our time and our collective impact/influence.  To me, it also suggests a fundamental urgency with which each of us has a moral obligation to become more aware of and act to preserve the plantlife and wildlife, our local communities of life, that contribute to our unique standard of living in so many ways.

End of Alaotra grebe is further evidence of Sixth Great Extinction – Michael MCcarthy – The Independent

Earth’s Five Great Extinctions

65 million years ago (mya) Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T extinction). Did for the dinosaurs. May have been caused by a meteorite hitting what is now Yucatan, Mexico; 75 per cent of species disappeared.

205 mya Triassic-Jurassic extinction. Did away with competition for the dinosaurs.

251 mya Permian-Triassic (the worst of all). Known as “The Great Dying.” About 96 per cent of marine species and 70 per cent of land species disappeared.

360-375 mya Late Devonian. A prolonged series of extinctions which may have lasted 20 million years.

440-450 mya Ordovidician-Silurian. Two linked events which are considered together to have been the second worst extinction in the list.