Tracking science: Biologist’s findings show forest diversity, health influenced by wolves

Strong evidence that aspen groves are becoming healthier with presence of wolves.

Healthier aspen groves support more bird species, which may in turn help the overall health of forests. One thing mentioned in the article is that the pine beetle infestations seen throughout the west could be impacted with greater diversity and larger populations of birds. This has been well documented in Yellowstone Park, but it is interesting to see it happening in other wolf range too.

Discussion about wolves often focuses on how wolves impact elk populations and behavior and how that affects hunting.  Should wildlife management agencies focus solely on this or should they focus on the ecological benefits of wolves as well?  One could argue that the focus on wolf management is too narrow and that people should look beyond their narrow interests and look at systems as a whole.

Here is another question to ponder.  Can these benefits be realized on public lands impacted by heavy livestock grazing?

Aspen grove with new growth © Ken Cole

Aspen grove with new growth © Ken Cole

“Her findings: Wolves increase biodiversity; wolves affect elk behavior more than elk populations; and aspen growth in elk winter range is directly related to wolves.”

Tracking science: Biologist’s findings show forest diversity, health influenced by wolves. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

Most wolf occupied country, however, shows such a great impact from cattle, it is probably hard to sort out indirect effects of wolves on the vegetation. Cattle eat from half to 90% of the forage on most grazing allotments, leaving little for the elk, deer, pronghorn. As a result, the effect of changed elk behavior due to the wolves will probably be hard to document.

Yellowstone Alga Found To Detoxify Arsenic

Biodiversity anyone?

Yellowstone Alga Found To Detoxify Arsenic
Science Daily

Discovery of 408 New Mammal Species Gives Insight Into Our Dependency on the “Economy of Nature”

408 newly discovered species amount to approximately 10 percent of the known species of mammals

No Joy In Discoveries Of New Mammal Species, Only A Warning For Humanity, Paul Ehrlich SaysScienceDaily

“I think what most people miss is that the human economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the economy of nature, which supplies us from our natural capital a steady flow of income that we can’t do without,” Ehrlich said.

World’s wildlife populations have dropped by 1/4 since 1970s

A sobering idea : The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the worlds wildlife populations have been cut to 3/4 what they were just 3 decades ago :

Wildlife numbers plummet globally : WWF AFP

Local resolve is warranted.

A link to a report is featured on the bottom of the page.