When a diversity within habitats, as large islands of an ecological zone, various wildlife and vegetation species populations tend to be much larger. This does not create an open-door policy to cattle at all — a non-indigenous and extremely destructive species, and those that manage them have not acquired a means to live with both our natural resources nor our wildlife. Cattle are not adaptive, as good science and data gathering show quite well.
Ironically, some advocate organizations that claim to enhance wildlife population, with birth controls and castration techniques, many of us find their methodology inept at best. Even more ironic, we see them going to court, defending such wayward and corrupt government agencies as the Bureau of Land Management, with their inept, and certainly very unknowledgeable claims toward biology.
The fact is biology does not have anything to do with their PZP, castration, or any other wayward and corrupt technology they support. Sustainability, diversification, and natural occurrence, which costs nothing, has been shown over centuries, to work well with wildlife populations – as long as the human species leave some of these types of ecological zones alone.
In truth, many notable research biologists, among many other scientists, have found extinction rates to be affected by the kind, quality, and diversity of available habitats. . . Rates of succession and natural disturbance also play a role.
Islands within Land-Mass
These islands we speak of, others as well as myself conclude, are not just theoretical space, an abstraction, or a passing thought. No. They exist. Within history, as Leopold and the Craighead’s pointed out within many of their papers and research, when comparing reserves to islands, the issues grew, resolutions started to appear, and ironic again, complex within each separate island, unique characteristics often ignored over the years were, and always had been, part of the obvious solutions.
Of concern for the wild horses on our Public Lands and Forestry Lands? I have already discussed in previous articles, 1) Genetic uncertainties’; 2) Demographic uncertainties’; 3) Environmental uncertainties’; 4) Catastrophic uncertainties’. . .
These are all interactive, and make it near impossible to plan intent, or resolve problems with a mere one or two types of pretend resolutions, based on false statistics’, or just plain ignorant mind-sets (e.g. Pesticide PZP, castration combined with roundups = extinction, which is to be avoided always) . . .
What we are seeing today, and a lot of it, is many people simply do not understand the term, or the obvious seriousness, of species extinction. Ignorance plays a role in their lack of knowledge, and troubling to many is the fact these same people want to remain ignorant, seeing no reason to learn much of anything about resolving issues that lead to extinction of our wildlife, and within this context, the wild horses.
For example, an Environmental uncertainty could reduce the wild horse populations (already low and over-population simply a hypothetic-untruth, with no evidence to back it up) of numerous stallions, and only very few mares. This could, as shown in many studies over the decades within other wildlife and I see no difference here, can lead to inbreeding (i.e. Genetic uncertainty), which leads to few viable offspring, and this can lead directly to extinction.
True enough, the four stochastic processes difficult to model and their magnitude of effect on population dynamics increases as populations become smaller. Keep in mind, because so many are misleading the public right now; a viable population is one that maintains a vigor of health, and the potential for future evolutionary adaptation. Populations face increasing risks, currently not just the wild horses, but also bear, cougar, wolves, among many others, face increasing risks due to population declines. This is a responsible biological fact. Apparently, an ignored truism, from those who are paid salaries and thru donations, both government agencies and non-profits alike, to uphold – THE BIOLOGICAL TRUTH!
Viability and Truth
So, allow me to delve right into facts – truth that shines light on all the other nonsense out there, within both government agencies as well as some advocate groups that appeal toward money over ethics – that appeal toward greed over wild horse’s lives – We want the wild horses to win, but not only win, but survive this current onslaught of human ignorance, and to become viable again, while it is still possible. . . and be the true-icons and a source of our past, America’s past, that is not myth –
The very basis of viability, or genetical makeup, was first mentioned by Otto Frankel, Biologist in 1974. He noted that,
“. . . the prime parameters for continuing evolution (i.e. of a species) were the size of viable populations and the size of nature reserves;
Because the genes are the basis of an individual’s ability to track environmental change, there was a belief that some “genetic basement” number existed below which a population could not persist for very long;
Finally, there was a relative wealth of data on the effects of inbreeding and loss of heterozygosity from small populations bred in captivity. . .”
Wild Horses and Effects of . . .
Inbreeding in the wilds generates a downward spiral of reproduction, and survival rates go down. In reality, the wildlife species, in this case wild horses on Public and Forestry Lands, bear fewer total young, and the survival rate of those who do survive is less and less, over time. Bottom line: Heterozygosity develops.
This is where the genes on paired chromosomes are different at one or more locations, which increases genetic variety. Although, and as with the wild horses currently, when heterozygosity is lost, an individuals ability to handle environmental stress is reduced and the mortality rate of the population increases – the population loses ground, eventually lost = extinct!
Rather than further discussion on genetics, which could take a few articles to cover, allow me to jump over to HMA’s, or Horse Management Areas. Once again, we find falsehoods, in establishing these HMA’s – which was not in the original WH&B Act of 1971. In truth, what I discuss here is those smaller areas, or what is referred to as “minimum dynamic areas” or referenced in research as the “smallest area with a natural disturbance regime which maintains internal recolonization sources, and hence minimizes extinctions.”
The thoughts here promote the ideology that reserves of a smaller size would always be able to replenish themselves from areas inside their boundaries that have not been burned, blown down, flooded, or otherwise disturbed in some way. In another word, they can “manage themselves” into the future.
Within this scope of perception, we begin to understand why the BLM and the Forestry, although incompetently as usual, created the HMA, as a catch-all phrase only, under false premise. Their mind-set of ecological zones, or in this case HMA’s, simply do not provide a circumstance within an “area paradigm” of conclusive benefit to wildlife; as the buffer-zones, the roadway disturbance, ranching disturbance, and other influences compete with the actual area of a “livable-viable” producing ecological-zone habitat. Yes, we have a conundrum of happenstance.
These zones of habitat, supposedly to protect the wild horses, due to size and area parameters, do not fit within any paradigm where a “livable-zone” of protection exists, or what is termed a “centralized-wilderness-habitat” landscape. Then add cattle, and the destructive influence, or disturbance, becomes ten-fold.
This is all under the guise of “Multi-Use Public and Federal Lands” ideology – in reality, this particular ideology sacrifices our wildlife for domestic breeds or species to enhance production, due to the “raw-materials” available that enhance production levels, where the resources of this “raw-material” equates to — use it up and get out. . . then move onward to other areas of raw-material, which, does increase profit margins, while destroying our ecological zones exponentially, which are becoming fewer as time goes on. This is yet another obvious reason one cannot fight the corrupt BLM / Forestry from inside the corruption, as their terms of what an environmental landscape is, and what the reality is, are two complete different circumstances.
But how large can a “minimum dynamic area” be? To shed light on this circumstance we can note ideological grounds, for example, of past research into grizzly’s (the Craighead’s and others we watched on television for so many years on Mutual of Omaha’s nature programs, when we were young – never missed it – as well as other nature programming at that time discussing what I am writing here as well) which more than showed us all the necessity of an area and the need to offset the effects of genetic destruction, demographic problems, environmental uncertainties, and other situations of disturbance prohibiting area usage.
I am in the camp of those who maintain a truth, developed from facts of research and good data-gathering from past observations and research, and well referenced – that the “quasi-equilibrium” areas being fifty to one hundred times larger than the largest known disturbance patch in the region.
Wildlife and Reserves
Most animals do not range widely, plant species move slowly, and disturbances do not usually consume regional landscapes (i.e. fires and hurricanes are the anomaly, but cannot be left out of the disturbance ratios). Still, small reserves if isolated and surrounded by unsuitable habitat, will have problems with population of ecosystem viability – we can encapsulate wild horses being placed onto private reserves as well, as being unviable in total . . .
If landscapes are patterned by natural disturbances, most private landscapes are, or, where PZP or other birth controls are given, then thought should be given to whether or not the situation should even take place. Artificial landscapes are just that, and for the weak of mind, if they assume resolution for a species will develop to such a proportion as to assume any viability of growth patterns to increase at all, of the wild horses, for example; or, any long-term growth in viability will take place at all. Therefore, we can exclude privatization of our wild horses, and acknowledge viability is simply gone once the wild horses taken out of their natural habitat of wilderness areas.
So where does good science, good data gathering, sound observations, and the ability to decipher all of these situations into a positive impact on wild horse viability? I think two obvious approaches exist:
- Manage environmental landscapes as a whole, and actually use truthful viable-population research (gee, what a concept, to tell the truth, or it even has to be said) studies combined with research within minimum dynamic areas;
- Protect what native habitats remain by connecting them.
The North Cascades is a good example of connecting habitats, but soon we will lose that as well, if we do not pay attention, close attention.
Politics, wayward non-profits, hunter-trapper-government agency ignorant and bigot mind-sets, are all inclusive of what the enemy is today, and against wildlife and nature; therefore, we have problems with the concepts of a greater ecosystem, or connecting environmental landscapes to one another.
False perceptions, misguided information, and a vast amount of heavily populated groups (often larger is not better when it comes to larger groups and attempting to coordinate decisions from within them, and as one famous psychologist has portrayed large groups of people, “. . . the larger the group, the more stupid they get. . .”).
Keep in mind that the scientific definition of an ecosystem, the interrelationship between species and their environment, is scale-neutral. The setting, and actual decision-making complex, of specific ecosystem boundaries depends on the question being asked, the particular species present, and the natural disturbances in operation.
One of the problems with the wild horse ecosystem or viable habitat, is that ecosystems are not self-evident – often within the general public, confusion follows, and we have the situation of wild horses going to slaughter, and other very abusive situations in the matters of the wild horses on Public and Federal Lands – and their management. Yes, we see a lot of ignorance, that is for sure.
From the outset, one must make clear what is to be protected, and what is meant by “representative” natural disturbance patterns, ecosystem type of circumstance required, or home range, must be well defined . . . The BLM nor the Forestry, nor many non-profits, have made these evident, and thereby, the confusion. But worse, the door opens to very ignorant decisions (the WH&B Board simply resolving the wild horse problem via hatred, bigotry, and blatant ignorance – with their “. . . Let’s kill them all (i.e. the wild horses) attitude), made not by knowledge, but by the profit to be obtained, or the priority of special interests (which also equates to ignorance at a very definable level) – and lie upon lie follows. Research and field data becomes nothing more than the exception rather than the rule.
Biological corridors is the future for protecting biodiversity, and establishes priorities toward a conservation strategy that will become of great significance to both wildlife and human-kind as well. Ya know, the human species is not exempt, as many would like to assume, from self-destruction.
Many groups, and researchers and scientists alike, announce laws, design models, predict what an individual atom or person is supposed to do; and now, increasingly, those same people are beginning to admit, confess to one another that is, that the world never quite behaves the way it is supposed to do.
Yes, our Universe and Mother Nature a vast situation, that we are still trying to figure out. One thing is for sure, destroying it, and we figure out nothing, except what nature is like when we destroy parts of it, and our adapting to that — simply leads to more confusion about nature overall.
Cohabitating with nature may be as simplistic as just sitting down, shutting the hell up and stop forcing perspectives into others minds, and watch as our Universe unfolds, and tells us the truth – Our Universe, really, hides nothing from us, at all. We, indeed, try to hide from the truth of it all.
References upon request . . .
February 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm
“Managing for Extinction”
Read it here for FREE.
Click to access AWI-WL-ManagingforExtinction-2011.pdf