Writer: John W. Cox, MFA
Without reliable knowledge, mixed with experience, people or groups of people cannot effectively protect and maintain our natural resources, wildlife, our terrestrial environments, or restore them when protections fail.
Our public lands, wildlife, and terrestrial ecology remains under attack. All are threatened by habitat fragmentation, invasion of alien species such as cattle and sheep among others, development on their boundaries and within our federal lands themselves, which develops into an unsustainable use – multiple use range, within them all. What is needed is and remains, good science conducted by educated, reliable, and experienced researchers, that is scientifically and data reliable, inclusive of information about all threats to our Natural-Resources in America.
Without reliable knowledge, and information, we cannot effectively protect and maintain neither our Natural Resources, nor our Wild Horses, when needed. I will outline here in synoptic form, and identify 5 major situations that need reliable science and information – not to be confused with special-interest science, questionable conservation science led by specific hunter groups or industrial groups or ranching groups, nor information referred to as science, which is obviously based on beliefs, bias, and opinions only.
There is nothing in nature that is static, as we see much of our research in America paid for by our tax dollars, are often based on beliefs in static, or non-changing isolated landforms, and that no options exist to coincide with change due to presumably, everything remains static – or unchanging.
Applications of quality science and long-term research – as a permanent tool for proper management of our Lands and Wildlife in America . . .
Number 1 – Ecological systems are dynamic. The problem with short-term government science in our ecosystems derive different understandings, when we peruse, for example, five-year studies. They debate issues within their restrained research platform, that long-term research complicates management options – but allows only treatment of causes through ecosystem management, not just treatment of symptoms, such as trying to fix system-dysfunction one species at a time – which is shown us over time, does not work at all. These are what we refer to as short-term management views, based on static and isolated landforms. We see within the Wild Horse research on public lands, by government agencies, of five-year terms – and one month out of each of the 5 years actually on-site – simply does not show us the proper information we need for management of our Wild Horses. One of many examples.
Nevertheless, we find the understanding that comes from sustained research, and eventually over longer periods of time, provides hope for undertaking tasks that will resolve the problems we see daily now, and ecological restoration and sustainability development would, indeed, help build public consensus. In the long term, just as in the geology perspective, looks can be deceiving and our nature and landscape is not static at all, and must be approached as such.
Number 2 – Area landmasses in the United States are not islands, although we can identify some ecological habitats as islands, the term is simply meant to establish the boundaries of each habitat. Understanding this, we find transboundary forces influence ecology habitats and must be identified and addressed to adequately protect these habitats and resources. Ecological research, as evidence, has shown us this to be true. Isolation of our public lands and parks and forests is simply a myth – all are interactive with all of nature, our natural resources, our wildlife, and all else that surrounds all of these habitats.
Number 3 – Knowledge is better than ignorance. A quality scientific process can balance our natural resources, and wildlife, and for example Rewilding – situations, proactively and protectively. There are quality research and science papers out there, that show quality data-gathering and scientifically derived knowledge, can resolve such issues as how much use is possible without ecological impairment, and how large sections of land mass and wildlife, among other natural resources must be to protect system-function and avoid losses from habitat-fragmentation. The answers obtained through this type of knowledge are more effective than those obtained through belief-based advocacy – special-interest science or government science.
Number 4 – Sustained research reveals secrets that short studies never do. Without consistent – long-term data – understandings of the dynamics of echo systems are flawed. Short-term studies show us data becomes unavailable to decision-makers, and for many reasons, including lack of consistent funding, lack of management support for research, and lack of understanding the need for long-term data. Quality science and research illustrate the value of using our lands alongside long-term research, truthful research – not bias generated research – and show how long-term data can improve management decisions. Interesting to note here how our cultural situations, and the need to demand answers right now, or explained within a minute or two as if a commercial, seems to promote short-term research, that basically and simply is not enough data to resolve issues of today.
Number 5 – We also see the need that research must be a cooperative effort. In other words, we find government research, for example on our public lands, and done by government researchers, for example at the BLM or the Department of Interior, we find environmental assessments copied from previous environmental assessments, research papers from research papers decades ago, and only the dates changed. Taxpayers pay for this type of research in the thousands of dollars, as if an original source – which they are not, they are simply plagiarized and copied – names changed to update and coincide with the dates the research supposedly accomplished.
The need for cooperative efforts from many sources becomes obvious and we see many problems arise when research programs are isolated, or nontransparent, or when managers and scientists do not cooperate. It goes without saying further that many of these programs, diversity needed within the science community, are more desirable – and regulatory situations of conduct need to be adhered toward for honesty of the science, as well as peer-reviewed appropriately, by those who have no conflict of interest or future monetary award with those involved in the research or the potential future management of such.
It also goes without saying that all people, within government and the private sector both, should be qualified, and their qualifications checked. This would coincide with their experience as well, as we find those with less experience always seemed to conduct themselves toward career goals that sometimes can neutralize information in favor of working, for example with government or a cooperative associated with large corporations. Frankly myself and others have found this to be a disgusting situation even though dominant, at times, within the research community. And those who lie about their experience, simply do not know what they do not know, and miss the needed information, from data gathering, too interpretation, then to the research paper itself, and appropriate tools need –
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