Monthly Archives: February 2023

Framework for Logical and Truthful Scientific Research and Tools for Natural Resource Management

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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Posted by on February 6, 2023 in Uncategorized


Notes From the Field: Belief-Based Science versus Fact Based Science with Evidence

John W. Cox MFA

Nature is a dynamic situation from day to day. Nature shows us, in particular those of us that are in the field daily or weekly and dealing with wildlife as well as terrestrial ecology, the way it interacts with one another. Many of us realized from the beginning that conflicts exist between belief-based-knowledge bias and experience-based-knowledge.

What we see in the field over the years, is an undisputed truth – that ecology habitats are not static, isolated, or independent landscapes. What most of us have seen is the fact these habitats are dynamic, integrated with larger landscapes, and certainly – beyond a doubt – affected negatively by human activity.

These “affects” generated by humans, DOI/BLM mostly, are nothing more than a captured indulgence of negative values, or twisting the term sustainability, awkwardly, at best. Their bias-perception, in government, favors management of wildlife and natural resources – and it should always be managed by human-manipulation. Their belief extends to, “. . . nature then, will survive, sustainable to infinity.”

Our government, i.e. a good example being the DOI/BLM Grazing Permit Program ($521-Billion in the past 20 years in subsides) awkwardly failing at every level, i.e. in reality, a Natural Resource Management and Business Management occasion that simply does not work; although, it is government management that keeps believing it will work out, and one day there would be no more conflicts and nature would survive, magically doing so . . .  As nothing else was placed into this myth, other than sever illusions of it working, eventually.

As crude as this sounds, this pretty much sums up the belief-base-bias, ironically, that we place so much significance upon, to resolve this nature–human conflict, accordingly . . . And oh yes, many bad-business and ranching people subsidized (why it is referred to as Welfare Ranching) and become very rich from the Grazing Permit Program. In truth, it is nothing more than “welfare” tagged as a subsidy – and many are members of the same church – coincidence?

Two immediate examples stand out in the world of Wild Horses and Public Lands, where management remains forced upon our natural environment through belief-based-bias, rather than reality. Evidence? The overpopulation of Wild Horses on Public Lands lies, based on belief and bias more than reality – and consummated by the belief-bias, these managers know, the over-population does not exist, yet force it on to the public as knowledgeable information – even though science and math obviously show us much different facts, as well as ignored evidence and laws.

We need-not go back very far in history to see that government, with their all-consuming ignorance, (i.e. inadequately suppressed fires also, but not in this conversation) removed wolves and coyotes from their natural settings. They say, “. . . to support the forests and the “good” game animals’ management paradigms – such as elk and deer; yet in reality, not factual-based science either, but bias as well, and supported by opinion rather than objective science and truthful data.

 According to those in government, managers of our natural resources and wildlife, it was logical to remove “bad influences” from government lands; which, many folks, both government and the average hunter, still believe this bias-motive, to control things $$$$, whether or not “bad or worse-yet” case scenarios blatantly exist, consistently show us how absolutely “wrong” it is (similar to many wild horse advocates, supposing they have to pick one bad non-profit opinion-based = One Option Fits All” as a resolution, when the solutions they speak-of, in truth, fixes nothing at all $$$$). This equates to a profound-ignorance that is based entirely upon bias, and simply does not work – never has done so, as evidenced by history and the current destruction of the governments Single-Use of industry on Public Lands, and to hell with anything else – and oh yes, call it sustainability . . . and refer to it as Multi-Use of America’s Public Lands.

Even though progress went from the early nineteen twenties and thirties all the way to the nineteen seventies and early eighties, toward better management – wildlife resolution, the DOI BLM neglected to pay attention. Little progress was made to move away from perceived notions of right and wrong in the matters of wildlife management, and to this day ignores science and ecology – with harmful effects to our natural resources and our Public Lands.

How profound is this ignorance I speak of here? Their god is developed by humankind in the form of pesticides, herbicides, and crude management principles, both wildlife and terrestrial, that promote belief-system-bias, rather than science, nor use facts and evidence. As one BLM Dir. we watched from afar on a video, announced his education and degrees proudly. He then followed up with some of the most blatant bias, ignorance, and outright lies, about wildlife and Wild Horses on our Public Lands one could ever imagine – All the while, ironically, backing the comments with his commitment to his degrees from college – as if everything was okay, as he received degrees, and upon that alone, his declaration to everything he said was some type of truth. One cannot make this type of hypocrisy or ignorance up, at all –

Many of us walked away from the video, after hearing enough belligerent and ignorant bias, shaking our heads and pondered the situation – and realized, this person in the video either did not see the things that were to his front in real time; or, was simply a very corrupt government employee, a criminal, with a college education. And this is the normal situation we deal with when dealing with DOI/BLM mentality (using the term loosely here) and management.

As Americans concerned with our Public Lands, precisely the bogus management of our Public Lands that we see daily now, we understand the need for a couple of very significant situations, in order to generate, or even appeal toward sustainability of our natural resources. A belief-based bias toward management of our nation’s wildlife and lands, quite frankly, destroys everything.

Here we envision a long-term management paradigm, that is based on adequate understanding of sound Ecological Habitat and system functions, that will prevail over belief-based-bias and ignorance. We realize we can reach sustainability 100% from consistent research of a quality that is required now, rather than ignored. We need to accept the paradigm shift from belief-based rhetoric to science-based natural resource management.


Posted by on February 5, 2023 in Uncategorized