A vote for conservation...

To: "Birding_Aus" <>
Subject: A vote for conservation...
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2014 15:54:37 +1000
I liked the quotation I've taken from the comments section:
"If ecologists were to include parasites in their thinking, they would realize that it is parasites who manage ecosystems. When the normal predator-prey interrelationships become inadequate, diseases move in and regulate populations." It reminds me of my favourite Indonesian proverb, "If you think you understand the situation: brother, you are obviously misinformed."

This striving for predictive capability of a CSI type certainty is a good thing to strive for but to expect it in something as complex as a mud puddle is a bit rich and in an ecosystem like a tropical rainforest is a nonsense.

One of the take home messages from all these studies for me is that the ecosystem will never be the same as it was (if it ever was). By the parenthesis I mean that we really only think we know what things were like before. We might remember for example that people on the Atherton Tablelands in the 1920's often kept a Cassowary chick in the chook pen but what else was happening in the forest and the chook pen? Tree-roos might once have been rarer in remnants than they are now but was that extra predation on an easy target for a man with a dog and gun? It all makes a very good case for conserving what good habitats we have and the idea of trade offs is a furphy.

best wishes,

Alan's Wildlife Tours
2 Mather Road
Yungaburra 4884

Phone 07 4095 3784
Mobile 0408 953 786
-----Original Message----- From: Peter Shute
Sent: Sunday, April 6, 2014 12:33 PM
To: Sonja Ross
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] A vote for conservation...

That agrees with this quote:
"Questions have also emerged about the well-publicized relationship between wolves and willows. Marshall and two colleagues investigated the controls on willow shrubs by examining ten years’ worth of data from open plots and plots surrounded by cages to keep the elk out. Her team found8<> that the willows were not thriving in all the protected sites. The only plants that grew above 2 metres — beyond the reach of browsing elk — were those in areas where simulated beaver dams had raised the water table."

I.e it may be true that wolves protect willows, but it only helps near water.

Peter Shute

Sent from my iPad

On 6 Apr 2014, at 10:31 am, "Sonja Ross" <<>> wrote:

Hi Peter,

What our guide, Tom Murphy, a photographer who has assisted wildlife productions such as those done by David Attenborough, and who lives not far from the park so is there often, was that elk had eaten down the willows that grow along streams etc which meant for example that there was no food for beavers, nor branches to form their lodges. The willows would probably be a more likely tree to stabilise stream banks than aspen, so maybe the aspen issue is only part of the story.


On 06/04/2014, at 10:20 AM, Peter Shute <<>> wrote:

From that article:
"When Kauffman and his colleagues studied aspen in areas where risk of attack by wolves was high or low, they obtained results different from Ripple’s. Rather than look at the five tallest aspen in each stand, as Ripple had done, they tallied the average tree height and used locations of elk kills to map the risk of wolf attacks. By these measures, they found no differences between trees in high- and low-risk areas."

So some people are getting excited about tree regrowth that might be attributed to the presence of wolves, but others are arguing about whether there's been any regrowth at all.

Anyone else confused?

Peter Shut

Sent from my iPhone

On 4 Apr 2014, at 3:51 pm, "Ross Macfarlane" <<><m("","rmacfarl");">>> wrote:

It's a fascinating narrative, but like most things maybe not as simple as it
sounds -

-----Original Message-----
From: Clive Nealon
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2014 11:19 AM
To: Birding-Aus
Subject: [Birding-Aus] A vote for conservation...

A really interesting short clip on the benefits of wolves in Yellowstone N
Perhaps a lesson that would translate to other areas...

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