February 15, 2014

Something Wonderful: How Wolves Change Rivers

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

HT: The irreplaceable Neatorama

Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 15, 2014 7:48 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Something the man for whom the word "moonbat" was coined said something I can't reflexively condemn. And still the Earth turns from West to East.

Posted by: Mike James at February 15, 2014 8:19 PM

Oh, brother!

The coyotes, lynx, bobcats and cougars backfill any lack of wolf population you have. Wolf comes back, and the whole thing re-sorts.

If deer are so bad, why don't we increase the deer harvest?

So many ways to be-clown this, so little time.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at February 15, 2014 8:24 PM

This is such BS. Wolves have "saved" Yellowstone singlehandedly! This is all part of the humbug that there are "key species" without which, the whole damned environment goes to hell. A major chestnut that the enviro-weenies like to use to try to shut down modern civilization.

The increase in elk herds was due to the increase in grazing lands that occurred after the big fires of 1988. All the grazing herds increased except for the moose.(No one knows exactly why because the coverage of Aspen and willows increased.) As the trees recovered the grazing area decreased. The explosion in grazing populations soon outstripped the food supply. The Park was carrying too many elk, bison, and deer. The grasses and bushes were being overgrazed. The situation would have resolved itself naturally through starvation and decreased live births without the introduction of wolves. Eventually the herds would have died back to match the food source.

The wolves were introduced in 1995. There was good hunting available for them and the packs flourished. The deer and elk decreased through both wolf hunting and starvation. This helped match the deer and elk herds up to the available grazing land. The wolves helped, but were not the main mover in restoring the balance.

As the burned areas healed the river banks stabilized and more areas of the Park became habitable by other mammals and birds. It was primarily a natural process that would have happened with or without the wolf packs.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at February 15, 2014 8:58 PM

Muir was an idiot. If everything were, in fact, connected, science and engineering would be impossible. And he doesn't mean "quantum entanglement."

Jimmy is also right. There are no "keystone species." This is an ecologism superstition.

Environmentalists like Muir were/are part of the Romantic reaction against the Enlightenment. They are explicitly anti-reason and anti-sciene and are all about feeling and intuition. They speak in pseudo-scientific verbiage but they are appalled by actual science.

Posted by: bob sykes at February 16, 2014 3:58 AM

He is a global warmenist, so no surprise at the sweeping conclusions from a relatively short time frame while ignoring historical data and context.

Posted by: Daran at February 16, 2014 5:15 AM

The height of the trees multiplied by four??? since 1995???

Posted by: bgarrett at February 16, 2014 5:48 AM

oops, quintupled is FIVE times taller. How is this guy measuring?

Posted by: bgarrett at February 16, 2014 5:51 AM

This is such bullshit! Our Brit narrator has probably never seen baby bambi torn to pieces by wolves or chased to exhaustion so the deer cannot mate. Deer or bison eaten alive to him is "wonderful, interesting, nature at work". A line from The Thin Red Line: "Look at the vines crushing the life out of the trees. Nature is cruel Starls." That's why we invented civilization.

Posted by: Alex at February 16, 2014 6:29 AM

It's a fairy tale.

As others have noted, there is much more going on in and around Yellowstone, some may be due to the reintroduction of wolves, but most is coincidental.

Posted by: ThomasD at February 16, 2014 6:35 AM

Why does this buffoon keep calling Elk deer? These wolves are not the native specie but are the Canadian Grey Wolf. The Native specie wolf, the Rocky Mountain, was an animal that weighed about 45-60 pounds and hunted alone. The Canadian Grey weighs about 180 pounds and hunts as a pack. They are known to decimate whole herds of elk or deer, killing for the sake of killing, leaving their prey as rotting carcasses.

Posted by: RevIdahoSpud at February 16, 2014 6:40 AM

Once again, the Faux News, Drudge Retard, teahadist, lupo-phobic, denier crowd is throwing one of its tantrums. Get it thru your thick skulls; Wolf Change is settled science!!!!!

Posted by: Callmelennie at February 16, 2014 6:51 AM

Still, the man has a point, guys. The wolves were hunted to extinction in the park for the same reason that fires were suppressed for so long: because they were "bad".

The park's present managers now at least have some humility, and understand that they don't know everything. They now know that it may be best to let nature take its course, as it did prior to 1900, when the park was a "crown jewel" that was to be preserved. They now know that intervention, however well-intentioned, will likely turn the park into a mess, as it was in the '80s, thanks to the "preservationists" and their failed diktats. Good intentions, roads to Hell, and all that, y'know?

I am second to none in disdain for the eco-freaks. But even stopped clocks are right twice a day.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's Democratic Republic of Maryland

Posted by: Hale Adams at February 16, 2014 7:02 AM

A modest proposal: let the wolves loose on affluent children in order to reverse global warming.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at February 16, 2014 7:31 AM

Yaaay!!!!

Callmelennie is back, with every cliche buzzword he could remember from his latest workshop at KPFA.

It's settled science!

Posted by: Rob De Witt at February 16, 2014 8:44 AM

Gosh Lennie, you have anything to contribute to the discussion besides name-calling?

Posted by: Dave at February 16, 2014 9:05 AM

While the case made for wolves' impact on rivers, in that little film, may be exaggerated, denying the symbiotic relationships between the various wildlife in Yellowstone, and the impacts these relationships have on the natural environment as a whole, would be foolish.

I wade many rivers and streams, and let me tell you, that when just 1 old tree tumbles into the river, a major change comes over that area of the river. Fish find that fallen tree almost immediately, and take up residence. And within a couple of weeks, both the upstream and downstream make of the river changes. Sometimes quite dramatically.

Why does this buffoon keep calling Elk deer?

Well, RevIdahoSpud, possibly because the elk is a member of the deer family.

Posted by: John Venlet at February 16, 2014 9:37 AM

Just one other thing Bob ... I was being sarcastic; although I appreciate that it's getting more and more difficult to tell the difference between reality and satire when it comes to proggs

Posted by: Callmelennie at February 16, 2014 11:13 AM

Lennie,

You absolutely nailed it - " it's getting more and more difficult to tell the difference between reality and satire when it comes to proggs"

Ya fooled me. And it's Rob.

Good ta meetcha.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at February 16, 2014 12:13 PM

Well John V, Buffalo and Cattle, Lions and Tigers all the same family as well but they are not the same animal. Elk are not deer.

Posted by: RevIdahoSpud at February 16, 2014 6:18 PM

Coming from country roots, I am prejudiced against wolves. If you have chickens----, wolves, foxes, racoons etc are predators.
(Also not into zombies, werewolves or vampires)


Posted by: grace at February 16, 2014 8:41 PM

Elk are not deer.

That may be accurate for you and I, RevIdahoSpud, when referring to that animal, but not all people. Some folks refer to the moose as an "elk," or call a can of coke a pop, while some will say soda, or a drinking fountain as a bubbler. This doesn't necessarily mean they're buffoons.

Posted by: John Venlet at February 17, 2014 4:31 AM

Some good insights taken to absurd lengths. Just like the man made global warming crowd. Take an observation and distort it to the ridiculous.

Posted by: Gary at February 17, 2014 7:02 AM

Some good insights taken to absurd lengths. Just like the man made global warming crowd. Take an observation and distort it to the ridiculous.

Posted by: Gary at February 17, 2014 7:03 AM

Gerard, Did you post this just to get these comments. So many maroons, so little time.

Posted by: John at February 17, 2014 9:17 PM

For those who doubt how complex everything is and how tied together everything is and how little we really understand it all, below is a link to a lecture by Michael Crichton on the environment and complexity science.
I am a doubter on "all the wolves did" but I do not underestimate how little we know. Kudos to Van and MC.
http://www.independent.org/events/transcript.asp?id=111

Posted by: RileyD, nwJ at February 18, 2014 4:07 AM

I think that wolves are not the "keystone" species, but one of many speices needed for balance. If you kill all the elk, then wolves will decline and plant life will surge to new levels. Buffalo will decline because wolves and bear will kill more of them. If we want a National Park that is just an elk farm -- with the starvation and impacts onplant life that comes with it, then so be it -- kill all the wolves again. If we want a natural ecosystem in a national park, wolves -- along with many other speices are needed. Common sense.

Posted by: RJ at February 18, 2014 8:01 AM

I think that wolves are not the "keystone" species, but one of many speices needed for balance. If you kill all the elk, then wolves will decline and plant life will surge to new levels. Buffalo will decline because wolves and bear will kill more of them. If we want a National Park that is just an elk farm -- with the starvation and impacts onplant life that comes with it, then so be it -- kill all the wolves again. If we want a natural ecosystem in a national park, wolves -- along with many other speices are needed. Common sense.

Posted by: RJ at February 18, 2014 8:01 AM

I think that wolves are not the "keystone" species, but one of many speices needed for balance. If you kill all the elk, then wolves will decline and plant life will surge to new levels. Buffalo will decline because wolves and bear will kill more of them. If we want a National Park that is just an elk farm -- with the starvation and impacts onplant life that comes with it, then so be it -- kill all the wolves again. If we want a natural ecosystem in a national park, wolves -- along with many other speices are needed. Common sense.

Posted by: RJ at February 18, 2014 8:02 AM

I think that wolves are not the "keystone" species, but one of many speices needed for balance. If you kill all the elk, then wolves will decline and plant life will surge to new levels. Buffalo will decline because wolves and bear will kill more of them. If we want a National Park that is just an elk farm -- with the starvation and impacts onplant life that comes with it, then so be it -- kill all the wolves again. If we want a natural ecosystem in a national park, wolves -- along with many other speices are needed. Common sense.

Posted by: RJ at February 18, 2014 8:03 AM

I think that wolves are not the "keystone" species, but one of many speices needed for balance. If you kill all the elk, then wolves will decline and plant life will surge to new levels. Buffalo will decline because wolves and bear will kill more of them. If we want a National Park that is just an elk farm -- with the starvation and impacts onplant life that comes with it, then so be it -- kill all the wolves again. If we want a natural ecosystem in a national park, wolves -- along with many other speices are needed. Common sense.

Posted by: RJ at February 18, 2014 8:03 AM

"Elk are not deer."

Deer is the common term for the entire family of cervidae.

Just as cat is the common term for all members of the family felidae.

So yes, elk are (a type of) deer. Unless you wish to insist that a lion is not a cat.

The narrator may have been largely speaking of elk, and that was the only cervid shown in the accompanying video. But there are whitetails and mule deer present in Yellowstone, and the wolves would have been exerting largely the same impact on them as well.


Posted by: ThomasD at February 18, 2014 10:08 AM

Nature is resilient. Look at how Chernobyl regenerates.

Posted by: markus at February 18, 2014 10:02 PM

BS. A Grey Wolf is not 180 lbs. The adult is 45 Kilos or 99 lbs. A verifiable Fact.

Posted by: B at February 23, 2014 10:22 PM

I have always supported the wolf sanctuaries in my state

Posted by: Gail at April 3, 2014 7:33 PM
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