Interested in Whales? With anthropologist and Arctic Explorer John Bockstoce, I did research on Bowhead whales using logbooks from Yankee whaling ships hunting that species from 1849 to 1915. We learned each year how many whales were caught and how the bowhead whale population changed over that time. We also were able to compare where the Yankee whalers saw the sea ice southern … [Read more...]
How Many Grizzly Bears Were There Before European Settlement of the West, and How Many Are There Now?
I tried to estimate how many grizzly bears there were at the beginning of the 19th century and how many there are today. I wrote about this in my book, Beyond the Stony Mountains: Nature in the American West from Lewis and Clark to Today (available 2012 as an ebook, New York, Croton River Publishers; Originally published in 2004 by Oxford University Press, N.Y. ) Here is … [Read more...]
Morph The Moose
A New Symbol For Our Times!As the summer wildfire season approaches, we need to rethink how we manage forest fires. It is time to say goodbye to Smokey Bear, because suppressing all fires leads eventually to very large, intense, and disastrous fires. Most forests in the United States used to burn relatively frequently before European settlement. These were the result … [Read more...]
An Environmental Success Story: Saving Mono Lake
Mono Lake, salty and alkaline and California’s second-largest lake, became the center of controversy in the 1970s. It supported the world’s second-largest breeding colony of California gulls and was habitat to other bird species. Mono Lake was also beautiful, a large open body of water in desert landscape below the east slope of the Sierra Nevada, its shores lined in place with … [Read more...]
Excerpts from Forecasting the Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity
by Daniel B. Botkin, Henrik Saxe, Miguel B. Araújo, Richard Betts, Richard H. W. Bradshaw, Tomas Cedhagen, Peter Chesson, Terry P. Dawson, Julie R. Etterson, Daniel P. Faith, Simon Ferrier, Antoine Guisan, Anja Skjoldborg Hansen, David W. Hilbert, Craig Loehle, Chris Margules, Mark New, Matthew J. Sobel, And David R. B. Stockwell. Published in BioScience 57(3): … [Read more...]
Will Global Warming Cause the Extinction of Many Species?
The March, 2007, issue of the scientific journal, BioScience, has a new article by Daniel B. Botkin and colleagues titled Forecasting Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity.The news release from this journal's parent organization, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, writes that "current mathematical models indicate that many species could be at risk from … [Read more...]
Jim Welter, Fisherman, Country Philosopher, and Natural Scientist
Jim Welter lives in Brookings, Oregon, where he has spent his life as a fisherman. I first met Jim when he was in his eighties and blind in one eye — a wiry, thin, smallish man. He came to an open public meeting I ran for fishermen and fishing guides, which was part of a study I was doing for the state of Oregon about the relative effects of forest practices on salmon. I … [Read more...]
On Being Just the Right Size
Is it just chance that people are about two meters tall, or is it a result of laws of nature?Life comes in many sizes. The smallest creatures are bacteria. The smallest of these are about one millionth of a meter long and half that wide, and weigh less than a billionth of a billionth of a kilogram. The longest and widest creature is a surprise -- not an elephant, not a … [Read more...]