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Wildlife Word of the Day 10-26-2010

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology,

but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.

Aldo Leopold

Last time I defined ecosystem managementt which addresses management on a spatial scale and addresses the ecosystem from the individual forest to landscapes. The next word that has surfaced in this drive to learn is ecology.

First I would like to note that I believe with time (even in science) it is necessary for the definition to change only as our understanding of a subject grows. It is quite possible that a words definition won’t change at all but just in case, lol. Ecology is a word that has escaped evolution. After reading from several timeless sources, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two working definitions for ecology.

One definition is defined by Eugene Odum (1913-2002), a leading ecologist, as the study of the structure and function of nature. He goes on to explain that ecology  “primarily concerned with the latter four levels” referring to populations, communities, ecosystems and the biosphere. What’s great is that this definition does not exclude the individual organism though it does not seem entirely inclusive either. The second definition addresses the individual organism directly and defines ecology as “the study of the interrelationship among plants and animals and the interactions between living organisms and their physical environments.(Turk)” You may wonder why I singled out the individual organism. Well, from my own observations (though few they have been) organismal ecology is important because all species do not herd or live in families.  There are species in each family which deny the approach shared by the first definition.

I really enjoy this definition by Brainerd of “ecology is the study of how everything fits (assuming that it does)”. It is such a broad definition that I’m almost certain that it is no longer considered by many. The reason is that the definition covers how things fit but not why they fit or why they (ecosystems, communities, populations, organisms, biosphere) are structured the way they are (remember earlier when I mentioned that words evolve?) So though ecology is “particular concerned with groups of organisms (McNaughton) it cannot eliminate consideration for the individual organism.

 

Works Cited (Journal of Wildlife Management Citation guidelines)

Brainerd, J. 1971. Nature study for conservation. The MacMillian Company.

Leopold, A. 1966. A sand county almanac. Oxford University Press.

McNaughton,  S.J. and L. Wolf. 1973. General ecology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Inc.

Odum, E. 1963. Ecology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Inc.

Turk, J., J. Wittes, R. Wittes, and A. Turk. 1975. Ecosystems, energy, population. W.B. Saunders & Company.

Disclaimer: My thoughts on this article are solely my own as an entry-level professional. My purpose for posts like these are to learn. I expect that in some years some of my views in this blog (and any others) will be changed by an increased experience in the field. I think that it helps to see how I grow through time in my writings and knowledge (much like when you view drawings from when you’re a kid versus as an adult).

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Wildlife Word of the Day 10-3-2010

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

The first wildlife word ever for this blog will be presented today. The reason why I chose this word was so that I can use it as the foundation for all the terms that will come after. I don’t know a lot about this word outside of its definition however that’s the point of choosing it as the foundation: to learn more by correcting any misunderstandings and reinforcing established knowledge.

Ready?

Ecosystem Management. This term reflects my current philosophy about wildlife management. I don’t believe this approach should be universal but in an increasingly fragmented world understanding how to manage entire ecosystems  for multiple species – many which are endangered – is imperative.

The only material that I have within my grasp which defines ecosystem management is the Wildlife Society’s text “Techniques for Wildlife Investigations and Management”.

Ecosystem Management is a concept for conservation of forest wildlife because it is concerned with more than a single species and addresses a range of spatial scales from the individual forest stands to landscapes. It views a forest as an interactive systems of plants, animals, soil, water and climate. Ecosystem management applied to forests also includes consideration of values such as safeguarding its biodiversity and ecological sustainability.”

By far, I am a big picture type of person. I don’t want to know just a portion of a story; I have to have everything. Ecosystem management helps me take on that big picture. With nature it is not just wildlife, insects, vegetation or soils that professionals interact with. Our biggest subject are people who affect management from the North to the South Pole (Ice + Climate change = Problems for Emperor Penguins).

It is because of the human factor that I have a high interest in human dimensions of wildlife management. Conflict with wildlife is inevitable but our realization that eradicating wildlife to further our own existence is a crazed ideal at best. The ramifications would be far too disastrous.

So with every new word I intend to define the word and explain its importance to ecosystem management. I intend to use texts that I own and the internet as much as possible to find new revelations of this term. I hope that you enjoy this journey with me as much as I will. Feel free to recommend readings; I enjoy a good read.