Ecosystems that provide the services

I often talk about animals that provide ecosystem services to humans. But there are ecosystems that provides the service, namely flood prevention. These include wetlands, like those pictured above, and beach forests like those that helped mitigate Hurricane Sandy.

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Fossil hunting

Fossils of Nebraska and South Dakota

Sometimes I go into rock shops to look at the fossils for sale, and I wonder how many are obtained from public lands illegally. Fossils and rocks have a long history of being stripped from public lands. I find myself muttering to myself like Indiana Jones, “it belongs in a museum.” In the time alone that I lived in Oregon, 1998-2012, Newberry National Monument (no relation)’s dormant volcano was stripped of the vast field of obsidian that greeted me on my first visit. All that was left was pumice on my second visit in 2012.

Sharks in the news

Let’s compare stories.

First we have this story.

Then we have this one.

The bottom one lacks the hyperbole or affectation that other news outlets have chosen. Simply understanding shark behavior and calmly assessing the risks of shark presence at beaches seems the best course. Heck, even Peter Benchley regrets the hysteria his work, Jaws, caused and spent much of his latter life working toward shark conservation.

Yet another impact of climate change

Decades ago, we banned the use of DDT as a pesticide, and freed from the substance’s ability to thin shells, many raptor species’ populations rebounded. Now we have a new problem. Newly healthy populations of Peregrine Falcons are now expanding their range as upper latitudes warm. And we are learning that the cold-adapted Gyrfalcons have nowhere to go and can’t compete with the faster Peregrines.