In far-West Texas, a coalition of government agencies, agricultural universities and conservation organizations has decreed that on public lands more than half of the species pictured below should be severely reduced or removed altogether to help bighorn, pronghorn and deer. The coalition claims that all “exotics” and many “natives” including most predators “harm” favored species through “competition” and “invasion” and thereby cause “biosystem harm.”
These beliefs reflect the fundamental disagreement between Big Wildlife and holistic thinkers such as Aldo Leopold over this question: In nature, do multiple species including predators “compete” with or complement other species and the system in general?
A basic principle of holism is that biodiversity works because animal and plant species generally are complementary and interdependent. Our experience at Circle Ranch confirms this. Long before agricultural degrees, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, farmers had no choice but to work with nature, using holistic practices which respect this reality.
Modern industrial agriculture seeks to replace natural functions with artificial fertilizers and poisons. The agro-giants have imposed their industrial mentality on the agricultural and wildlife curriculums of the land grant colleges, which have taught three generations of graduates to think that sheep, deer etc. can be grown like soybeans: identify your goals, manipulate the plant or animal’s genetics, feed it artificially, and kill its “competition” using guns or poisons. It is wildlife “management” by these practices, not the biodiversity pictured below that is harming wildlife and habitat.
VIDEOS: (To view full screen, first click arrow at upper right corner)
Quail 1: (Note that these scaled quail are using water, picking through the cow patties and posting sentries in the cholla).