Desert Habitat Restoration: Opposing Assumptions about Wildlife Biodiversity

Pictured below are 10 species of animals photographed in our mountains at Circle Ranch during Spring 2015.  Conventional wildlife “management” says six of these species should be removed as they are assumed to “harm” desert bighorn sheep, desert mule deer, pronghorn and their habitat.

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CLICK HERE FOR 75 PHOTOS:

Diablo Peak: Aoudad, Bighorn (with Lambs), Mule Deer and Eagles

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CLICK HERE FOR 13 PHOTOS

Bezos Ranch Overlook:  Bighorn & Lambs, Golden Eagles, Mule Deer

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CLICK HERE FOR 9 PHOTOS

Fence-line at Bean Ranch/Sierra Diablo WMA:  Javelina, Elk, Aoudad, Golden Eagles

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CLICK HERE FOR 26 PHOTOS

2-Section Rim:  Aoudad, Javelina, Mule Deer, Elk

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2-Section Valley: Javelina

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CLICK HERE FOR 19 PHOTOS

Lower Escarpment Above Box Canyon: Bighorn, Rams Fighting, Llamas, Mule Deer, Pronghorn

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CLICK HERE FOR 40 PHOTOS

High Mountain Meadow:  Mule Deer, Llamas and Lambs, Elk, Pronghorn, Coyotes, Jackrabbit, Javelina

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CLICK HERE FOR 29 PHOTOS

Sheep Tank (above Wood Canyon):  Bighorn & Lambs, Blue Quail, Wild Burros, Pronghorn, Longhorn

 

Based on experience and observation including 5,000 game camera photos which we review every month, we find nothing to support this assumption. No observable “harm” is being done by llamas, burros, aoudad, coyotes, longhorn or elk to any other species or habitat. In fact, we observe the opposite.

Based on this, we have reached a second conclusion, which also contradicts conventional wildlife “management”: Biodiversity builds on itself.

Fixed-Pie Biology

Conventional wildlife biology incorporates the “fixed-pie” fallacy, which assumes any animal’s benefit comes at another animal’s expense. In other words, if an aoudad takes a drink or an elk takes a bite of grass, another animal must suffer. Since the pie is fixed in size, all animals are locked into a mutually destructive “competition” wherein each fights all others for its piece.

Holistic management is built around the assumption that plant health depends on short-term exposure to large numbers and varieties of animals. The combination of grazing, hoof action and fertilization from dung and urine helps nature heal, improving soil life as well as the plant and animal communities. As natural systems become more robust they can support more types and larger numbers of animals. As these numbers and variety are allowed to grow, they help each other, all plants and soil life.

Sadly, the fixed-pie fallacy and “invasive species” pseudoscience dominate our universities, agencies and NGOs, leading to costly wildlife eradications and plant poisoning programs. These ill-conceived “vendettas” waste money, harm the plants and animals they are intended to help and degrade habitat for all living things.

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Predators like these are needed to shape animal behavior and manage populations. Removing them harms plants.

 

Posted by Chris Gill

Ranching, wildlife management, finance, oil & gas, real estate development and management.

  1. A good friend who is one of the country’s most experienced practitioners of Keyline applied holistically, wrote:

    “Nice insights, Chris.

    I’ve been recently reading Stuart Kauffman’s Investigations and am predictably wowed by his insight. At the broadest level, his ponderings on the “mechanics” of how:

    “Biospheres, as a secular trend, that is, over the long term, become as diverse as possible, literally expanding the diversity of what can happen next” are empowering.

    I started into Fred Pearce’s new book last night, The New Wild, Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation. Relevant to your thinking, and refreshing in the face of armies of well-armed invasive species weekend warriors seeking purpose and armed with weed-spades, spray, legislation and agency and NGO clout.

    I am hopeful that your management and the assemblage of life you’re encouraging at Circle Ranch is working to help the land work harder and move the needle into the deep topsoil, deep life, deep water zone. Keep it up and thanks for the communiques.”

    Reply

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