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March 08, 2006

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Lene

More great examples, Tim, of how complicated the issues are. Thanks for the response. The areas that are most gray--like the invasive species/habit example you give, are the ones that most interest me.

Tim Abbott

Thanks for stopping by, Lene. Although speciation can take 100,000 years, ecological synergies can develop over much shorter intervals. The federally-threatened bog turtle may have enjoyed much wider habitat availability in the northeast United States in the early 1800s when seepage wetlands were cleared for pasture instead of succeeding to forest. There is a rare bird in the desert southwest that now finds its primary habitat in the otherwise horribily invasive salt ceder, or tamarisk, prompting land managers to consider what they are managing for, rather than against, in this system. Again, the question of human values come into play, and in each case we were the agent of ecological change.

Lene

Interesting point about the cattle grazing and pastoralism. That was new to me.

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