Ecological Stimulus Package: TreeHugger

Ecological Stimulus Package: Investing In Natural Capital : TreeHugger: “We need to be investing, much more seriously, in our natural capital. Green energy sources, green jobs, and greener consumption habits are a terrific start towards positive environmental change. Interventions and actions that reduce environmental stresses are good for our ecosystems.”

Check out this Treehugger post. It makes a great distinction between environment and ecology that we all ought to bear in mind. The post, from the Earthwatch Institute, suggests that we need to look more holistically at not just the outside environment, but at the ecosystem, which is an inclusive term that encompasses the various parts of the environment, but also the systemic interrelationships, and ultimately, us.

In order to really solve our planet’s problems, we need to think in this way. Investing in what Earthwatch calls our natural capital is not an extra or option. Such investment is necessary if we expect future generations to share in the tremendous wonders that our planet has to offer.

What can you do to help. Invest in a green company? Contact your congress people? Tell your friends? Drive less? Eat more locally?

Think about it.


Winter sports opportunities abundant in national park

Check out this recent newspaper article listing the many many opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature this winter: Winter sports opportunities abundant in national park.

You could find yourself sledding, hiking, ice fishing, hiking in snowshoes, or cross country skiing. Don’t know how? The article also outlines plenty of opportunties to learn the needed skills. Just get up, and get outside!


Endangered Species Bulletin

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just released its Fall 2008 Endangered Species Bulletin. This quarterly publication provides a great snapshot of the current status and research on endangered species. One article of note within the bulletin covers interaction between invasive plants and pollinators.

Often when we think about invasive plants, the direct competition with native plants is the first thing on our mind. These non-native invaders have few natural enemies in their new territory, and often have very high reproductive rates. Well, what if you compound these factors with the possibility that pollinators may like the new plants better than the natives? Think that through.

If pollinators go to the invasive plants more and the native plants less, then less native plants will be pollinated. If less native plants are pollinated, there will be fewer seeds. Fewer seeds means a slower rate of reproduction. Net result, invasive plants win again.

Check out the Fall 2008 Endangered Species Bulletin for a more in depth treatment of this and other interesting subjects related to biological diversity.


Invasive Species in Ohio: Pathways, Policies, and Costs , from the Union of Concerned Scientists

As naturalists, we should all be very concerned with non-native invasive species. These plants and animals are brought, purposefully or accidentally, by people into ecosystems from far-away places. Once they establish themselves in a new geographic area, they out compete native life because they lack natural enemies in the new range, and reproduce quickly.

Many organisms on state and federal endangered species lists are there because of competition from non-native invasive species. As if this weren’t bad enough, there are many economic impacts stemming from these invasions. To learn more, go to the Ohio Invasive Plant Council’s web site, or read the new report linked here:

Invasive Species in Ohio: Pathways, Policies, and Costs | Union of Concerned Scientists


Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a glimpse of nature

One of only 55 National Parks across the U.S., Cuyahoga Valley is a hidden gem. From towering waterfalls and tall trees, to the Ohio and Erie Canal that once connected the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, this park is a true national treasure that you should visit.

read more | digg story


Is mountain biking environmentally harmful?

A brewing controversy in Cleveland Metroparks:should an agency whose mission is to conserve natural resources allow mountain biking?

Is this outdoor recreational activity more destructive than paved trails, natural surfaced trails that are poorly placed, or equestrian trails? Cleveland Metroparks in this case is coming down against the idea of mountain biking. Meanwhile National Park rules may change to allow mountain biking.

Having been around parks for many years, and seeing many different types of trails and activities, my personal opinion is that if properly managed, this type of trail is just as compatible with natural resources conservation as a bridle trail, paved trail, or even hiking trails with natural surfaces.

Bicycles can undoubtedly cause erosion issues, but so can other unregulated uses. People need to be in contact with nature. If mountain biking excites them, they ought to be able to engage in their chosen outdoor recreation. Bike trails can be created in an environmentally sustainable manner. As long as it is done right, I am all for it.