Richard Presley

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since Nov 30, 2012
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Recent posts by Richard Presley

The passenger pigeon represents an interesting ecological study. Their extinction may have been due to the fact that they were highly gregarious, social birds known to be colony nesters and when the ecology was unable to support the colonies, the population crashed. This is contrasted with the mourning dove which is a solitary nester. Most commentators think their extinction is due primarily to overhunting and secondarily to habitat destruction. I would personally remove overhunting as a primary factor, put habitat destruction at the top and add ecological shift as the secondary.

The pre-Columbian forests of North America underwent a huge shift following the Columbian exchange. North America experienced the introduction of such disparate invasive species as earthworms, starlings, sparrows, loosestrife, and a host of plants that went from cultivars to being wild. Instead of managing the forests through application of fire (either deliberately by the First Peoples, or naturally by lightning and high-nitrogen excrement from passenger pigeon flocks) Europeans instituted fire suppression as the preferred means of management. Californians are discovering that all suppression does is make the outbreak of wildfires a regular occurrence. Not only were native species displaced or challenged by exotics, but entire ecosystems shifted with succeeding changes from de-foresting during the logging era to the various blights that have decimates foundational species like the American chestnut, elm, ash, and who knows what others. Just as importantly as the number and mix of species is their local distribution. Fire suppression has resulted in vast tracts of mature forest in a nearly unbroken blanket that has reduced the number of ecosystems due to the loss of "edge" and ecological succession. Pre-Columbian forests were a far more dynamic system than what forests are today which has been beneficial for some species and detrimental to others. For instance, when I was a boy, I rarely saw deer and never saw wild turkeys but saw grouse and quail in abundant profusion. Now in Ohio, the situation is reverse with deer and turkeys reaching nuisance level populations and grouse and quail nearly extirpated due to forest management practices.

I would recommend that all permaculturists read "Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier" for one of the most sobering ecological lessons I've ever seen. Although it doesn't address the passanger pigeon question directly, it provides a context that can inform the conversation. It documents the extinction of a population of animals that existed in such profusion they were considered a plague and how their extinction came about. The lesson I took from the book is that there are phenomena that are so poorly understood with regard to ecology that we are sometimes the equivalent of children playing with fire. And not in a good way.
1 year ago

William Bronson wrote:I live in Cincy-your not talking about Marvins Organic Gardens are you?
That place disappointed me greviously...




I just saw them featured in a Farm Bureau article. What did you find disappointing about them?
6 years ago
Jeff,

Have you had any luck finding anyone? There are lots of us who garden and are flirting with sustainability, particularly in the Johnstown, Mt. Vernon, Fredericktown corridor. I'm not a full-blown permie convert, but I'm gradually moving in that direction.

rick
6 years ago
Heard this on NPR about "fairy circles" in the desert: http://www.npr.org/2013/03/28/175369153/whats-behind-the-fairy-circles-that-dot-west-africa


Interesting how many different ideas tap into the same basic concept.
6 years ago
Nice to see Allen getting with the program.

I wonder if he's seen this site: http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/reversing-desertification-with-livestock/
I've known about these giant remains most of my life. I was first introduced to them by Ivan T. Sanderson's book, "Investigating the Unexplained" back in the early 70's. Living in Ohio, I'm more than familiar with the Adena and Hopewell earthworks in Newark, Chillicothe, and throughout central, southern Ohio and southern Indiana. I've visited a number of them and the existence of giants is no secret. It's just not reported in the mainstream press.

For a list of giant sightings, check this site out: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/830123/posts

Another thing Sanderson mentioned were burial jars containing tiny human remains as well. Basically, the New World's version of African Pygmies. If you can find a copy of the book, you might be impressed at even more things that are in museums and are either deliberately mis-labeled or just flat out misunderstood. Lots of interesting stuff in it. And once you read it and some other "off the wall" historians, you'll have the same deep-seated distrust of museums, curators, and the Establishment that Vieira has.

For instance, here's one on ancient jet aircraft models: http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_7.htm

I don't think everything that gets reported is credible (Check out "Our Hollow Earth" on Google), but I also have a deep skeptical distrust of institutions in general, particularly when they are tied to a political agenda. I'm probably not as jaded as Vieira, but then I don't deal with these folks directly.

rick
6 years ago