Bonus Good Works

Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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19 Responses

  1. Damon says:

    Given that all gov’t action is compulsion backed up by the threat of violence, I’d say there is no net net good in public policy.

    *SHIELDS UP* Let the barrage being.Report

  2. Kimsie says:

    Mindboggling. Up here, we have too many deer.Report

  3. James Hanley says:

    far more animals benefit from wildlife management than then relatively few we kill.

    Yes. It may be a bit ironic, but hunters were preserving wildlife habitat long before there was any such thing as a real environmental movement.

    But what may–emphasize may, because without getting into specific policies I don’t want to commit myself–make this case different from other public policies is that–as Damon notes–other policies rely on compulsion, whereas this one does not. At a minimum, that adds to the downside of other policies, making net gain a much harder call.

    But I think we’d have to really talk specific policies and their implementation to make those calls.Report

    • Kimsie in reply to James Hanley says:

      Yes. Preserving Wildlife Habitat. In Poland of all places. it’s all gone everywhere else, ya know. All of Europe… gone, along with the aurochs and a bunch of other animals folks don’t care about anymore.Report

      • Matty in reply to Kimsie says:

        If you are familiar with the relevant literature the consensus is there is no ‘natural’ habitat in Europe west of Bialowieza, and that is somewhat suspect.Report

        • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Matty says:

          Matty, does that include even all the high alpine areas? I could believe it, if so, but it would still boggle my mind a bit.Report

  4. zic says:

    Mike, I wonder if you’ve read William Cronon’s Changes in the Land?

    It’s about my neck of the woods, the wood I know well. One method he uses to document the pre-European landscape and changing landuse asEuropean’s moved into the North Atlantic is letters and diaries colonist wrote. They often describe how the women do all that they considered ‘work’ and the men simply hunted and ‘set fire to the woods.’

    End succession here is often a hemlock forest, and nothing grows in hemlock forests. (Not even hemlock will sprout there.) It takes fire to sweeten the soil. You can wait for the occasional lightening strike, or you can do controlled burns. The National Forest Service does annual controlled burns in the White Mountain National Forest.

    This creates openings in the wood, valuable for a number of things. Migrating song birds nest in the woods within a quarter-mile of an opening where they feed. Deer use openings to warm themselves in the sunlight. It creates habitat for groundhogs, who were rare (grandmother groundhog didn’t show her face often in story, but when she did, she spoke wisdom), and edge habitat. The source of sweetness. That’s where the blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, elderberry grew. The Joe Pye weed.

    I don’t recall now if this is Cronon or my interpretation of Cronon, but it seems the glaciated reaches of North America always had people; they came in as the ice retreated, as part of the landscape, helping the wildlife prosper so that they might prosper.

    My woods now, the great Northeastern Forest, is a working forest; the portion in Maine more then half the state, and that portion larger then the rest of New England combined. A professor at the University of Maine, Farmington, told me that when the closed the rivers to log drives (1974 the last, I remember it,) there were 5,000 miles of road. A decade ago, when we last spoke, he said there were more then 20,000 miles of road, built to get the wood fiber out. It’s very valuable; and I believe the largest land owner here today is an LLC mostly owned by the endowments for Yale and Harvard. And logging does what burning does; opens the forest to create habitat for wildlife.

    Maine has a long-standing tradition of open access to private land. If it’s not posted, you may use it, you are responsible for your actions. Landowners are not held liable for anything you might do to yourself while you are on their land. All that new road opened up that northern forest, and did so on the culture of public use.

    All this to ask, have you considered looking at wildlife, wildlife management, and hunting as an archeologist?

    I suspect the largest problem wildlife face today might be climate change, that’s certainly what many people would suggest; but it might be loss of travel corridors. If the animals can’t get there, it doesn’t matter how tempting you make a place.Report

    • Kimsie in reply to zic says:

      The woods around me are dying, if not quite yet dead. Because of the deer.Report

      • zic in reply to Kimsie says:

        Deer need a predator.Report

        • Damon in reply to zic says:

          Tru dat…especially since folk get all annoyed when the state wants to add hunting days to reduce the population.Report

          • zic in reply to Damon says:

            I’ve no problem with keeping the hunting days as they are, either. A few days in the woods without fear of fools during the season is a nice thing. But I’ve lost a cousin, a child-hood friend, and one of my kid’s friend to misplaced deer-season bullets.Report

            • Damon in reply to zic says:

              My point here was that folks do tend to get up in arms when extended hunting seasons, or hired mercernaries are paid to kill a few hundred deer. You get all the bambi lovers and the anti gunners and the paranoid, not to mention some due concern over reckless hunters. As a result, the population of deer continue to rise and hazard folks on roads. So I’m agreeing with you. Deer do need a predator. Soon, though, they coyote will be all over the east coast..even in suburban lawns.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to zic says:

      ”All this to ask, have you considered looking at wildlife, wildlife management, and hunting as an archeologist?”
      This is an interesting premise. I think the answer is yes, that is what we are doing more and more of these days. There has been a huge movement in the last 10 years back towards native habitats. I have friends who have killed off acres and acres of fescue and let the dormant seed bank come back on their property. Restoration of wetlands. The return of the American Chestnut. Restoration of species, etc.
      The trick of course is bringing these things back in the context of the modern world. You can see (and Kim speaks often about) the problem with deer numbers now because we have created an ideal situation for them to thrive. I see the same thing happening with geese.

      As an aside, let me just say I absolutely adore Maine. It’s the only state north of the Mason DSixon line I would ever consider moving to. My brief time there was a vacation I recall very fondly. Hoping to take the kids back to Acadia in the not-too-distant future.Report

      • zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Don’t just go to Arcadia; get inland. The Bigelow Preserve, Grafton Notch State Park, White Mountain National Forest (Evans Notch, in particular); the western mountains, with their bounty of forest, water, minerals, and wildlife, are my favorite place on this earth, and a distinct world from the wealthy enclaves along the coast.Report