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Nature would benefit from hands-off strategy

Posted: March 2, 2012 - 9:46am

Concerning predator control on the Kenai Peninsula, I think the ideal strategy is to "laissez-faire," as in, let nature do its thing. A classic ecological principle states that over time, the predator-prey populations will keep each other in check. Too bad we are impatient, and most of us prefer short-term satisfaction to long-term sustainability. We want fewer bears and wolves in exchange for more moose meat. Yes, killing more bear and wolf results in more moose, but not when habitat is the limiting factor; especially in winters when vital food like willow and aspen is buried in the snow. The problem occurring here is that wildfires are restricted for most of the region, and in result, the forests have grown to shade out the young aspen and willow.

According to Rick Sinnott, former wildlife biologist, many experts agree that habitat, not wolves, limit the moose populations on the Kenai. We could solve this habitat-limiting problem by allowing natural wildfire to burn out the older growth that shades out the understory, but nope, that's not going to work. Too many cabins and oil/gas infrastructure are threatened if we let the fires burn.

The heart of the issue is deeper than predator control. We can't keep anything natural unless we simply stay out of it. We want too much. Our quality of life is so high that we will control everything else to stay safe and comfortable. I wish we would "laissez-faire," but who would make any money doing that?

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Jedediah Smith
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Jedediah Smith 03/06/12 - 10:06 am
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another Kool-Aid drinker

This lady is drinking way too much Kool-Aid. Just wondering when the last time Ms.Diep spent any time out of Anchorage, evaluating the habitat, hunting or trapping on the Kenai. It's obvious by her mythical statements she has not!

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