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Ideas for Development

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Index and Contents

Contents

  1. Main Ideas
  2. A Set of Ideas to His Daughters, 1999
  3. Ideas for Development, Part of the Rural System - Strategy
  4. Faunal Urticles - Important Rural ResourcE-Publications not peer reviewed. Giles - 1993)

Introduction

This part of my personal home page is devoted to ideas that I have had and stored on 4 x 6 cards in a file by that title for over 30 years. I've weeded them out. Some have been developed, but others remain as challenges for me and perhaps others. By development I mean replace, think-through, build a prototype, or work with someone until it crashes...or becomes a thing of usefulness and beauty. Some are ideas; some are questions; some are things I want to do (or hope someone else will do). Many will involve undergraduate and graduate students.

Some can emerge into self-supporting (if not profitable) enterprises. I'm trying to pass on stuff before I pass on. It is a shame to re-invent, to, as Robert Frost said, "excitedly rediscover the trite." I do not want "rights" or financial returns on these, only that they become used for the good of us all. If gains are made, it is likely that the good Faculty of Virginia Tech's College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources (or whatever the name change brings) can effectively use funds in carefully and strategically planned research and development projects. One concept of such a strategy is also presented. I call the latest work in it Rural System, Inc. The ideas are not presented in any order or priority.

There are some ideas that I got too late to share with my students.

Main Ideas

  1. Wildlife Food-Habits Analysis Program - A computer aided lab to analyze food habits of game birds and other animals. With pattern recognition, expert systems, and particle analyzers already developed, rapid cost-effective analyses may be possible. Why should so many seed collections lie hidden or destroyed? Must be all do a seed collection, then toss it. Cannot a lab do cost-effective, break-even analyses, giving reports to hunters, scientists, etc. and building a regional data base with well analyzed records? A regional or national food habits identification service is needed with rapid staining and flotation separations, pattern recognition, CD-ROM comparisons. Volume, weight, and energy should be in seasonal reports for a general area as well as a specific sample.

  2. Black Noses - Why do otherwise well-camouflaged animals have black noses (seals, deer, etc.) Like insect antennae that have design for capturing food and reproduction (pheropheromonens, I think the biochemistry of the mucous-moist nose is intimately linked with micro air currents related to black-body phenomena of physics.

  3. Whale Leaps - The vast energy required to propel a whale out of the water in what are called by some "playful leaps" must likely have other utility. Whale bodies typically have many attached organisms. I hypothesize that these leaps and like the skin pressure felt when a person does a very poor dive. They have the same effects as scraping does to some organisms.

  4. Ear Tufts - Too many birds and mammals have ear tufts for tufts not to have profound survival value. Perhaps tufts are a tactile aid, perhaps sound collectors, (hardly insulation, perhaps heat exchangers (in the case of the tassel-eared squirrels). I think these are antennae and allow select fauna, typically night foragers, to respond to sound frequencies undetected by humans without technology.

  5. Bird Head Crests - The cardinal and bluejay are examples of birds with prominent head crests. I believe these have aerodynamic properties that result in brain cooling (see also my concepts related to the blackbuck in India). High energy food use, high metabolism, long duration migratory flights of jays, and territorial displays result in the need for neural cooling. The high turbulence at the back of the skull achieves this cooling. Mating displays, etc. are secondary to survival strategies related to energy.

  6. Repetitive Bird Facial Pattern - Wrens, bobwhite, sparrows and others have the same facial patterns. Unlikely to be a very successful camosflage pattern, there has to be another basis, perhaps a survival pattern. Seen in granivores, I hpothesize it is a brain-cooling pattern (as antlers in the deer; ears in the rabbit, zebras in sunlight) for granivorous birds with short-distance or few flights for cooling.

  7. Super Staff - If the land manager is to the land as the doctor is to the patient (Aldo Leopold's idea), what is the equivalent of the stethoscope (the universal first-look, integrative diagnostic instrument) for the manager? I suspect that a walking staff can be developed that has many functions such as measuring trees, weighing deer (diameter of the chest), assessing soil texture, and assessing cover density. Next will come the comprehensive patient "work up" and "complete physical." What is that and what will it cost?

  8. Snails - The land snails, the terrestrial pulmonates, are almost unknown; taxonomy is scarce. They live in species-specific layers of the forest soils and have specific food preferences (some in captivity seem to like pasta). They may be excellent indicators of land quality and conditions. Studying them is difficult; trying to name what they indicate may be more difficult.

  9. Forest Highway - When firewood is removed the rodent highway is removed. A forest with large limbs and fallen trunks is an efficient place for rodent travel. The energy costs of moving are little different that the energy gains from eating. Managing rodents in the forest is an energy budgeting feat. Developing linked pieces of wood (or removing wood) can change the forest. The same items, arranged differently can make all the difference in rodent population dynamics and the animals that prey upon them.

  10. Prey Management - Faunal system managers spend time reading and writing about how to produce plants and their seeds for animal forage. The future can contain equal time spent on learning how to produce prey. The world is not composes entirely of granivores and other herbivores. Fish are prey; why "wildlife" specialists rarely gain or seek knowledge of fish management is a lasting question. Learning how to manage a herd of mice may not be a bad idea.

  11. The Didactron - A "walk-in", high-technology educational or teaching space with "situation room",multimedia simulation area, individual units as well as a group lecture space ... all with research potential for improving behavioral change per dollar spent.

  12. Competency - A fee-based testing service that allows employers to assess the proven abilities of forestry, wildlife, and related graduates of our and other programs of study. Diverse grading, grade inflation, and new requirements makes creating and managing this service essential for agency and other employers to accompany transcripts and other evaluations (e.g., SAT). Further notes.

  13. The Future Forest - A book, analyzing the past, present, and future forests of Virginia. This is a cooperative, College-wide effort involving computer simulations and a unique opportunity for an individual or company to make a conspicuous, lasting contribution to the library, users, planners, and agency policy makers.

  14. Memorial or Honorific Books - A well-developed book, a summary with future models, may be created on topics such as:

    1. The Deer of Virginia
    2. The Grouse
    3. The Black Bear
    4. The Bobwhite Quail
    5. The Gray Squirrel
    6. The Cottontail Rabbit
    7. The Chestnut Oak
    8. The Once-Great Chestnut
    9. The Empress Tree (or other select species or group)
    10. The Land Snails, Overlooked or Forgotten in the Forest
    11. The Moths and Butterflies of the Virginia Forest
    12. The Dreaded Copperhead
    13. The Stream Sculpin
    14. The Black Walnut Resource in Virginia

  15. Hound Analysis System - A system that measures the trailing ability of hound dogs using radio-telemetry of movement (chi-square analysis of deviation from a known scent trail) and assigns a numerical score, potentially useful in breeding, sales, improving hunting, and involvement in wildland security services.

  16. Customized Wildlife Food Patches - Seed and fertilizer recommendations from linear programming for optimum food patches in forests and farms (site specific) to aid wildlife.

  17. The Forested Watershed - Building on past 15 years studies, this project for the next 5 years finishes work combining models, geographic information system maps, new knowledge of area precipitation, and a new concept of fog drip or water from other sources. The result is a readable book describing our work and its practical applications ... and a "service" system to provide analyses in the future.

  18. Expert Systems and Artificial Intelligence - Operating on the basis that classical studies are not sufficient to meet modern needs, user-friendly expert systems need to be developed for land managers, then to improve them as research knowledge is gained.

  19. V-Paradigm - A bold concept of a total system approach to watersheds or regional development in rural counties and foreign countries.

  20. Powerline Paths - A book, with computer support, on how to locate powerline corridors that minimize costs to rate-payers, litigation costs, and the difficult environmental costs.

  21. Scenic Analysis - Creation of a set of user-friendly scenic analysis packages for forest and wildlife area managers.

  22. Repellents and Fences - Development of deer repellents and protection is needed and two new concepts are available.

  23. Optimum Trap Bait - Believe it or not, "oatmeal and peanut butter" as superior bait is conventional wisdom only. We need to develop with R and D, a new optimum bait(s).

  24. Acorns - We need to synthesize what we knew about wildlife "mast" crops and seed for hardwood regeneration. (A book and computer program. Dr. R. Kirkpatrick was writing a paper on hard mast in 1999.)

  25. Ecoectomy - A research concept based on the medical paradigm (suggested in my PhD dissertation). Doctors learned more about the thyroid gland when it was removed from the body than by studying it directly. We need a 10-year project studying experimental removals of certain animals in forests so that we can understand their role.

  26. Backyard Wildlife - Computer-produced planning system grounded in ecological models and a GIS of the yard.

  27. Crayfish Management - What do raccoons, turkeys, and other creatures of the forest eat? Crayfish! We do not know how to increase them (as foodpatches help quail). We have concepts. This is a project for the raccoon and turkey organizations or an honorary or memorial to a person committed to improved Virginia Forests.

  28. Expeditions into Deepest, Darkest Virginia - With computer maps we now can see where there are no studies! of nature. We need "expeditions", scientific, observational, collecting -- to complete databases and our knowledge of biodiversity.

  29. The Ecology of County X - A book synthesizing knowledge about each county can be created. These will include extensive GIS maps, geology, soils, wildlife.

  30. Proposal to a commercial company - May we consider work together that deals with GIS (GRASS, Arc-Revelation, PCI, and MIPS), your GPS location, and a CD-ROM that describes and depicts the complex ecology of a 10-county region of Virginia. This will be a demonstration of a regional approach to sophisticated ecological tourism, to industrial siting, to retirement site selection and many more applications. My interest is commercial, suggesting a new (at least to my knowledge) market when ecotourism is of increasing interest. I can imagine a regional bird-species finder -- helping people go to areas to find a specific species to add to their life-list. With computer models we can show things on maps never seen before (e.g., biodiversity, erosion rates, deer density, and fire hazard ratings). With PCI we can "fly over" an area where a vehicle with GPS is located (useful in emergency and search vehicles). (RHG -- April 28, 1995)

  31. The Pond - A high tech pond (small lake) analysis and description system, one that uses results from past studies and provides us the equivalent of a complete "medical workup" in the sense of Aldo Leopold's concept of Land Health.

  32. Wilderness Center -Perhaps using Mountain Lake and the Rich Hole Wilderness, this center emphasizes the research values of wilderness.

  33. The Z Group - A unique group of 5 invited participants meet each year (e.g., Mt. Lake Hotel) for 3 days to discuss the future of the wildland resources of the mid-Atlantic Region. A general-public, much-promoted white paper is released every year. The participants discuss and debate their selected topics. A limited group of observers (listeners only) may be involved. This is a planned, paid,intensive, thoughtful action on very important natural-resource issues (usually with multiple relations).

  34. Fern Use - H.J. Heikkenen noted for me that Christmas ferns rarely show insect of fungal damage. Given the eons of its presence, this is a very successful plant. (It is frost resistand, remains photosynthetically active in winter, is disease and insect resistant and rarely eaten by deer. It is shade tolerant. Perhaps its genetic materials can be incorporated in other plants.

  35. Equipment Lists -

    Perhaps requiring too much cooperation, it seems that state wildlife agencies (3-5 of them), always under the gun for more money and more efficient use of resources, could develop a regional list of equipment that would allow researchers (at least):

    1. To obtain needed data
    2. Re-work techniques
    3. Get tools off the shelf (often deteriorating because of non-use or low maintenance)
    4. Gain new approaches and applications
    5. Allow studies for which equipment funds are not permitted or available
    6. Prevent needless duplication of expenditures or one-shot experimental uses.

Pigmentation and Reflectivity I have a hypothesis that the relative health of "ecosystems" (relatively large areas such as forest stands or mountains) is a function of their pigmentation and reflexivity. This can be measured from leaves; from leaf area analyses; and from satellite images. Albedo of areas may be a large integrating measure useful in explaining between area differences and controlling natural variance.

A color-chart for green might be used in the field to express wellness. The hypothesis is: The more mature and healthy, the darker green. Sick leaves, stressed environments, are more yellow and lack pigmentation and the chlorophyll-energy fixing storing machinery.

Animal coloration varies with latitude. Perhaps there is a general small adjustment possible relative to how latitude limits ecosystem performance or natural function.


White Papers

" White Papers" are documents on topics of current and future importance within our (agency's or university's) purview, expertise, and interest. They are intended to be significant educational and communication media. Seminars can be usefully developed as steps toward conceiving, outlining, and writing such papers. They can become the means for focusing conversations and group efforts. The discussions leading to them can usually be fruitful for all parties as ideas are honed and nebulous areas isolated.

Problems of Concern

  1. Are an individual's utility functions independent? Since they probably are not, then what are the implications for citizens seeking many bird observations or hunters after several types of game?
  2. Is wildlife really a "free good," e.g., like air? If not, what is its category? A new one?
  3. What are the wildlife-resource relevant differences between a commodity view and an amenity view?

Pesticide Challenge

A standard pesticide application can be made to a smaller plot, say 0.2 hectare of rangeland or habitat. The hypothesis is that the more healthy, vigorous, etc. the area, the lower the mortalities observed and/or the faster the recovery rates of select index organisms or CO2 output of soil.

Goiter in Wildlife

Why don't wild animals in a " goiter belt" (such as once found in the U.S. before iodized salt was widely used) exhibit enlarged thyroids? Perhaps they do? (Ref: Fox, H. 1913. The pathology of the thyroid gland in wild animals. J. Comp. Path. 1:20),

Hunter's Forest

An interactive videodisc educational unit for safety instruction as well as teaching all aspects of being the modern, sophisticated hunter.

The Volunteer Agency

Wildlife agencies can either become business-like and mercenary, seeking maximum returns (some financial) related to wildlife, or they can become very volunteer-oriented. It is unlikely that they can do both well for very soon volunteers ask for pay when it is evidently available. A high percent of a volunteer-based agency's budget (perhaps 5%) needs to be spent on public information (i.e., public relations) in order to develop and promote a program of effective public information. Materials need to be prepared to encourage support of the program, interpret it, and clarify a story of resource management related to research, human objectives, and efficient service. A clear, clean public image is essential for a vital organization built around and by volunteers.

It is impossible for a wildlife-related agency to go to the public for funds or support without the agency first having a public relations department (no matter what it is called). A successful agency has competent people helping to develop a climate in which those who must manage wildlife do not invariably encounter a wall of ignorance about their work.

The fundamental rule remains: The agency must have a sound, vigorous program. The program comes first; the slickest public relations cannot hide a weak program for long.

Fragility (F)

Ecosystems are said to be "fragile;" some more so, some less. Quantifying fragility is a worthy project. Early efforts include:

F = 1 - (expectancy of return of a community to the present condition)

F = (1-E), where the "impact potential," of some development or action is very great, then where

E = (1.0 - I) and I is very large, then E is small and F is large.

Fragility, however, is the characteristic of the ecological community, not the change agent. A fine crystal glass can be broken by a bull or a musical note. It is fragile.

The concept of fragility implies that a system has stopped significant change (i.e., is of a climax ecological stage). It also implies some concept of "ease of '"breaking"' which means not returning to the original; passing a threshold and developing along a different pathway. Whether the new or different pathway is good, bad, or neutral to people is an important question, for in the connotation of fragile leading to breaking, there is clearly the notion of "badness." The "ease of breaking" needs an importance or value coefficient.

Wildlife Dollars

Inflation, taxes paid, and the price index are (or should be) important parts of a natural resource agency decision maker's thought process in judging programs, measuring success, and justifying budgets (or failures). An analysis is needed (and an on-going system so repeat analyses can be easily done) on how much money is real or relative terms state and federal agencies and wildlife managers get for doing real work in the field. The proportionate amounts of total budgets consumed by wages and benefits can be a startling statistic for many managers and their publics.

Late-Speaking Muse I sought, summoned, and sighed for my muse.
He roused, dusted, and growled from abuse.
Vellum time at Valentine - his teeth were on edge.
Love and dove - "too much, too much!"
Roses and stuff - "St. Peter, one for the ledger."

…And then, no longer yawning grumbles, he spoke
"Work with 'job', and 'dances,' and 'that's-all-rights'"
With "froth," and "foam," and "fulsome man,"
With "rough," and "brown" and "two";
With "smooth," and "piece," and "new."
Leave out "it," and "thing" and "hate."
So I tried…but then it was too late. RHG '1965

Substantial ideas are presented in the introduction to Lasting Forests.

Notes from Peculiar Manor text.

Let me share with you from my file. I expose more than I care to, but time's up. You may say "quaint" or perhaps you will find something useful. It is for you, for free, for all of us. Maybe there is a good idea. [First, before being too critical, pray tell, what do you mean by "good?"]

Plot a perceived suitability (0 to 10) of hunting against family years in personal urban environment.

Develop a policy that compensates farmers or land-owners for crop degradation from animals, but only for an amount none of which is subsidized by any government payment or price support.

Is there existential pleasure in managing wildlife?

Ecologist Tests: (1) Sweep with a net two areas that produce insects in the sample that are not different; (2) Select areas that will have equal small mammal trapping success.

It is very likely that surface distance is more relevant than horizontal distance in area management, even in plot work, especially for ground-dwellers.

What may be the role of a professor of silvi-realism?

What would be the text in: "The Wildland Scholar in the Penultimate World."

Essay on "The Virtual Wildlifer"

The adventures of the modern systems-oriented wildlife law enforcement officer, Major Findings.

The sugar in the sap of trees at the same time each year probably, through a refractometry instrument, reflects site index.

Make a phase plane plot of the cube root of food eaten in 1 sample as a function of the same transformed amount eaten in a previous sample. Results from different areas may be compared. The narrower, the less good the food of the area.

Use tree branches as a model for rock fissures in analyzing groundwater. The Buffon needle analogy may be useful.

Develop an approximate linear programming application to minimize costs of getting a graduate degree in wildlife management. Equate time as salary dollars.

Why does an ecologist call an area "delicate" when it is the most rugged he or she has ever seen? Develop the theory of fragile/delicate areas.

As for computer-dances or dating, use the computer to develop citizen groups to meet and discuss an important topic.

What is the epistemology of a species list? Will a range map not suffice? Must a plant or animal be collected on every occasion to prove that a species occurs in an area?

Is hunter demand inelastic? Gallus elasticity and the one-gallus hunter. If costs go up, will hunters decline? Graph hunting or user behavior as a function of cumulative past equivalent behaviors.

Describe ecological succession in lotic leaves.

Richness per unit area is a convex function of plants per unit area. Plant size per plant is probably also related to plants per unit area.

Why spend so much time on aging a tree or forest stand when a stand is "even aged" if the difference in age between the oldest and youngest trees does not exceed 20 percent of the rotation.

A picture of forest stand dynamics:Plot the ring thickness (ring count in outer inch only) of trees in a stand

A major distinction: an expected value is the probability that some variable is equal to 1.0.

Develop an expert system for (a) tracks of animals, (b) livestock predation.

Can building ledge spikes that are used in bird control be used to prevent predation in bird nest boxes?

Compare the esthetic effect of intellectual cogency with the intellectual power of esthetic cogency.

Compute site specific degree days only within the growing period. Make a GIS map.

Diagram climatographs with maximum, median, and minimum monthly data. Use "circular distributions" statistics for analyses.

More questions and comments by R.H. Giles , typed by Mrs. Laurie Good, July, 2005.

Wildlife Grapes

McGinnes and his student studied the effect of fertilizing wild grape vines. Many factors confounded the study and thus the results. Since grapes are such an important natural food and such a point of conflict between tree growers (who want them removed) and wildlife managers who want more (or do they only want a few very productive ones?), it is important to know about their species needs and cultivation. The first study should be on light effects or histograms of grape pulp production (not seeds or skins). The results could be new thinning rules and "leave" rules. There are other studies including grafting hybrid stocks onto mature roots or mature vines high in the trees to escape damage and overuse by deer and bear.

Trap Addiction

In live trapping to do capture-recapture studies of animals to estimate their densities, trap shyness as well as addiction is encountered. Some animals seem to love the bait, trap, etc.! Alternative nights of bait and no-bait with clean traps are needed to study trap addiction.

Probability of Treatment

Each area of a state or nation can be subjected to analyses of the probability that it will be treated or managed actively. Like the probability-of-fire mapping, maps can be developed based on site characteristics, legal constraints, access, and other factors. A site with low probability will probably fit well into provisions for old-growth-related wildlife species. In an area where such tracts abound, advocating protection for more may not be reasonable. The converse is also true. Simulations of regions can be one result. The history of forests under human influence may not be a useful study. The future probably use may be a meaningful concept.

Effects of Trapping and Handling Animals

Capturing animals is a great stress to them. Some die, but that is said to be one of the risks. I would like to study similar populations with different periods (and/or styles) of handling. The effect of the "treatment" should show up in population estimates, reproduction, and even in indices of food utilization.

Understory by Prism

By using a basal-area gauge or prism, the basal area tress can be determined. (Basal area is the total area covered by stump cross-sections if all trees are cut off at 4.5 feet.) It seems likely that there is a strong relationship between basal area and shrub density and deer browse or forage. If so, by reading a prism and entering results into a program with the appropriate equation(s), a reasonably accurate forage estimate can probably be quickly and cost-effectively obtained.

Equipment Lists

Perhaps requiring too much cooperation, it seems that state wildlife agencies (3-5 of them) always under the gun for more money and more efficient use of resources could develop a regional list of equipment that would allow researchers (at least):

  1. To obtain needed data
  2. Re-work techniques
  3. Get tools off the shelf (often deteriorating because of non-use or low maintenance)
  4. Gain new approaches and applications
  5. Allow studies for which equipment funds are not permitted or available
  6. Prevent needless duplication of expenditures or one-shot experimental uses.

Rabbit and Quail Strips

Mowing strips in fallow fields is a good technique for changing vegetation, changing insects, modifying animal behavior, reducing energy losses to quail and rabbits, and making hunting more enjoyable (partially as a result of being able to see dogs work better). I would like to lay dragged hunter access strips in weedy growth. Not mowed, these merely lay down vegetation and are likely to increase a hunter's take of quail and rabbits (a take this is rarely sufficient).

Pigmentation and Reflectivity

I have a hypothesis that the relative health of "ecosystems" (relatively large areas such as forest stands or mountains is a function of their pigmentation and reflexivity. This can be measured from leaves; from leaf area analyses; and from satellite images. _____ may be a large integrating measure useful in explaining between area differences and controlling natural variance.

A color-chart for green might be used in the field to express wellness. The hypothesis is: The more mature and healthy, the darker green. Sick leaves, stressed environments are more yellow and lack pigmentation and the chlorophyll-energy fixing storing machinery.

Animal coloration varies with latitude. Perhaps there is a general small adjustment possible relative to how latitude limits ecosystem performance or natural function.

White Papers

"White Papers" are documents on topics of current and future importance within our agency's (or university's) purview, expertise, and interest. They are intended to be significant educational and communication media. Seminars can be usefully developed as steps toward conceiving, outlining, and writing such papers. They can become the means for focusing conversations and group efforts. The discussions leading to them can usually be fruitful for all parties as ideas are honed and nebulous areas isolated.

Problems of Concern

1. Are an individual's utility functions independent? Since they probably are not, then what are the implications for citizens seeking many bird observations or hunters after several types of game?
2. Is wildlife really a "free good," e.g., like air? If not, what is its category? A new one?
3. What are the wildlife-resource relevant differences between a commodity view and an amenity view?

Pesticide Challenge

A standard pesticide application can be made to a smaller plot, say 0.2 hectare of rangeland or habitat. The hypothesis is that the more healthy, vigorous, etc. the area, the lower the mortalities observed and/or the faster the recovery rates of select index organisms or CO2 output of soil.

Goiter in Wildlife

Why don't wild animals in a "goiter belt" (such as once found in the U.S. before iodized salt was widely used) exhibit enlarged thyroids? Perhaps they do? (Ref: Fox, H. 1913. The pathology of the thyroid gland in wild animals. J. Comp. Path. 1:20),

Hunter's Forest

An interactive videodisc educational unit for safety instruction as well as teaching all aspects of being the modern, sophisticated hunter.

The Volunteer Agency

Wildlife agencies can either become business-like and mercenary, seeking maximum returns (some financial) related to wildlife, or they can become very volunteer-oriented. It is unlikely that they can do both well for very soon volunteers ask for pay when it is evidently available. A high percent of a volunteer-based agency's budget (perhaps 5%) needs to be spent on public information (i.e., public relations) in order to develop and promote a program of effective public information. Materials need to be prepared to encourage support of the program, interpret it, and clarify a story of resource management related to research, human objectives, and efficient service. A clear, clean public image is essential for a vital organization built around and by volunteers.

It is impossible for a wildlife-related agency to go to the public for funds or support without the agency first having a public relations department (no matter what it is called). A successful agency has competent people helping to develop a climate in which those who must manage wildlife do not invariably encounter a wall of ignorance about their work.

The fundamental rule remains: The agency must have a sound, vigorous program. The program comes first; the slickest public relations cannot hide a weak program for long.

Fragility (F)

Ecosystems are said to be "fragile"; some more so, some less. Quantifying fragility is a worthy project. Early efforts include:

F = 1 - (expectancy of return of a community to the present condition)
F = (1-E), where the "impact potential," of some development or action is very great, then where
E = (1-0-I) and I is very large, then E is small and F is large.

Fragility, however, is the characteristic of the ecological community, not the change agent. A fine crystal glass can be broken by a bull or a musical note. It is fragile.

The concept of fragility implies that a system has stopped significant change (i.e., is of a climax ecological stage). It also implies some concept of "ease of 'breaking'" which means not returning to the original; passing a threshold and developing along a different pathway. Whether the new or different pathway is good, bad, or neutral to people is an important question, for in the connotation of fragile leading to breaking, there is clearly the notion of "badness." The "ease of breaking" needs an importance or value coefficient.

Late-Speaking Muse
I sought, summoned, and sighed for my muse.
He roused, dusted, and growled from abuse.
Vellum time at Valentine - his teeth were on edge.
Love and dove - "too much, too much!"
Roses and stuff - "St. Peter, one for the ledger."
…And then, no longer yawning grumbles, he spoke
"Work with "job," and "dances," and "that's-all-rights"
With "froth," and "foam," and "Fulsom man,"
With "rough," and "brown" and "two";
With "smooth," and "piece," and "new."
Leave out "it," and "thing" and "hate."
So I tried…but then it was too late.

Wildlife Dollars

Inflation, taxes paid, and the price index are (or should be) important parts of a natural resource agency decision maker's thought process in judging programs, measuring success, and justifying budgets (or failures). An analysis is needed (and an on-going system so repeat analyses can be easily done) on how much money is real or relative terms state and federal agencies and wildlife managers get for doing real work in the field. The proportionate amounts of total budgets consumed by wages and benefits can be a startling statistic for many managers and their publics.

Ecological succession is better-called transition and forage decline within a forest is best described for the masses as variable-rate depreciation.


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Last revision January 17, 2000;September 5, 2005