[Tweeters] re Kauai birding and California Gnatcatcher

Larry Schwitters lpatters at ix.netcom.com
Sun Aug 29 20:52:10 PDT 2010

Well put Mark. Spotted Owls were being nailed to posts like it was
their fault. I guess the logic was that if there are no more owls to
protect then we can go back to clear cutting.

Larry Schwitters
On Aug 29, 2010, at 7:33 PM, Mark Egger wrote:

> ???? Actually, saving what very little is left of the old growth

> forests in the PNW is hardly an "anti-logger" effort! This is/was a

> one of the top conservation priorities of the National Audubon

> Society and the Washington State Audubon, and this effort, which has

> met only mixed success, was designed to preserve an entire

> ecosystem, including numerous rare species of animals and plants,

> including the Marbled Murrelet, as well as the Spotted Owl. As to

> this having "destroyed entire communities," I would contend that any

> town whose economy is based primarily on logging old growth timber

> is a doomed town in any case. Old growth logging is a dead-end

> prospect no matter how you cut it. (sorry for the pun). If they

> don't choose to diversify, as many such towns have, they will go

> under soon, Spotted Owl or no Spotted Owl. I worked in the woods

> cutting fire trails, cleaning creeks, and planting trees for almost

> a decade, so I know what I'm talking about here. I saw first-hand

> the devastation of clear-cut logging, the window-dressing that the

> logging companies use to excuse their rapacious behavior, and the

> mono-culture desert they plant to replace what was a diverse natural

> ecosystem. At some point you have to say, enough -- what's left of

> the old growth should be protected not just for owls but for

> watershed conservation and for the entire community of organisms for

> which the Spotted Owl is an indicator species.


> As to Mt. Graham, I actually agree with you, and I think the F.S.

> made a good-faith effort to mitigate the habitat damage. But I see

> that example as WAY different from either the owl or the

> gnatcatcher. Also, I think most people who are aware of wildlife

> conservation issues at all are probably just as well-informed about

> the plight of the native Hawaiian avifauna as they are about the

> gnatcatcher or the squirrel, and there have been substantial efforts

> over years to both educate folks and to solve the problems. But

> there's little that can be done about mosquito-borne diseases, food

> plants that are now extinct, and other problems these species face.


> Bottom line, I agree with you completely that every effort should be

> made to try to stop the collapse of the honeycreeper declines, but I

> disagree with you that this implies that our efforts to save other

> species are misguided or not equally as important.


> Mark






> On Aug 29, 2010, at 4:04 PM, rccarl at pacbell.net wrote:


>> My point is that our priorities for saving species are completely

>> cockeyed. Trying to accomplish everything usually gets you

>> nothing. If you spend 90% of your effort on 10% of the problem

>> you'll lose 90% of the time. Saving Hawaiian birds should be our

>> top priority, but they are the bottom.


>> We have 14 critically endangered species in the US (IUCN Redlist

>> not counting the ones already extinct). 13 of these critical

>> species are in Hawaii, but 90% of the effort has been elsewhere.

>> Next to nothing is happening to save all those unique Hawaiian

>> species while we let various political activists use the Endangered

>> Species Act for other purposes at huge economic and political

>> cost. Anti-loggers used the Spotted Owl to stop logging here in

>> the NW: that cost 100's of million of dollars and destroyed entire

>> communities. Anti-growth activists used the California

>> Gnatcatcher (yes, it's cute, but far from critically endangered and

>> very similar to other gnatcatchers). That effort probably cost a

>> billion dollars. Finally, in Arizona, anti-science Luddites used

>> the newly "discovered" Mt. Graham sub-species of the red squirrel

>> to try to stop one of the great astronomy projects on the planet.


>> While we were in the midst of all these other headline and resource

>> grabbing controversies, most birders and nearly all the rest of the

>> nation, had no idea that Hawaiian bird populations were collapsing.




>> Richard Carlson

>> Full-time Birder, Biker and Rotarian

>> Part-time Economist

>> Tucson, AZ, Lake Tahoe, CA, & Kirkland, WA

>> rccarl at pacbell.net

>> Tucson 520-760-4935

>> Tahoe 530-581-0624

>> Kirkland 425-828-3819

>> Cell 650-280-2965


>> --- On Fri, 8/27/10, m.egger at comcast.net <m.egger at comcast.net> wrote:


>> From: m.egger at comcast.net <m.egger at comcast.net>

>> Subject: [Tweeters] re Kauai birding and California Gnatcatcher

>> To: tweeters at u.washington.edu

>> Date: Friday, August 27, 2010, 4:06 PM




>> Secondly, I couldn't let Richard Carlson's statement from the

>> message below go unanswered: "While we've spent enourmous efforts

>> to "save" barely ID'able sub-species -- Mt. Graham squirrels, Cal

>> Gnatcatcher etc., we've let an entire Hawiian avifauna collapse".

>> While I agree that the Hawaiin endemic are wonderful & need more

>> conservation efforts to same them, I completely disagree with the

>> implication that the Mt. Graham Squirrel and the California

>> Gnatcatcher are "barely ID'able sub-species" apparently not worthy

>> of conservation efforts. First, the California Gnatcatcher is a

>> full and well-marked species, not a subspecies (and it's a very

>> cool little bird!), easily distinguished from the other

>> gnatcatchers when one knows what to look for. Moreover, it is

>> easily conserved, IF we choose to save what's left of its habitat.

>> Sadly, the situation with the Hawaiian forest endemics is more

>> complex & they face a whole set of serious threats to their

>> existence: habitat destruction, disease, introduced predators, loss

>> of native food plants, climate change, etc. Anyway, my point is

>> that both the Hawaiian endemics AND the endangered species on the

>> mainland of North America deserve out strongest efforts to protect

>> their habitats and help them survive.


>> Mark


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