Remembering Bunnyville

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For each of the last several years there has been a place in a field close to home that we dubbed Bunnyville. Home to a family, or perhaps families, of Mountain Cottontail rabbits.

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Each spring and summer a new batch of bunnies would appear like clockwork and inhabit the flower filled field and forest edges nearby.

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However this year we are Bunnyless! Predation by a cast of characters which include the Ermine, Golden Eagles, Bobcat, Coyote, and Foxes over the previous winter appear to decimated the Rabbit population in our area.

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It is a strange thing to experience a summer without out the rabbits although the Penstemon in are garden are relived. Yet a summer without baby bunnies of groups of teenage rabbits frolicking in the fields is a stage thing indeed.

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The grasses a growing longer without the natural lawnmowers….

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They always put a smile on our face and it is sad to realize the sun may have set on Bunnyville.  There is always hope the rabbits will return after all it only takes a couple.

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Wishing you a wonderful weekend and here’s to remembering Bunnyville.

Chippie Returns

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A few weeks back we began to see the Chipmunks scurrying around the area. After spending the winter in their dens and absent from sight they are a welcome addition to the late spring-summer population of area residents. Quietly going about their business and cute as a button to boot. Welcome back Chippie.

Mr. White

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An Ermine still dressed in their winter whites peeks out from under a log. Seasons are changing and soon Mr. White will become Mr. Brown and we will have a hard time seeing him as he forages in the tall grasses of the fields nearby.

Boundless energy in such a small package makes them such a wonder to observe.

Seeking Solutions: A global deal for nature

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As humanity marches on seemingly ignorant, yet keenly aware, the earths climate continues to warm faster than predicted and the sixth-extinction event picks up momentum like a snowball rolling down hill one group of scientists recently published a paper titled “A Global Deal For Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets” in the journal Science Advances proposing a solution to put a halt to our global crises.  In this paper the authors make the case that:

 “the most logical path to avoid the approaching crisis is maintaining and restoring at least 50% of the Earth’s land area as intact natural ecosystems, in combination with energy transition measures.”

The authors clearly state that measures to protect ecosystems, biodiversity and any aversion or mitigation of anthropogenic climate change is a time bound matter and action must come sooner than later.

The paper lists five major goals of the project:

(1) represent all native ecosystem types and successional stages across their natural range of variation—or “representation”

(2) maintain viable populations of all native species in natural patterns of abundance and distribution—or “saving species”

(3) maintain ecological function and ecosystem services

(4) maximize carbon sequestration by natural ecosystems

(5) address environmental change to maintain evolutionary processes and adapt to the impacts of climate change 

In addition the paper gives clear scientific evidence for their proposal and priorities that include: protecting biodiversity, mitigating climate change and reducing future threats. This is a well presented paper and one clearly worth reading.

A short article summarizing the project can be found here and is a good jumping off point prior to reading the whole study. It’s a beautiful world and diverse world and something too important to loose.

Click image to view slideshow.

References:
1) A Global Deal For Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets.

 

 

The importance of wilderness

“Wilderness areas act as a buffer against species loss, as the extinction risk for species within wilderness communities is—on average—less than half that of species in non-wilderness communities.” 1

A recent study published in the Journal Nature titled “Wilderness Areas Half The Extinction Risk of Terrestrial Biodiversity” mapped several locations around the world where maintaining wilderness areas should be a priority. The first statement the authors make in the abstract in this paper really hit the nail on the head for me.

“Reducing the rate of global biodiversity loss is a major challenge facing humanity, as the consequences of biological annihilation would be irreversible for humankind. 1

In this single sentence the authors make clear that the steady march of human activity, as currently, conducted could potential be catastrophic to all life on earth.

“Wilderness areas act as a buffer against species loss, as the extinction risk for species within wilderness communities is—on average—less than half that of species in non-wilderness communities.” 1

The paper points to several locations on the plant especially important to protect yet the authors also state that all wilderness areas have intrinsic conservation value thus we can all play a role by supporting local conservation efforts of wilderness area near to each of us. Below we showcase a few wilderness area we have recently spent time in. They are both beautiful as well as safe havens for biodiversity.

Click any photo for slide show.

Absoroka-Beartooh and Lee Metcalf wilderness areas.

References:

1. Reference: Di Marco, M., Ferrier, S., Harwood, T.D. et al. Wilderness areas halve the extinction risk of terrestrial biodiversity. Nature 573, 582–585 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1567-7

For a short summary of the article visit Science daily.

A couple of groups that support the missions of wilderness as a buffer for biological diversity are:
The Wilderness Society
The Half-Earth Project