An article from Bob Berwyn’s blog here.
‘Even in protected areas, the influence of humans might be greater than we previously thought … ‘
FRISCO — As much as we’d like to believe in nature unbound, a new Canadian study suggests that human impacts are more widespread than we realize, even extending well into protected areas.
The five-year study by University of Calgary ecologists, included monitoring wolves, elks, cattle and humans. The resarchers concluded that human activities dominate all other factors, even in protected areas.
“Our results contrast with research conducted in protected areas that suggested food chains are primarily regulated by predators. Rather, we found that humans influenced other species in the food chain in a number of direct and indirect ways, thus overshadowing top-down and bottom-up effects,” said lead author Dr. Tyler Muhly.
In one sense, the findings are a “well, duh”. As many have stated previously, air pollution, climate change, effects of neighbor’s fire policies, and invasive species aren’t limited by “protected area” designation. Here’s a link to the university press release.
I wish there were a rule that every time a press release says “different from what was previously thought” they refer to at least one publication that asserts what they are refuting.
When I went to a website to find this I also found this study
“New research challenges assumptions about effects of global warming on mountain tree line” here. Here’s my unrefutable science about treelines; we don’t know what the H. will happen because it’s too complex to predict. We can study it until the cows come home but no one knows. It makes me wonder if there mightn’t be something more useful to study.
But I guess utility is a bad word, to a fellow named Phil Plait from Boulder who wrote an op-ed here in the Denver Post critiquing Canada’s R&D policy.. (you and I both wonder if there isn’t something more relevant for the Post to publish than a critique of a neighboring country’s science policy). The title of the piece was simply “Canada Sells Out Science.”
And that’s OK, because it’s not like the money is wasted when invested in science. For one thing, the amount of money we’re talking about here is tiny compared to a national budget. For another, investment in science always pays off. Always, and at a very high rate. If you want to boost your economy in the middle and long run, one of the best ways to do it is invest in science.
But the Canadian government is doing the precise opposite. If proposed and immediate economic benefits are the prime factors in choosing what science to fund, then the freedom of this human endeavor will be critically curtailed. It’s draining the passion and heart out of one of the best things we humans do.
By doing this, the Canadian government and the NRC have literally sold out science.
I don’t mean to pick on the “tree line modelers” here, it’s a gig and we all need them. But it’s good to know that somehow that this and future investments in modeling will “pay off” because Phil Plait says so..
Here’s another quote:
John MacDougal, president of the NRC, said, “Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value.” Gary Goodyear, the Canadian Minister of State for Science and Technology, also stated “There is [sic] only two reasons why we do science and technology. First is to create knowledge … second is to use that knowledge for social and economic benefit. Unfortunately, all too often the knowledge gained is opportunity lost.”
I had to read the Toronto Sun article two or three times to make sure I wasn’t missing something, because I was thinking that no one could possibly utter such colossally ignorant statements. These two men — leaders in the Canadian scientific research community — were saying, out loud and clearly, that the only science worth doing is what lines the pocket of business.
Really? Doing something to improve our society is doing something for “business”? I guess I am “colossally ignorant” too. I know there is a school of scientists who believe that research should be “of the scientists, by the scientists and for the scientists” but they’re usually not that vitriolic.
Whoops.. guess I wandered off the original topic.