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Author Topic: Ecosystems (edge effects and related environmental issues)  (Read 4508 times)
FirstAscent
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July 12, 2012, 06:51:14 PM
 #1

This thread is in response to various comments in other threads by myrkul. It is intended as a serious discussion with regard to the following concepts:

- Ecosystem fracturing
- Edge effects

Edge effects are a direct result of ecosystem fracturing, which will be defined and discussed. There is a whole cascade of effects and interrelated issues that apply here. They are:

- The importance of wildlife corridors
- The dangers of ignorance
- Exploitation via corporations
- Lack of regulation
- Solutions via private enterprise
- Habitat loss
- Information loss
- Bioproductivity loss
- Natural capital
- Water quality
- Trophic cascades
- Policies

The list goes on. And on.

The whole substrate upon which humanity, society, and life depend on begin in the soil and water (essentially our planet), as nourished by the incoming sunlight from above.

Here's a thought for you: the very complex systems which naturally occur within the soil and above the soil define everything we have to support ourselves and they define everything we have available to educate ourselves (outside cosmology and related fields). There is more going on here than you think. Humanity thus far has been built from those systems, but humanity itself is also depleting, fracturing (and thus destroying) the very systems which allowed it to come this far.

Edge effects: What are they? Imagine a parcel of land that is fairly large and of a particular shape, mostly undisturbed. Let's say it's unspoiled rainforest. We'll begin with a circle 100 miles in diameter.

The circle: A circle 100 miles in diameter has an edge that is 314 miles long. It's area is a little more than 7,500 miles. The ratio of area/edge is 7,500/314 which equals about 24.

The fractal shape: A fractal shape with an area of 7,500 miles but with a ragged edge that is 1,000 miles long has a ratio of area/edge of 7,500/1,000 which equals 7.5.

Among the two shapes described above, each say being a rainforest ecosystem, the circle will generally be healthier and more viable. What does this mean? The circle, will in general, be richer in all of the following:

- Number of species
- Lower extinction rate
- More nutrients within the soil
- Lesser vulnerability to drought, heat, cold, etc.
- More information, complexity and potential knowledge to be discovered within
- Greater productivity within: (i.e ability to nourish, support and grow)
- Ability to support larger fauna

A circle was used above as an example. One could just as easily substitute a square instead and get similar results. Therefore, consider a square 100 miles on a side. It has a ratio of area/edge of 10,000/400 which equals 25.

Assuming that square contains rainforest (but it could just as easily be another type of ecosystem), let's now fracture it. We'll turn it into a checkerboard of 64 black and white squares. Black are rainforest squares. White are squares burned to remove the trees, and then tilled for agriculture.

Our total area of rainforest within the checkerboard is now half what it was. The original square contained 10,000 square miles of rainforest. It now contains 5,000 square miles of rainforest. But look at the change in rainforest edges. The original square had only 400 miles of rainforest edge. The checkerboard has 1,600 miles of rainforest edge.

And so we can get a sense of the difference between these two extents of land. Recall that the unspoiled square had 10,000 square miles of rainforest and total edges measuring 400 miles with a ratio of 25. Look at the ratio of the fractured checkerboard to get a sense of how less rich its potential is. It's ratio is 5,000/1,600 which equals 3.125.

Compare the two numbers: 25 vs. 3.125.

More to say later.
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July 12, 2012, 07:33:58 PM
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Following so far, large whole tracts of land are healthier than small, fractured ones.

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July 12, 2012, 07:42:59 PM
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Following so far, large whole tracts of land are healthier than small, fractured ones.

Yes. More to come, but it will at least be several hours from now.
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July 12, 2012, 08:14:01 PM
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One thing you do not explain, however, is why. I will assume that explanation will come later.

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July 13, 2012, 04:41:33 PM
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One thing you do not explain, however, is why. I will assume that explanation will come later.

Before answering why, let me define some cases which cause edge effects.

Repurposing of land: Examples include agriculture, urban and suburban sprawl, etc.

Clearcutting: Clearcutting by the timber industry creates edge effects. Make no mistake about it - the ecosystem has been changed, and replanting of trees will not revert the area back to the original ecosystem in a period equal to the time it takes for the newly planted trees to mature. The original forest was an old growth forest, and when the newly planted trees finally mature, the resulting forest will be a secondary growth forest, which does not provide the same environment as the original old growth forest.

Roads: Going back to the circle example, if a road is placed through the center, then an edge effect is created. Depending on the type of road and how busy it is, the effect is dramatic. Essentially, you end up with two areas, each half the area of the original circle, and each area having an edge length not much less than the original circle. This is one of the reasons (among many) why there is such opposition to the idea of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's not just the idea of potential damage from oil spills (which is real), but the road systems which would need to be built to access the enterprise.

Fences: Land left in its natural state, but fenced, also creates an edge effect. A very damaging example would be the fence proposed along the U.S./Mexico border by certain politicians.
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July 15, 2012, 04:39:50 PM
 #6

Do I still have your attention, myrkul? I was intending to cover a lot of ground in this thread.
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July 15, 2012, 04:43:17 PM
 #7

Am I going to have to prompt you to continue every time?

I'm not stopping you. Go.

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July 15, 2012, 04:46:41 PM
 #8

Am I going to have to prompt you to continue every time?

I'm not stopping you. Go.

Obviously, others aren't participating in this thread. Some are reading, but I can't really gauge the interest. It does require effort, and I wish my points to be illustrative, comprehensive, and educational. A little feedback helps. I still intend to answer why, and a whole lot more. In the end, the goal is to have a heck of a lot of concepts all tied together, because they all interrelate.
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July 15, 2012, 04:52:27 PM
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Am I going to have to prompt you to continue every time?

I'm not stopping you. Go.

Obviously, others aren't participating in this thread. Some are reading, but I can't really gauge the interest. It does require effort, and I wish my points to be illustrative, comprehensive, and educational. A little feedback helps. I still intend to answer why, and a whole lot more. In the end, the goal is to have a heck of a lot of concepts all tied together, because they all interrelate.

This is a lecture, not a round table. Start illustrating your points. If I have questions, I will ask them. Arguing about this is not helping your case.

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July 16, 2012, 05:58:48 PM
 #10

Here's a general roster of concepts and terms (in no particular order) I'd like to cover, all interrelated. Any subset might serve to effectively illustrate some important points, but if one understands the entire dynamic taken as a whole, everything becomes much clear.

- Software algorithms
- Robotics
- Medicine
- Material science
- Architecture
- Edge effects
- Trophic cascades
- Island biogeography
- The Great Amphibian Dying
- Biodiversity
- Deforestation
- Umbrella species
- Habitat relocation
- Wildlife corridors
- Rewilding
- No till farming
- NGOs (Non-governmental organizations)
- PFP (Project Finance for Performance)
- SSE (Steady state economy)
- Patagonia (a territory in Argentina and Chile)
- Patagonia (the company)
- Yvon Chouinard
- Douglas Tompkins
- Whaling
- Poaching
- The spotted owl controversy
- Ecological services
- Riparian zones
- Dam building and dam busting
- Nonrenewable resources
- The dangers of ignorance
- Free market exploitation
- The destruction of information
- Brownlash
- Natural capital
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July 16, 2012, 06:23:53 PM
 #11

Here's a general roster of concepts and terms (in no particular order) I'd like to cover, all interrelated. Any subset might serve to effectively illustrate some important points, but if one understands the entire dynamic taken as a whole, everything becomes much clear.

*sigh*... We were doing so well. You were stating things, covering topics, You had almost stated your case. But now you've reverted to spasticly spouting unrelated - and unexplained - terms and concepts.

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July 16, 2012, 06:29:00 PM
 #12

Here's a general roster of concepts and terms (in no particular order) I'd like to cover, all interrelated. Any subset might serve to effectively illustrate some important points, but if one understands the entire dynamic taken as a whole, everything becomes much clear.

*sigh*... We were doing so well. You were stating things, covering topics, You had almost stated your case. But now you've reverted to spasticly spouting unrelated - and unexplained - terms and concepts.

Patience. There is nothing spastic here. The list of terms and concepts (not at all unrelated) will be explained, and how they interrelate as well. The list serves as notes to myself. Perhaps it is your insistence that I answer one question as opposed to continuing with explanations as I wish to build them that has stalled me. I am composing the answer as to why, but there is other ground I'd like to cover as well.

I'm doing this for your education. You needn't use terms such as spastic - as it is counter-productive. There's a lot of material here, and it is important. And yes, topics such as robotics and material science apply here as well.
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August 14, 2012, 08:07:04 AM
 #13

I am seeing someone who wants to tell someone else what they can and cant do with their land.

Why not get a job, save your money, buy your own land, and then you can be all happy to consider and do all those wonderful things .... to and on your own property. Then, upon any success, you could educate anyone willing to listen to you to initiate "change".

Thats how to convince people. Convincing governemnt to shove a gun in their face and killing them if they resist will only lead to open revolt and revolution... perhaps civil war. This isnt The Peoples Republic of America or the USSA... yet.

Be very careful son. Be sure you really want what you are asking for, and look at all the possibilities and rammifications, especially the agenda of the elites who funds and steers the agenda. There are millions of Americans awakening, becoming aware, and preparing for this. Think long and hard as to whether or not you feel this ideology is worth dying for. Its one thing on a forum to try and win an intellectial debate of text ideologies and wishes of a Utopian existance, but its another in reality. If what you want comes to fruition our communities and citizens will be even more fractured and split apart. Unity is needed to fight the insidious influences and new religion plaquing us today.

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August 14, 2012, 03:48:43 PM
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I am seeing someone who wants to tell someone else what they can and cant do with their land.

Why not get a job, save your money, buy your own land, and then you can be all happy to consider and do all those wonderful things .... to and on your own property. Then, upon any success, you could educate anyone willing to listen to you to initiate "change".

Thats how to convince people. Convincing governemnt to shove a gun in their face and killing them if they resist will only lead to open revolt and revolution... perhaps civil war. This isnt The Peoples Republic of America or the USSA... yet.

Be very careful son. Be sure you really want what you are asking for, and look at all the possibilities and rammifications, especially the agenda of the elites who funds and steers the agenda. There are millions of Americans awakening, becoming aware, and preparing for this. Think long and hard as to whether or not you feel this ideology is worth dying for. Its one thing on a forum to try and win an intellectial debate of text ideologies and wishes of a Utopian existance, but its another in reality. If what you want comes to fruition our communities and citizens will be even more fractured and split apart. Unity is needed to fight the insidious influences and new religion plaquing us today.

What I see in you is someone who can't tell the difference between science and politics. Ecology is science. You're obviously short changed if you can't tell the difference, thus rendering your whole post rather irrelevant, beginning with its very first sentence. I will listen to you if you bring yourself up to speed on the subject matter in this thread. Otherwise, your opinions belong within the context from where they originated, which is the non-scientific propaganda of the libertarian party.
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August 14, 2012, 06:13:51 PM
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I am seeing someone who wants to tell someone else what they can and cant do with their land.

Why not get a job, save your money, buy your own land, and then you can be all happy to consider and do all those wonderful things .... to and on your own property. Then, upon any success, you could educate anyone willing to listen to you to initiate "change".

Thats how to convince people. Convincing governemnt to shove a gun in their face and killing them if they resist will only lead to open revolt and revolution... perhaps civil war. This isnt The Peoples Republic of America or the USSA... yet.

Be very careful son. Be sure you really want what you are asking for, and look at all the possibilities and rammifications, especially the agenda of the elites who funds and steers the agenda. There are millions of Americans awakening, becoming aware, and preparing for this. Think long and hard as to whether or not you feel this ideology is worth dying for. Its one thing on a forum to try and win an intellectial debate of text ideologies and wishes of a Utopian existance, but its another in reality. If what you want comes to fruition our communities and citizens will be even more fractured and split apart. Unity is needed to fight the insidious influences and new religion plaquing us today.

What I see in you is someone who can't tell the difference between science and politics. Ecology is science. You're obviously short changed if you can't tell the difference, thus rendering your whole post rather irrelevant, beginning with its very first sentence. I will listen to you if you bring yourself up to speed on the subject matter in this thread. Otherwise, your opinions belong within the context from where they originated, which is the non-scientific propaganda of the libertarian party.

Well, at least we're in the right thread now. Go ahead and finish your thoughts from before.

Here's a general roster of concepts and terms (in no particular order) I'd like to cover, all interrelated. Any subset might serve to effectively illustrate some important points, but if one understands the entire dynamic taken as a whole, everything becomes much clear.

- Software algorithms
- Robotics
- Medicine
- Material science
- Architecture
- Edge effects
- Trophic cascades
- Island biogeography
- The Great Amphibian Dying
- Biodiversity
- Deforestation
- Umbrella species
- Habitat relocation
- Wildlife corridors
- Rewilding
- No till farming
- NGOs (Non-governmental organizations)
- PFP (Project Finance for Performance)
- SSE (Steady state economy)
- Patagonia (a territory in Argentina and Chile)
- Patagonia (the company)
- Yvon Chouinard
- Douglas Tompkins
- Whaling
- Poaching
- The spotted owl controversy
- Ecological services
- Riparian zones
- Dam building and dam busting
- Nonrenewable resources
- The dangers of ignorance
- Free market exploitation
- The destruction of information
- Brownlash
- Natural capital

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August 14, 2012, 08:25:28 PM
 #16

Well, at least we're in the right thread now. Go ahead and finish your thoughts from before.

Tell me sincerely where your interest lies within here, and why you wish me to continue. Be specific - not just some vague hand waving.
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August 14, 2012, 08:29:05 PM
 #17

Well, at least we're in the right thread now. Go ahead and finish your thoughts from before.

Tell me sincerely where your interest lies within here, and why you wish me to continue. Be specific - not just some vague hand waving.

Something in your ideology has you blinded to the benefits of anything else. This factor must be extremely compelling. I wish to understand the nature of this compelling factor in your ideology. I doubt you can single it out, though, so understanding the whole of your ideology is the best way to understand what is so compelling.

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August 14, 2012, 08:47:38 PM
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Well, at least we're in the right thread now. Go ahead and finish your thoughts from before.

Tell me sincerely where your interest lies within here, and why you wish me to continue. Be specific - not just some vague hand waving.

Something in your ideology has you blinded to the benefits of anything else. This factor must be extremely compelling. I wish to understand the nature of this compelling factor in your ideology. I doubt you can single it out, though, so understanding the whole of your ideology is the best way to understand what is so compelling.

Without preempting further specific topic discussion here, consider:

Imagine a world of sand (like Mars) and Myrkuls walking about. The point of such an imagining is not to demonstrate bleakness, but to demonstrate potential, or lack of.

If the only person available to speak to is exactly like you, then you likely won't learn anything new, or gain new insights. That's an argument for culture, and preservation of culture.

Similarly, the world of sand is bereft of complexity and diversity which would otherwise contain potential, both in terms of knowledge to be discovered, new knowledge to be produced (through evolution at multiple levels), and services provided.

The Earth is always losing both, and ever spiraling towards Mars. A victory against this is actually measured as a slowdown in the process, which is a sad benchmark. Without conflating this situation with politics, those are the facts.

Now, clearly, you're chomping on the bit to point out that government is the problem. Granted, that's part of the problem. Let's not argue how much, because once again, I know you're chomping at the bit to say that government is most of the problem. Don't go there, yet.

Instead, the important issue is that humanity, it's behavior, it's inexorable population growth, and the ignorance of the mechanics of the Earth are the problem.

Oh, and regarding beavers:

Beaver behavior and beaver dam building are part of nature because their activities change very slowly. Thus, nature has coevolved with them, and adapted.

Humanity, and its technologies advance at a rate that is ever faster, and affects nature at a rate which doesn't allow nature to adapt in a way that losses don't occur. It is fundamentally important to see the distinction, and recognize that humanity has a mostly negative and continuous impact on the richness that the Earth offers.
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August 14, 2012, 09:16:44 PM
 #19

Instead, the important issue is that humanity, it's behavior, it's inexorable population growth, and the ignorance of the mechanics of the Earth are the problem.

This is accurate. We clearly disagree about the solution, but we do agree on the problem.

Oh, and regarding beavers:

Beaver behavior and beaver dam building are part of nature because their activities change very slowly. Thus, nature has coevolved with them, and adapted.

Humanity, and its technologies advance at a rate that is ever faster, and affects nature at a rate which doesn't allow nature to adapt in a way that losses don't occur. It is fundamentally important to see the distinction, and recognize that humanity has a mostly negative and continuous impact on the richness that the Earth offers.

No, the difference is that beavers started making dams long ago, and nature has had a chance to adapt. We started making dams (at least at the scale we are now) less than 100 years ago. Nature's had no time to adjust. Realize, the changes and losses happened. They just happened long ago. To illustrate that point, imagine what happened when the first plants evolved. Suddenly there was this new, toxic chemical in the atmosphere: Oxygen. Life adapted, it changed. Now, without Oxygen, most of the life on earth would die.

You are looking at that first die-off from the advent of Oxygen and screaming "We have to kill the plants!!!"

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August 15, 2012, 03:00:22 AM
 #20

Instead, the important issue is that humanity, it's behavior, it's inexorable population growth, and the ignorance of the mechanics of the Earth are the problem.

This is accurate. We clearly disagree about the solution, but we do agree on the problem.

Oh, and regarding beavers:

Beaver behavior and beaver dam building are part of nature because their activities change very slowly. Thus, nature has coevolved with them, and adapted.

Humanity, and its technologies advance at a rate that is ever faster, and affects nature at a rate which doesn't allow nature to adapt in a way that losses don't occur. It is fundamentally important to see the distinction, and recognize that humanity has a mostly negative and continuous impact on the richness that the Earth offers.

No, the difference is that beavers started making dams long ago, and nature has had a chance to adapt. We started making dams (at least at the scale we are now) less than 100 years ago. Nature's had no time to adjust.

Just because this hypothesis of yours is more convenient for your political ideology doesn't mean it's an accurate assessment of reality.

Once again, you're making stuff up, and the only people who buy it are you're ideological buddies. But you don't need to convince them. I don't see this dialog as being very productive if you keep throwing random and incorrect assertions.

Why would you think the issue is how long ago beavers started making dams instead of how quickly or slowly they evolved the habit of doing so and how quickly this habit spread?
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