Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

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edfrank
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by edfrank » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:12 am

Kirk,

Thanks for posting this article to the BBS.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Marcboston
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by Marcboston » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:47 pm

Rand wrote:
jamesrobertsmith wrote:You wouldn't want to eat the fish caught at Bikini Atoll. They remain highly suspect from radiation. Some of the former tenants want to return because the fishing there is so good. But when samples are taken, the toxicity is still too high for human consumption.
It always makes me a little queasy to contemplate how much finer the line is between healthy and dead in the natural world versus our civilized one. ("Oh look at all the magnificent animals!" "uh yeah...all the non-magnificent ones ended up as some other critter's lunch)


I also wonder about long term bio-accumulation of radionuclides in top predators like wolves and eagles. They showed radioactive bones (SR-90?), and kinda left it up in the air how much of a problem it might be. How long did it take DDT to become a noticeable problem? ~20-30 years?
I was wondering the same thing. The PBS special was interesting and good television. Maybe it was addressed when I walked out to get something to eat or hit the bathroom but it never delved into the bio-accumulation of radioactive materials these wild animals that are surely being exposed to. How will it affect other wolf populations or animals outside this area? The show really glossed over the health issues these animals will face or how it will affect their species when the exposed animals intermingle with ones outside this area. I remember at one point during the show a tranquilized wolf was being inspected by a scientist who had to be careful not to breath in the wolf’s hair so not to expose himself to radioactive material. That said, it was interesting to see how quickly nature fills the void after man leaves a place.

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Rand
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by Rand » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:00 pm

Well, they did say that squirrels born in the red forest had twice the rate of abnormalities of squirrels in other areas. While unacceptable in a human frame of reference was a bearable burden as far as survivability was concerned.

Red Forest is the most contaminated area around chernobyl. At the time of the accident the radiation was so intense it actually killed the trees, which were then bulldozed under and a new forest grew on top.

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:41 am

edfrank wrote: I don't believe that a similar "success" would be achieved through a hands-off approach in every area that has been trammeled. In many areas the results of a hands off approach would result, in a relatively short period of time, in the establishment of some type of ecosystem. However the result may be one of an extremely simplified ecosystem dominated by one or two, or even a handful of non-native species - this is not a natural ecosystem but an artificial system whose structure is defendant on the past utilization of the property. For example, the establishment of a field of Kudzu on an abandoned property is not necessarily a good thing even though it is a self determining ecosystem.
Probably in the case of a field of kudzu (or some other non-native invasive) that formula, "time and an absence of human intervention," would need to be even more heavily weighted to time (coupled with the total absence of human intervention). The invasives are here to stay unfortunately, but nature will always recover, will always self-correct, given enough time. We might be talking about 1,000 years or even 5,000 years, but nature will eventually figure it out. So we'll never see it in our lifetimes.

Not to say we can't deliberately manage specific patches of forestland, or even individual trees, in the meantime to combat invasives. If the HWA ends up attacking the handful of hemlocks in my yard I will certainly bring the hammer down on them.

P.S.: Thanks for posting the video clips!
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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edfrank
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by edfrank » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:23 am

Kirk,

What I seem to see, and perhaps it is only my mistaken impression, is that many of the invasive species have become established as a result of human disturbance or lack of disturbance of natural systems. In areas without this human factor the invasives may still be present but are only a small component of the ecosystem rather than a dominant factor. If something more closely resembling the pre-invasive natural systems can be reestablished - even through active human intervention - then the role the invasive species play in the ecosystem may be minimized and result in a more diverse setting over the long term.

Time will allow changes, yes. Some stable ecosystem will be established given enough time, yes. But time by itself will not always yield the same result in a given piece of land. It matters in the long term what the starting point looked like. Different collections of species initially will in result in different end-points over time as there isn't one single ecosystem that can potentially become a stable end point given certain climatic conditions. There are many different ones that could potentially become established, some are more favorable for wildlife than others. Some are more diverse than others. I feel with restoration efforts in the initial starting point we can affect the outcome of what results in the long term. I suppose it is arrogant to suggest that some outcomes are better than others, but arrogant or not a long-term goal of preservation of native species and plants and maintenance of a high diversity ecosystem are in my opinion worthy goals.

We are always going to have a fragmented landscape as long as humans are present in large numbers. A loss of a species in an area, may mean because of lack of connectivity that lost species cannot become reestablished on their own. There will be a trend toward simplification of the ecosystem as numbers of species present declines. This can be seen when looking at species diversity on islands. Large islands formed by breaking away from the mainland start out with a large number of species initially, and then the diversity declines over time. Islands formed in an oceanic setting have no inhabitant initially and the number of species increases over time as more species make their way to the island. In both cases in isolation speciation will take place among the extant species to fill open ecological niches. I suppose eventually speciation might take place in these isolated wilderness pockets, but I am not sure what will happen given the broad scale impact people have on even these wilderness pockets from outside of the wilderness areas. We can counter the loss of native species, often species lost through simple chance, by reintroducing these lost species and giving them a chance at survival, but again this would require human intervention counter to the wilderness ideal. I don't know. Overall the wilderness ideal is better than forests managed for timber production, and I support these efforts. I just am not convinced that the strict hands-off approach is always the best option. Maybe you are right...

Thanks for the reply.

Ed Frank
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

Joe

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by Joe » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:32 am

the only real invasive species are naked apes, who climbed down out of the trees a few million years ago, then invaded the entire planet, killing almost anything that moved including their fellow naked apes, burning the land, chopping down the forests, enslaving plants and animals and other naked apes, digging into the earth for resources, poisoning the air and water, covering millions of square miles with their artificial habitats, eventually learning to split atoms and magically talk to each other over vast distances once they tamed electromagnetic energy, and now they're close to roasting the climate

a truly invasive species! the only one that really matters....

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edfrank
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by edfrank » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:43 am

Kirk,

We have enough areas not suitable for wilderness designation where we can play with ecosystem restoration and see what results can be achieved. Pure wilderness areas can serve as a touchstone to compare between themselves and what we see in forests managed for timber, areas managed for parks, and areas where we are trying ecological restoration. In fairness, most of the proposed wilderness areas are not so horribly impacted that the native natural systems have been overwhelmed by invasives, so the hands off approach is a valid approach. (I still might like to tweak some areas with invasive removal and reintroductions) I am a supporter of wilderness designations because that is a far better ideal than managing most of these roadless areas to produce timber. I just am uncomfortable with the black and white nature of the designation.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:11 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KH29JFybz8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KH29JFybz8
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:24 pm

Lesson learned is: Humans suck. The Earth will recover once we're gone (or once we're reduced to a primitive state).

Joe

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by Joe » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:28 pm

jamesrobertsmith wrote:Lesson learned is: Humans suck. The Earth will recover once we're gone (or once we're reduced to a primitive state).
I believe humans will eventually fix their damage to the Earth and get into an equilibrium with it- or, at least I think it's a possibility. It's all kinda miraculous that we've gotten as far as we have and there's no reason to think the "miracles" have ended. I don't say this in a religeous sense- only that I think the cosmos is infinitely complex and holds endless possibilities including a healing of the Earth without the end of the "naked apes". This point in time may be just the very beginning of the story....

or maybe not---

Joe

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