trees death rates wolf yellowstone

Must Other Life Forms Always Lose to Humans?
hunters land value

World's Big Trees Are Dying & a Famous Wolf is Killed

Competition for land is why our species kills others, not to mention each other, but sharing land efficiently leaves lots for others. We excerpt three 2012 articles from (1) Science News, Dec 6, on trees, (2) Common Dreams, Dec 10, on wolves by J. Queally, and (3) New Statesman, Dec 4, on taxing land by K. Lawton.

by Editors at Science News, by Jon Queally, and by Kayte Lawton

The deathrates among trees 100-300 years old in many of the world's forests, woodlands, savannahs, farming areas, and even in cities is rising.

Large old trees store huge amounts of carbon. They recycle soil nutrients, create rich patches for other life to thrive in. They influence the flow of water within landscapes and the local climate.

Scientists found similar trends at all latitudes, in California's Yosemite National Park, on the African savannahs, in the rainforests of Brazil, the temperate forests of Europe, and the boreal forests of the far north. Losses of large trees were also pronounced in agricultural landscapes and even cities, where people make efforts to preserve them.

The alarming decline in old trees in so many types of forest appears to be driven by a combination of forces, including land clearing, agricultural practices, man-made changes in fire regimes, logging and timber gathering, insect attack and rapid climatic changes.

Researchers liken the global loss of big trees to the tragedy that has already befallen the world's largest mammals, such as elephants, rhinos, tigers and whales

To read more

The wolf known as 832F was killed last week. The well-known alpha wolf from Yellowstone National Park was found shot and killed by a hunter late last week after she roamed over the park's western boundary into Wyoming.

The killing of the wolf known as 832F (also known as '06 by her admirers), was leader of the Lamar Canyon pack inside the park, is only the latest in a string of wolves killed by nearby hunters and ranchers after leaving the protection of the park.

Lamar Valley, an area rich in bison and elk, has a road offering vantage points for wildlife watchers equipped with cameras and spotting scopes. The Lamar Canyon pack could be counted on to roam the valley near dawn and dusk, allowing scientists and tourists to observe wolf behavior at a level of detail rarely seen outside National Geographic specials.

Her death marks the eighth collared wolf shot by hunters since the Wyoming wolf hunt began on October 1. The $4,000 GPS tracking collar has been returned to conservation researchers, who knew, based on its data, that 832F's Lamar Canyon pack only occasionally strayed beyond the park boundaries.

The long battle in western states over the status of the wolf population often runs tense. Many conservationists believe that hunters deliberately target wolves with tracking collars to undermine the ongoing efforts to learn and protect the animals. Worse are charges that hunters target these wolves simply for greater bragging rights.

To read more

JJS: Leaving land for wolves and trees does not mean humans must sacrifice but merely settle on land more compactly and not waste so much. There is a way to spur owners to take less land and use what they take more efficiently. And that is to charge all land occupants “land dues” or land taxes.

Properly designed property (and land) taxes make economic and fiscal sense according to the OECD, particularly if levied annually on regularly updated property values. These taxes tend to have the smallest negative impact on incentives to work or invest, provide a relatively stable tax base, and could improve the use of land and property.

A flat rate tax of 0.6 per cent on current property values would raise roughly the same revenue as council tax but with lower bills for people living in homes worth less than £250,000. More radical would be a land value tax, popular with economists but operated in relatively few countries. This could help free up underused land for house-building.

The biggest block to reforming property taxes is the fear that large numbers of middle class families will end up paying more tax. But let’s not forget the removal of mortgage interest tax relief, a massive subsidy to middle class homeowners, which was gradually phased out by 2000 with little public outcry. Incremental change coupled with some off-setting of losses among those paying more seems to have been important.

To read more

JJS: Once people who love nature at last get up to speed on natural law, then they’ll see how a fair economy can spare the ecosystem.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

Not Enough Earth For Everybody? - The Progress Report

Tax Breaks For, and Taxes Upon, Polluters

In Paraguay, In Senegal, the Struggle Goes On

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