Colonization of microclimates

Rich Thomson rthomson at
Wed Jun 10 17:47:04 EST 1992

In article <spears.21 at>
	spears at (Gene Spears) writes:
>You describe a very interesting habitat that I would recommend be disturbed 
>as little as possible.

One thing that I didn't mention before is that this is BLM land --
there is already cattle grazing all over it.  Everyone seems to be
telling me that I shouldn't introduce any foriegn species, etc.  Well,
its already been done!  Cattle are *not* indiginous to this area and
do plenty of damage!  There is plenty of sheep grazing here as well.
I'm not saying that this is justification for me introducing the
botanic equivalent of a cane toad.  I'm talking about plants that
could conceivably get there given the right circumstances (from the
nearby mountain range), but just haven't gotten there so far.  For
instance, there are isolated junipers colonizing certain portions of
the lava flow, but there are some spots where it seems they might fare
better where there are none yet.

>While each little habitat "island" may have a limited number of 
>species (and classic island biogeographic theory suggests that the number of 
>species in each "island" is at equilibrium, and your efforts would only 
>temporarily increase diversity), the different "islands" may have different 
>assemblages of species.

Where can I study about this "classic island biogeographic theory"?
If we're talking the kind of island in the ocean, how is that relevant
to a place like the middle of a continent?

>	The system that you describe would be an ideal one for ecological 
>studies of extinction and colonization.  Better to leave it alone for some 
>future research.

Better get there before the cows get at it, then.  This area also
includes the following "goodies": plenty of monocrop farming right
next door, the free world's largest Beryllium mine, various mining
prospects, garbage dumps, and a cinders mine (for garden lava rock).
This may give you a different idea of what this place looks like (my
first description only described the aspects relevant to my query);
this is definately *not* a pristine, untouched environment.

My basic point is: man's current effect on this area doesn't seem
positive, so how can an individual act in such a way as to counteract
the negative effects of man's other endeavors?  I'm thinking something
similar to the man who planted acorns in Southern France after WW II,
reforesting an entire locale by himself by patient, persistent
planting of acorns.

Would Johnny Appleseed need an environmental impact statement today?

						-- Rich
	Repeal the personal income tax; vote Libertarian in 1992.
Disclaimer: I speak for myself, except as noted; Copyright 1992 Rich Thomson
UUCP: ...!uunet!!rthomson			Rich Thomson
Internet: rthomson at	IRC: _Rich_		PEXt Programmer

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