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Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Yesterday we examined how ridding forests of non-native invasive trees and plants can jump-start biodiversity............Today we involve ourselves with an Oregon State U. Study that reveals that by draining reservoirs, Fishery Managers can help revive populations of endangered Chinook Salmon by virtually causing non-native predatory fish to go extinct............"Draining the Oregon Fallcreek Reservoir led to its intended result—giving juvenile chinook salmon a way out of the reservoir"............. "At the same time, invasive crappie and largemouth bass numbers began declining until there were none"........"During the draining process, bass and crappie get pushed out and into the Willamette......."While filling the river with these exotic and invasive warm-water fish seems like a bad idea, they are in fact pushed downstream in the fall and winter when the water is cold and the flow is faster"........"This puts them at a disadvantage compared to when they leak out of the reservoir in the summer when the the Williamette runs warmer, allowing them to thrive and multiply"................"This extreme Reservoiir Draining Management paradigm lasts only a week in duration, but has long-term, positive implications for the whole ecosystem"..........."It makes the reservoir begin to act as a natural river again, positively affecting the entire native fish community"


Extreme draining of reservoir aids young salmon and eliminates invasive fish

The elimination of largemouth bass and crappie from Fall Creek Reservoir, about 30 miles southeast of Eugene in in the Willamette River basin, could have management implications for reservoirs that have been invaded by certain species of that eat other fish, according to Christina Murphy, a recent Oregon State University doctoral graduate and lead author on the study.
"Even though the strategy appears extreme, it's both helping juvenile salmonids pass downstream and promoting a native species-dominated ," Murphy said. "Bass and crappie, which are major predators in the reservoir, have been pushed out and into the Willamette. That can be worrying because filling the river with invasive, warm-water fish seems like a bad idea, but these reservoirs are leaking warm-water fish all the time.
"The good news is that they were pushed downstream in the fall and winter, when the water is cold and the flow is faster, so they should be at a disadvantage in the Willamette River—compared to when they leak out of the reservoir in the summer."




Fish passage out of reservoirs is a critical issue for downstream movement of juvenile salmonids and other migratory species. Because of their declining numbers through the decades, nine West Coast populations of Chinook salmon are federally threatened and endangered species.
In the Pacific Northwest, large dams and reservoirs have been constructed on many salmon-bearing rivers. Salmon are anadromous: they migrate from home streams to the ocean as juveniles and return a few years later as adults to spawn, so damming rivers can delay downstream migrations by juvenile salmon for months or years.
For the past several years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has briefly drained Fall Creek Reservoir in the fall to help juvenile spring chinook salmon move out of the reservoir and continue their downstream migration.

Fall Creeek Reservoir indicated by lower red arrow








Williamette River indicated by red line








A team of researchers from Oregon State, the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Corps of Engineers analyzed fish capture data from 2006-2017—annual draining started halfway through this period—to examine changes in timing of passage out of the lake and to compare fish species composition.
The team found that draining the 50-year-old reservoir led to its intended result—giving juvenile chinook salmon a way out of the reservoir. At the same time, crappie and largemouth bass numbers began declining until there were none.
"We have also been sampling fish within the reservoir during the summer," Murphy said. "In 2012, we could capture 10 bass an hour. This went down each year. By the summer of 2015 we only caught one during all of our sampling and in 2016, we didn't capture any. This change was reflected in the data from the trap downstream too. The decline occurred with crappie, but faster."
"This extreme draining management is only about a week in duration, but has implications for the whole ecosystem. It makes the reservoir begin to act as a natural river again affecting the entire fish community," said Ivan Arismendi, an assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences and co-author on the study.
Sherri Johnson, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, said, "This type of research and monitoring before and after major changes in management of a reservoir is crucial for improving our ability to balance water availability while maintaining ."
Gregory Taylor and Todd Pierce of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were co-authors on the study. Funding for the research was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

More information: Christina A. Murphy et al, Short‐term reservoir draining to streambed for juvenile salmon passage and non‐native fish removal, Ecohydrology (2019). DOI: 10.1002/eco.2096

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Native plants in a Forest understory contribute to the health and stability of woodland ecosystems".............."It is a fact that native shrubs don't reach the same density in the understory as invasive, non-native shrubs do, having dire implications for bird, mammal, insect and forest amphibian communities"............"In eastern deciduous forests of North America, invasive, non-native shrubs are increasing in richness and abundance at the expense of native species".......... "Using an non-native shrub removal experiment over a 7 year span starting in 2009, Penn State Researchers have provided us with insight into the effect of repeated removal of a suite of 18 invasive shrub species dominated by border privet"............... "In a region in Pennsylvania known as Hartley Wood, non-natives were removed from five 20-m-diameter treatment plots"............. By 2016, there was an increase in native plant diversity, understory species abundance, and overstory tree species regeneration for individuals under a meter in height"..........."For plants 1 to 4 m in height, the non-native removal treatment has a positive effect on understory woody species, but did not result in the regeneration of native overstory trees"............. "A lack of overstory tree regeneration to greater heights is not surprising, given the time frame and the closed-canopy conditions, as well as other factors such as white-tailed deer over-browsing"................While this research is both relevant and illuminating, the question I pose is what is the cost, feasibility and reality of this type removal paradigm actually being implemented over large tracts of our species-compromised open space?

https://phys.org/news/2019-05-native-regenerate-invasive-shrubs.html

Native forest plants rebound when invasive shrubs are removed

"We believe that's because invasive shrubs take up residence in the best spots in the forest. They are most successful where there are the most resources—sunlight, soil nutrients and water. Then, when invasive shrubs are removed, the growth of native plants in those locations beats expectations."
She drew that conclusion after participating in a long-term project in the Arboretum at Penn State, which involved repeated removals of a suite of 18 invasive shrub species and closely monitoring the growth of native plants. That removal experiment was initiated by Margot Kaye, associate professor of forest ecology. In the experiment, after invasives were removed over seven years, plant diversity, native understory species abundance and overstory tree species regeneration, increased.

Non-Native Asian Kudzu on floor and climbing and 
"drowning" the Georgia Forest













The study took place in a woodlot known as the Hartley Wood, a unique old-growth tract of about 42 acres adjacent to what is now a municipal park, where the mostly oak, hickory and maple trees escaped the loggers' blades. A massive white oak that died there in 2000 was determined to have germinated around 1673. But likely because of its proximity to many landscaped homes, the Hartley Wood has been beset by an invasion of exotic plants, and Arboretum managers hope to eliminate them.
Significantly, Maynard-Bean noted, the research demonstrates that sampling the abundance of invasive shrubs and native plants in a forest can minimize negative impacts that invasive shrubs have on native plant numbers.
"We found that seven years of invasive shrub removal boosted natural regeneration of native plants that exceeded the abundance measured in unmanaged forest understories with low levels of shrub invasion," she said. "In this study, in which invasive shrubs have been prominent in the understory for more than 20 years, an ambient sampling approach underestimates the effect of invasive shrubs and the benefits of their removal."

Non-Native Asian Honeysucke(behind the man)
invading and taking over large expanses
of the northeastern forest understory











This research has allowed the native forest plant community to respond to invasive removal over nearly a decade, and highlights the capacity for that system to rebound, pointed out Kaye, whose research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences has been studying the impacts of woody shrub invasion on eastern forest dynamics for even longer.
The findings of the study, published recently in Invasive Plant Science and Management, are important, Kaye explained, because invasive shrubs are increasing in abundance at the expense of native species across eastern deciduous forests of North America. Interest in invasive shrub removal to restore native habitat is growing but forest managers are not sure about how much natural regeneration of native plants they can expect.
"A lot of people think that when you remove invasive shrubs you have to plant natives, and that is obviously helpful but difficult to afford on a large scale," Maynard-Bean said. "But there are native plants in the forest that are mixed with the invasives, and if you maintain the removal, the natives will come back in and take over."
The research is relevant because eastern deciduous forests are becoming more fragmented as urban and suburban areas extend into forests, and associated edges and open spaces have allowed invasive shrubs to make inroads. That does not bode well for wildlife, Maynard-Bean said.
"Native plants in the understory contribute to the health and stability of the forest ecosystem," she said. "Native shrubs don't reach the same density in the understory as invasive shrubs do, and that has implications for bird, insect and even forest amphibian communities."
more information: Erynn Maynard-Bean et al, Invasive shrub removal benefits native plants in an eastern deciduous forest of North AmericaInvasive Plant Science and Management (2019). DOI: 10.1017/inp.2018.35

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Since man first came to understand that animal skins could provide all sorts of essential clothing and footwear, hides were tanned using animal brains, dung, urine, ash and smoke".........."As man came to understand how chemistry could speed up and make more profitable the tanning process, trees and other vegetable and minerals became the ingredients of choice"............"Eastern hemlock trees played a crucial role in the early hide-tanning industry"................. "In the industry’s 19th century heyday, as many as 64 tanneries were operating in the Catskill region of New York, and estimates hold that 70 million hemlock trees were harvested for their bark".............."This story played out across the Northeast and helped shape the forest that we know today"............."The Dutch built New York’s first large scale tannery in 1638 in New Amsterdam, in an area later known as “The Swamp” near the present-day Brooklyn Bridge"............."This was an ideal location because hides could be shipped in from foreign sources and water was readily available"................"The area soon became concentrated with tanneries and leather-goods manufacturers, gaining its name from the large quantities of wastewater filled with organic matter and the constant odor of curing animal hides"..............."What New York City lacked, however, were large groves of hemlock, which grew farther upriver in the Catskills, Adirondacks, New England, and Pennsylvania"..............."Coupled with rising displeasure with the horrible conditions of “The Swamp,” this led to the development of tanneries across much of the Northeast"............."Up until the last 30 years, one could travel almost any road in Pennsylvania, New York, and across New England and spot the distinctive hemlock trees peeking out of a mixed northern hardwood forest"............. "Hemlock thrived in moist areas, where it was found in almost pure stands"..........."Its dense canopy blotted out the sun and sheltered mosses and lichens, brook trout and salamanders, among other species"............"A hemlock swamp was a familiar sight to anyone who hunted deer or trekked through the woods and mountain areas"............A real shame that Hemlock has been under siege from the non-native Asian Wooly Adelgid, a sucking insect without natural enemies to neutralize it in the USA............Like the American Chestnut and American Elm, the Hemlock that created jobs, wealth and optimized biological diversity could be heading to blink-out!

https://northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/hemlock-and-hide-the-tanbark-industry-in-old-new-york

Hemlock and Hide: The Tanbark Industry in Old New York

Hemlock and Hide: The Tanbark Industry in Old New York
Courtesy of the Zadock Pratt Museum
Since the dawn of history, humans have made great use of leather. They’ve worn it, walked on it, sat on it, wrote on it. Turning animal skin into a durable product requires processing, and in primitive times, hides were tanned using animal brains, dung, urine, ash, and smoke. As our understanding of chemistry evolved, these materials were replaced by vegetable, mineral, and then nonorganic ingredients.
Today, synthetic materials have replaced leather in many shoes and boots; nylon and reinforced cotton have replaced leather in coats; and a cow hide is more likely to become gelatin than it is a saddle. All of this can make it hard to remember that at one time the manufacturing of leather goods was an economic engine sustaining many communities in the northeastern United States.













From a forestry perspective, it’s also worth remembering that eastern hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) played a crucial role in the early hide-tanning industry. In the industry’s 19th century heyday, as many as 64 tanneries were operating in the Catskill region of New York, and estimates hold that 70 million hemlock trees were harvested for their bark. This story played out across the Northeast and helped shape the forest that we know today.
The tanning process
In colonial America, the creation of leather from animal skins was a crucial part of life. Back then, almost every farm and homestead prepared its own leather from slaughtered domestic or wild animals. With the rise of cities and the specialization of work, leather tanning quickly developed into its own industry.













The Dutch built New York’s first large scale tannery in 1638 in New Amsterdam, in an area later known as “The Swamp” near the present-day Brooklyn Bridge. This was an ideal location because hides could be shipped in from foreign sources and water was readily available. The area soon became concentrated with tanneries and leather-goods manufacturers, gaining its name from the large quantities of wastewater filled with organic matter and the constant odor of curing animal hides. What New York City lacked, however, were large groves of hemlock, which grew farther upriver in the Catskills, Adirondacks, New England, and Pennsylvania. Coupled with rising displeasure with the horrible conditions of “The Swamp,” this led to the development of tanneries across much of the Northeast.

The Wolly Adelgid sucking insect from Japan is killing our Hemlocks














In the 19th century, the process to convert animal hides into useable leather involved several steps. After the hide was taken off the animal, it was covered with salt, which simply acted as a preservative. After being shipped to a tannery, the hide was soaked in water until it was soft and any last pieces of flesh and fat were removed. Next, hides were soaked in lime for several days. The lime solution dissolved the hair and epidermis and caused the hide to swell, which opened the fiber bundles in the dermis layer for later penetration by the tanning material. After swelling, the hides were scraped, neutralized with vinegar, shaved into uniform thickness, and often split in half lengthwise for ease of handling.














At this point, the hides were ready for tanning, a process that involved soaking the hides in vats of tannic acid, a colorless – though not odorless – astringent made from plant tannins. While historically many plant species have been used to make tannic acid, hemlock bark was the preferred source of tannins in the Northeast because of its high tannin content of 10-12 percent. Tannins bind the collagen proteins in the leather, making them less water-soluble and more resistant to decomposition. Hemlock tannins give leather a distinctive, deep reddish-brown color. Other tree species, such as oak, the mainstay of the southern tanning industry, produce a lighter, yellowish-colored leather. In the early days of the industry, a hide spent about six months curing in the bark solution.
Using hemlock for tanbark
Hemlock is native to North America, forming dense stands up and down the eastern seaboard. It is often the dominant conifer along streambanks and the lower slopes of hillsides. It will grow in dense shade and is a major component of many forests, growing alongside maple, cherry, and white pine. It can be very slow growing, as in swamps, or grow rapidly in open areas with well-drained soil, where it often reaches heights of 70 to 100 feet. Hemlock trees can live for over 250 years, or in very rare cases, over 800 years

.
Nothing quite like a Hemlock grove in a northeastern forest















Early tanbark harvesters obtained hemlock bark in two relatively straightforward ways. Some girdled trees in the spring when the bark was loose, or “slipping,” then returned later to harvest the loosened bark “on the stump” – an act that left gleaming, barkless trees beneath the dark hemlock canopy. The more common method was to cut down the tree and then peel the bark off as far as practicable, cutting it into four-foot strips. The tree’s trunk was sometimes sawn into boards, but since hemlock is inferior to white pine for building purposes, lots of wood was left to rot in the forest. The bark was the only desired product.
After the bark was removed, it was placed on the ground with the inner, or flesh, side facing up to hasten drying and prevent formation of mold. Bark was then stacked in large piles off the ground for further drying and to await transport to the tannery. Shipping long distance in the 1800s was costly. Bark was heavy and bulky and had to be hand-loaded onto wagons or sleds pulled by horses to the tannery. In contrast, salted hides were lighter and easier to maneuver, so the hides were, in effect, brought to the hemlock, and tanneries were built close to hemlock stands.














At the tannery, conveniently sited on rivers or lakes, the bark was ground or shredded and placed in a series of hot-water filled tubs. Using a passive method, it took about four days for the tannins to leach out of the bark – steam infusions halved the time. The resulting tanning liquor was then circulated through the tanning vats in increasingly acidic solutions. Spent bark was dried and used for fuel to heat the vats.
The rise of tanneries
In the mid 1800s, fortunes were made and lost as entrepreneurs took advantage of the lucrative trade in leather. Tanneries spurred the development of communities, some of which still exist today. William Edwards was the first large-scale tanner in the Catskills. Raised in Massachusetts, where he had made and lost several fortunes in the tanning business, Edwards built a tannery in 1817 on the Schoharie Kill, at what is now the village of Hunter. Business was good, but Edwards expanded too quickly and took on too much debt. In 1839, a mere 20 years after starting, Edwards was once again in dire straits, filing for bankruptcy and closing the plant. In spite of his flamboyant behavior, he did bring several mechanical innovations into the industry, including a hide mill that was used to soften hides and a roller mill that was used for finishing sole leather.
Soon, other towns in the Catskills developed around the industry. Tannersville, today a popular vacation spot, was originally a home for many of the immigrant settlers who found work harvesting hemlock and working in the local tanneries. Rufus Palen constructed a tannery at the present day Palenville. Zadock Pratt established the largest tannery in the Catskills, and the town of Prattsville survives today, though the tannery lasted only 20 years (1825-1845). During that short time, about 2,000 people lived in Prattsville and were employed at Pratt’s tannery. In 1868, an estimated two million hides were tanned in Sullivan, Greene, and Delaware counties.














The local forests soon felt the effect of the tanbark rush. Hemlock stands were quickly cleared, bark stripped, and most of the wood left to rot. Historical texts state that two men could fell trees and peel two or three cords of hemlock bark per day. Bob Steuding, in his book The Heart of the Catskills, estimates that in its 20-year history, the Pratt tannery alone used 100,000 cords of hemlock bark from an estimated 400,000 trees.
When the easily accessible hemlock stands in the Catskills were exhausted, tanners looked to the Adirondack foothills for further supplies. Here, water was plentiful, and the Erie Canal and emerging railroads facilitated the shipment of both hides and leather. In wet areas, hemlock logs were used to make plank roads on which a horse could pull the heavy wagons or winter sleds loaded with bark. Similar situations existed in New England, where early tanneries near the seacoast gave way to newer ones farther up into the mountains. In all areas, communities sprang up around the tanneries. In Hides, Hemlocks and Adirondack History, Barbara McMartin wrote that the Adirondack region had 153 tanneries in 1850. By 1880, the number had shrunk to 112, of which roughly half were also large manufacturers of finished leather goods. Johnstown and Gloversville still retain some of this leather manufacturing, although the tanneries have long since disappeared. Tanneries operated in almost every county in northern New York. Major concentrations could be found along the Black River and West Canada Creek in Warren and Saratoga Counties and as far north as Essex County.


The Wolly Adelgid that kills Hemlocks













Life in a tannery town was tough. The work was hard manual labor. Living next to a tannery meant the constant stench of curing leather and stagnant pools of waste material. Streams became heavily polluted as tanning liquors, lime solutions, flesh, and hair were discharged directly into them. Hillsides were stripped of hemlock. On the other hand, the tanneries provided a livelihood, often for immigrants, and gave local farmers a market for the hides of slaughtered animals. Some of the tannery workers owned farms and worked in the tanneries part time or seasonally. Others lived in boardinghouses at the tanneries, where they worked 12-hour days with only Sundays off. Besides the men directly employed at the mill, the industry indirectly employed many others, including the bark peelers, who sold their bark by the cord or contracted their labor by the day. The bark peelers would set up camps in the forest during the spring peeling season and strip trees from dawn until dusk.
An industry in decline
By the 1900s, the tanning industry was changing and people’s attitudes towards heavily polluted streams and obnoxious odors were also changing. In the coming years, many factors would combine to spell the end of the hemlock tanning industry. The depletion of accessible hemlock was an important one. This was overshadowed, however, by better transportation by rail and highway that lowered the cost of shipping bark and freed tanneries from locating close to a bark supply. Beef farming also consolidated and moved west, which increased shipping costs for hides. Tanneries began to import bark from tropical species, yielding leathers with different colors and properties that suited the changing tastes of consumers. Chromium, oils, aldehydes, and synthetics began to replace plant tannins, and these chemical processes tanned hides much more quickly than the tree-bark method. The mechanization of manufacturing placed leather tanning, with its heavy dependence on manuallabor, at a disadvantage. The economic conditions of the late 1800s were another reason for the demise of the tanning industry in the Northeast. Depressions and skepticism had set in, capital was harder to obtain, and businesses were closing. Although some plants in New Jersey used bark until the 1920s, the hemlock bark-tanning industry had largely ended by the beginning of the 20th century.














And what happened to the hemlock? Early writers saw denuded hillsides, with rotting hemlock trees stripped of their bark, and bitterly lamented the destruction of majestic hemlock forests that had stood for hundreds of years. Their fear fed into the popular view, at the beginning of the 20th century, that the country had lost its forests forever. Indeed, hemlock forests that were ruthlessly clearcut did not regenerate quickly. Many tanneries left eroded soil, silted streams, and sometimes piles of hemlock bark rotting in the woods. On rare occasions, one can still see the remains of these abandoned bark piles.
Despite all this, hemlock came back. Today hemlock timber is harvested for lumber and wood pulp. Although the wood is difficult to finish, in a rough state it makes good construction timber. Hemlock’s use for wood pulp is a fairly recent development, but Finch Paper Co. in Glens Falls, New York, has based its entire paper-making operations on hemlock, which is much cheaper than other species and produces paper of good quality. Hemlock from New York and New England is also going to Canada for both pulpwood and lumber.
Today, one can travel almost any road in Pennsylvania, New York, and across New England and spot the distinctive hemlock trees peeking out of a mixed northern hardwood forest. Hemlock thrives in moist areas, where it’s found in almost pure stands – its dense canopy blotting out the sun and sheltering mosses and lichens, brook trout and salamanders, among other species. A hemlock swamp is a familiar sight to anyone who has hunted deer or trekked through our woods and mountain areas. That the hemlock has returned is a testament to the inherent biological ability of the species to survive.
Hugh O. Canham is emeritus professor of forest and resource economics at the SUNY college of Environmental Science and Forestry. He lives in North Syracuse, New York.
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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Hemlock woolly adelgid nymphs settled at the base of hemlock needles.  Note that these young adelgids have just begun to form the white wool around the edges.The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae(HWA), a tiny sap-sucking insect related to aphids, is causing widespread death and decline of hemlock trees in the eastern United States. This species, native to Asia and the Pacific Northwest, was first noted in the eastern United States in 1951 in a park in Richmond, VA. The genotype present in eastern North America originated in Japan and was probably introduced unintentionally with ornamental Japanese hemlocks. It initially spread slowly until the late 1980s when it reached natural forests and began to kill trees by the thousands. It has since spread into at least 17 states from the Smoky Mountains to southern Maine. The HWA has few natural enemies in eastern North America, no parasitoids worldwide, and our native eastern hemlock species are neither resistant to nor tolerant of adelgid feeding. Without these natural defenses, the adelgid poses a very serious threat to the sustainability of eastern hemlocks.
Research on the HWA by scientists at the Northern Research Station and their cooperators is focused on outlining the scope of the problem and identifying management options. Specifically, work on the HWA falls into four inter-related areas.
  • Risk, Detection, and Spread: Understanding if, when, and how the adelgid is likely to infest new forests provides critical information for managers as they work to identify areas that are at high riskand allows managers to prioritize control efforts based on where and when those efforts will be most effective.
  • Biology and Ecology: Work is underway to improve our understanding of the biology of the HWA, including its life history, reproduction, and ecological role.  The data can provide the basis for evaluating where, when, and under what conditions the adelgid is likely to cause damage, as well as what basic mechanisms may act to control populations. 
  • Control and Management: Data collected by evaluating adelgid biology, ecology, landscape risk, and spread are used to develop control and management techniques.  These techniques include the development of resistance to the adelgid in our native eastern and Carolina hemlocks.  Control and management efforts also include the development of appropriate natural enemies as biological controls.  Although chemical controls, such as the use of systemic insecticides and horticultural oil, have proven effective in controlling adelgids in yards, gardens, and parks, the cost, effort, and environmental consequences associated with these chemicals make them inappropriate for forests at the landscape scale.
  • Effects and ImpactsAssociated with efforts to control and manage the adelgid are efforts to understand the nature and magnitude of adelgid impacts on eastern forests.  Current work includes efforts to identify those impacts both directly through the loss of hemlock species and indirectly through changes in the structure and biodiversity of eastern forests. This information can be used to evaluate the severity and nature of the threat to eastern forests posed by the HWA.             

Thursday, May 16, 2019

In the USA east, Mountain Caribou went extinct in the late 19th century.................In the USA west, the last herd of these iconic browsers are now also functionally extinct.............Known as the Selkirk herd(Norther Washington State Mountians into southern British Columbia, Canada),), the final two remaining Caribou were rounded up over the past two years and transplanted into what is known as the North Columbia,British Columbia herd.................."This is the 11th hour for British Columbia's southern mountain caribou that had also occupied northern Washington State"............ "At the turn of the 20th century, scientists believe, there were between 30,000 and 40,000 caribou in BC"................"As of 2014, the federal government estimated the number of caribou at 5,800, in 38 subpopulations distributed among three groups: Northern, Central, and Southern"............"The Southern Group, which traditionally ranges in the Columbia Mountains from Revelstoke to the United States border, is globally unique"............"These deep-snow specialists are the only subspecies of caribou or reindeer that in winter subsist entirely on arboreal lichen found in old-growth forests"...................."caribou specialists have been put in the unenviable position of supporting the targeted killing of wolves and other predators to protect mountain caribou"............."However they all agree that predator culls are a stop-gap measure that will fail unless core caribou habitat is restored and protected"................ "Biologists are just starting to understand the importance of what he calls “matrix habitat,” or the land base around core habitat where forest practices can disrupt the predator-prey balance further threatening caribou"............... “Mountain caribou are in a very difficult situation because they require large areas of habitat and there are manyhuman-centric, competing interests that are incompatible with caribou"

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/can-canada-save-mountain-caribou-it-s-too-late&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTNTQxNzk1NTEzMzg3MjAzNjc3MDIaZWM0NDQ0NDY0YzhiNmFhMTpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNEETFRkaGAzERWz7MN_O4eSFXYS

Can Canada Save the Mountain Caribou Before It’s Too Late?

The iconic animal is at risk of extinction

BY Andrew Findlay | MAY 15 2019


On a frigid day last January, government biologist Leo DeGroot led a team deep into the southern Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia on a rescue mission. Between 2017 and 2018, the mountain caribou herd native to these rugged mountains had dwindled to just two cows. DeGroot and his team set out to save the animals, part of a two-stage plan that included capturing four others—two bulls and two cows—from the equally imperiled South Purcell herd, which had experienced a precipitous drop from 60 animals in the early 1990s to just four last year. 
A LONE BULL IN THE SOUTH SELKIRK HERD DODGES TRAFFIC ON BC'S HIGHWAY 3 AT KOOTENAY PASS. | PHOTOS BY WILDSIGHT





“These animals had no future. The herds are extirpated, functionally extinct,” DeGroot said from his office in Nelson, on the west arm of Kootenay Lake between the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains. 
From mid-January to mid-February, the biologist organized two trips to truck a total of five sedated mountain caribou five hours to a staging area 60 miles north of the city of Revelstoke. From there, they used a helicopter to sling the animals across Lake Revelstoke to a maternity pen—a fenced enclosure where females and their newborn calves are kept safe from predators and given a fighting chance during the vulnerable first few months after birth.
On April 2, after three months in the maternity pen, the five transplanted caribou were released along with a cow and her calf that belong to the North Columbia herd, a relatively robust group of 150 animals that range between the northern Selkirk and Monashee Mountains surrounding the maternity pen. 
“We were hoping they would follow this experienced cow, and it seemed to work,” DeGroot says.
CARIBOU COW IN THE DOOMED SOUTH SELKIRK HERD.





It's a small success in one of BC's most pressing conservation challenges. 
This is the 11th hour for British Columbia's southern mountain caribou. At the turn of the 20th century, scientists believe, there were between 30,000 and 40,000 caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in BC. As of 2014, the federal government estimated the number of caribou at 5,800, in 38 subpopulations distributed among three groups: Northern, Central, and Southern. 
The Southern Group, which traditionally ranges in the Columbia Mountains from Revelstoke to the United States border, is globally unique. These deep-snow specialists are the only subspecies of caribou or reindeer that in winter subsist entirely on arboreal lichen found in old-growth forests.  
Yet all of the isolated population units in the Southern Group are decreasing or extirpated. Since 2007, when BC launched the Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan, the province, feds, and industry have spent more than $12 million on a range of caribou conservation efforts, including publicly unpopular targeted predator culls, maternal penning, wolf collaring, and developing special operating guidelines for commercial and noncommercial regulation.

 More than 200,000 hectares inside and outside of national and provincial parks have been set aside as core mountain caribou habitat. However, MCRIP has fallen far short of the goal to boost the Southern Group total population to 2,500 animals. Current estimates put the population at 1,200. By most accounts, it's been a failure. That's why in May 2018, Canada's minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna, put BC on notice: Do more to save this species or Ottawa will step in to impose conservation measures. 

No politician wants an iconic species that graces the Canadian 25-cent coin to go extinct on their watch. Loss of critical, or core, habitat due to logging, oil and gas development, and other resource industries is largely responsible for the animal's decline. Human-caused landscape alteration has also resulted in a cascade of impacts that have upset the natural predator-prey balance in some areas, making the slow-reproducing caribou even more vulnerable. Logging gives rise to the growth of young trees and underbrush that attracts browsing animals like white-tailed deer and moose in large numbers. This in turn lure predators like wolves and cougar into caribou habitat.

FIELD TECHNICIAN CAM THOMPSON BEGINNING A NECROPSY ON A COLLARED SOUTH PURCELL CARIBOU LIKELY KILLED BY AN AVALANCHE IN THE EARLY 2000S. INCREASED PRESSURE FROM SNOWMOBILES CAN FORCE CARIBOU FROM CRITICAL WINTER HABITAT INTO MORE-AVALANCHE-PRONE AREAS, OR INTO AREAS WITH LOWER-QUALITY WINTER FOOD.









Canada's Species at Risk Act lists BC's southern caribou as threatened. The legislation enables the federal government to issue an emergency order and make decisions about resource extraction, tourism, and other activities that are normally a provincial responsibility if it decides provincial efforts to recover an endangered species are falling short. (The Canadian government has issued an emergency order only twice before, in 2014 to protect the sage grouse and in 2016 for the western chorus frog.) McKenna has given a deadline of this summer for the province to develop a so-called Section 11 conservation agreement
“This is an important species to the federal government,” says Robert Serrouya, a Revelstoke-based University of Alberta biologist who has researched large mammal ecology for two decades and is currently director of the Caribou Monitoring Unit. “And it's a very complex conservation problem.”
DeGroot, Serrouya, and other caribou specialists have been put in the unenviable position of supporting the targeted killing of wolves and other predators to protect mountain caribou. However they all agree that predator culls are a stop-gap measure that will fail unless core caribou habitat is restored and protected. According to DeGroot, biologists are just starting to understand the importance of what he calls “matrix habitat,” or the land base around core habitat where forest practices can disrupt the predator-prey balance further threatening caribou.
“Mountain caribou are in a very difficult situation because they require large areas of habitat and there are many competing interests that are incompatible with caribou,” DeGroot says. 
This past winter, the BC and federal governments released two draft conservation documents that remain open to public comment until the end of May. The first is with the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, two bands with territories north of Prince George that have been working independently to recover the Klinse-za herd using a combination of maternity penning, hunting bans, and habitat restoration. The government agreement proposes additional caribou conservation measures in West Moberly and Saulteau territories, including a reduction in forest harvesting by 300,000 cubic meters annually (one cubic meter roughly equals one telephone pole).  
The second document is a draft caribou conservation agreement between the feds and province for the rest of BC's caribou herds. It is a wide-ranging agreement that covers everything from restricting motorized vehicle access in winter caribou habitat and reviewing hunting regulations to reducing primary prey in important caribou habitat, purchasing private land for habitat protection, and extending predator control into other areas. Sean Fraser, parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of environment and climate change, admits that both draft agreements have come under fire from community and industry leaders worried about economic impacts and restriction to the land base for recreation. At the same time, he says, there is widespread acknowledgment that mountain caribou are teetering on the edge.
“It’s clear to all parties involved that if we don’t act now, we could lose the caribou forever,” Fraser says. “Decades of inaction by successive provincial governments have resulted in the critical situation we face today. The government of Canada is required by law to step in to protect species at risk if other measures taken by the responsible province are not effective.”
Eddie Petryshen is conservation coordinator for Wildsight, an environmental group based in the East Kootenays. He calls mountain caribou an indicator species and says their decline and extirpation in southern BC has mirrored the destruction of the inland temperate forest. He's hopeful that the new conservation agreement spells better times ahead for mountain caribou, but only if discussions translate into real action.
“We support the conservation agreement in that at least the feds and province are working together. But we need action. The rubber will hit the road when they start developing the individual herd plans,” Petryshen says, adding that this process is supposed to be completed by 2020. 
Still for some herds, 2020 might be too late. Back in Nelson, Leo DeGroot says it's hard to sidestep the fact that government neglect has brought caribou to this critical juncture. Rampant hunting from the time of European contact in the mid 1800s to the mid 1900s hit the animal hard. Industrial logging went to work on caribou habitat. By the time BC started studying and accurately counting caribou in the mountains that surround his home in Nelson, DeGroot says, they were already shoehorned into isolated herds.
“I'd like to think that we have the political and public will to save mountain caribou,” DeGroot says. “I've been working with this animal for almost 20 years.”