Indentifying and Protecting Wildlife Corridors

Posts tagged ‘Why Data?’

For Mule Deer, an Incredible Journey – NYTimes.com

Deer release

One of the priority wildlife passages in the Rocky Mts. is highlighted here in this NY Times piece:

For Mule Deer, an Incredible Journey – NYTimes.com.

DNA used to better determine bear population

Read today’s Journal article here:

Hair, DNA used to better determine bear population | Albuquerque Journal News.

on an on-going Black Bear population survey taking place in the Sandia Mts. this summer.

Pathways is participating in this survey, setting and monitoring hair snares in two sections on the north end of Sandia Mt. Volunteers who have been trained in this protocol go out every 2 weeks to check the snares for bear fur, gather and record it, then move the snare to a new location.

Knowing more about the animals who live here will help human beings deepen their relationship with and respect for the other species who have grown with, evolved with,
and shaped this land.

Black Bear

Forecasts : BirdCast, heat maps

weather pattern, 4/12/14

Amazing, simply amazing.  The confluence between research science, technology, and volunteers on a massive scale yield these, I’ll say it again, amazing, heat maps of bird migration:  Forecasts : BirdCast.

Without waiting for years of study to become published, and then instantly become irrelevant, this “real time” network of volunteers and bird scientists have been putting together easily readable maps and graphs that show how bird migration not only shapes up for this season, week by week, even day by day, but how it compares to other years at the same time.

To say that bird migration depends on the weather is an understatement, birds must follow weather patterns in order to move the distances they need to arrive at feeding and breeding grounds just in time to continue their life cycle.  When those patterns are too early, birds can “hold on” to their current position to avoid being swept away to an area that is still too cold or dormant.  When the wind and weather is too late, birds may be stranded in inhospitable locations.  Even more complicated is when the seasons get mixed up, as in New England this spring, with winter and summer alternating rapidly, too cold, too hot, with “just right” fleeting fast away.

If you want a graphic example, in real time, of  life trying to adapt to a rapidly changing climate regime, the heat maps of e-bird are a good place to look.

NewsDaily: APNewsBreak: Western governors show wildlife maps

Read an article here : NewsDaily: APNewsBreak: Western governors show wildlife maps. about the Western Governor’s Association rollout of the wildlife mapping that has been underway for the past 3 years.

Pathways has not contributed to this effort directly, it was too broad scale and general of project.  The really fine scale, on the ground, site specific type of research and monitoring that we’re interested in has not been funded on the state-wide scale that really needs to be done.  Even a broad state-wide survey of “crucial” wildlife corridors and linkages for our large mammal species like Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, Mountain Lions, and Black Bears, has not been funded, even though the laws are in place to do so, through RETA :New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority.  Funny how the “Authority” didn’t make it from the acronym into the title.

In thinking about how this is a benefit to wildlife, on the one hand, it may seem to be pandering to industry, giving ammunition to those who would destroy, disrupt, fragment, and exploit life to make money while providing some service or “product” to humanity.  On the other hand it may seem like a way to bring those very industries to a closer understanding of how they can “produce” without harming the very people they intend to “service”..  (because lets face it, industry has never cared about wildlife, unless forced to, or unless it makes good P.R.  And humans care about humans first, right?).  So are the maps a benefit to wildlife?  In my opinion, having data is good, having a data platform is good, having a data platform that the public can plug into is even better. Like :iNaturalist.org · Pathways

Does massive amounts of data do any good?  I think it does when its connected to a massive brain, which can make massively intelligent decisions, with compassion for all the diversity of life.  Are we there yet?  I don’t think so.  Are we on our way?  We better be.

Bear hair study in Banff proves animal highway crossings work — High Country News

Surf over to High Country News for this report on scientific evidence that wildlife overpasses are working well!

Bear hair study in Banff proves animal highway crossings work — High Country News.

CitizenSci

Caren Cooper wrote this great article on the benefits of Citizen Science for the Public Library of Science (PLOS):

CitizenSci.

Thanks Caren!

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Data

A great plug for Citizen Science lies here: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Data | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, except to maybe add that the future of data collection will probably be relegated to autonomous drones, but what fun is that?  We gain so much personally from going out and simply observing, listening, and being in nature; and as the article points out, when we record what we are seeing and hearing and share it with others, this builds our base of knowledge as humanity.  And intelligent decisions are not something we have too much of right now.