Wilderness Shows the Importance of Balance

I posted, in the Stories Section on December 7th, a quote from John Muir.  The quote resonated with my thoughts about a favorite running trail called the Pipeline.  I have used the "Stories" section is for things that I personally had some involvement in.

Thoughts in this "Daily Comment" section are mostly about what happened on a particular day, or what I spent time pondering that day. Today I have come back to this same quote and some thoughts found in a book I am reading. 

The book,"American Wolf, A True Story Of Survival And Obsession In The West by Nate Blakeslee", offers some insight into Muir's comment: “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

Yellowstone Park is a 3500 square mile wilderness. When the Wolf was reintroduced in 1995 after having been gone for 70 years it was hoped they would help manage a rising Elk population, but they did much more, and in many ways, saved the park.  

Beavers feed on willows surrounding the streams but so do Elk. With Wolves present, the Elk didn't linger as long in the low valleys and moved higher and didn't consume as much willows, so the Beaver population increased. 

 The Coyote population had been unchecked and they were eating most of the rodents but with Wolves present the coyotes were reduced by half causing the rodent population to rebounded. This gave more food for owls, hawks, ravens, eagles,weasels and foxes, so their populations began to grow.

Antelopes were a favorite food of the coyotes but the Wolves didn't bother with them. The Bear population had been dropping but that changed because their food supply increased which included Antelope calves and nuts.  They didn't have to rely as heavily on bark pine nuts and this helped the squirrels. 

The wolves packs grew more when the Elk were plentiful and the grew less with smaller Elk herds. 

The resulting change in this forest wilderness was in the balance of animals and plants. Getting back to a natural balance added understanding to John Muir's comment and suggests that the entire universe may have a optimum balance. Finding what the natural balance in the universe is will likely take a lot more work. 

Review of this book, American Wolf, A True Story Of Survival And Obsession In The West by Nate Blakeslee, should post in the next day or so.