09 March 2010

Some recent thoughts with no particular point

If we burn the prairie in the fall, the grass will grow better in the spring. This will give the elk and buffalo more to eat, allowing them to grow and multiply. Which means that we, in turn, will also have more to eat.

The above concept comes out of 1491 by Charles C. Mann (p. 279-284) - a great book for short bursts of reading, in that you can turn to just about any page at random, start reading, and learn something interesting about the Americas before 1492. I read the above and thought: Huh. That makes a lot more sense - to work with nature to get what you want, rather than against it, trying to control it. Why don't we do more of that instead?

(Not that that works well in modern-day container gardening, alas. My inclination is to put the plants out there and let nature do whatever it wants. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to give me any tomatoes.)

Then a few days later, I found out via Discover Magazine ("Where the Wild Things Are", March 2010, doesn't appear to be on their website (yet?) dangit) that someone in the Netherlands is trying it out. Or something close to it with the Oostvaardersplassen nature preserve. Basically, put a bunch of large herbivores together, do nothing management-wise, and see what happens. Results so far: you get patches of open forest and grasslands. not unbroken dense forest.

Anyway, like I said in the title, I don't really have a point. I just thought it was kind of cool. :)

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