Trophic cascades

Although apparently simplified, and also contested by some, the story of how wolves introduced to Yellowstone is a fascinating one, and a reminder that even the less palatable or human-friendly parts of the ecosystem have a surprising role to play, good and bad. Quite often good since humans have taken them out over a short time frame, unbalancing the whole system, then again the simplification part comes in here, since these effects ripple, they cascade to other levels (called a Trophic Cascade) in apparently very complex ways. Just reintroducing one species might not change things, or actually make them worse…it’s a long game. But I suspect it’s a good start.

Who knows what a reintroduced wolf population in Scotland and Wales would do? I’d be all for it. A lot of the fear and objection is actually to do with farmers, commercial (royal) deer hunting and money – livestock and game. Then again I’d bet in the Highlands more sheep die of exposure, and in other places domestic dog worrying than any possible wolf attack. They’ve naturally come back or been safely reintroduced in other parts of the world without re-enacting Little Red Riding Hood! (video via Christine P).

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