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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

5 Responses to With global warming, pythons! could squeeze lower third of USA

  1. avatar Monty says:

    The ultimate weed species are humans as we are victors for the introduction of other weed species. It is beyond my imagination as to the stupidy, ignorance & uncaring people who turn their exotic species lose. The “tipping point”–when the public will become outraged about exotic pets being turned lose–will occur when some unsupecting eight year old child is playing in their Florida backyard & is “eaten by a python.

  2. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    A 250-pound snake in the Everglades presents lots of problems for the indigenous wildlife there. I lived in Miami for a few years and was lucky enough to become familiar with the Everglades.

    In truth, it was very depressing in many regards. The Everglades ecosystem is a shell of what it once was, and I mean that in terms of acreage AND biodiversity. The python is hardly the only “exotic pet” having a negative impact on the Everglades and it’s species.

    The Melaleuca tree is the worst of them all, and the damage has been enormous. They dry the soil, shade out native vegetation, grow in clumps so thick animals can’t walk through them, and use 5 times the water as the sawgrass.

    The Cuban tree frog has a devastating impact on other frog species due to its size and ability to eat almost anything. Wold Hogs cause widespread destruction. There are dozens of other examples, really.

    Florida has enacted a new law regarding exotic pets, but it remains to be seen how effective it will be.

  3. avatar Monty says:

    The Everglades may be a metaphor for all other remaining wild lands that are being “squeezed” by ever expanding human civilization!

  4. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    Monty,

    I agree with you that the Everglades serve as a metaphor for other lands. The Everglades suffer from the same problems that are increasingly evident elsewhere.

    Agricultural run-off pollutes the ecosystem with excess nutrients, which creates optimum growing conditions for exotics and invasive species, which of course crowd out native vegetation. The natural water flows are affected by Florida’s use of the water, which increases every year.

    The Everglades are now home to many resident endangered species. This is despite the land area of the Everglades being large enough to support populations of these species. So, what is going on? Drastic changes from the bottom up have altered the ecosystem dramatically enough many species can no longer breed in the Park. Wading birds populations are down 95% from historic numbers. They used to count wading bird populations by the numbers of acres they covered…..not anymore.

    Water management has let the Everglades get too dry in some years, and too wet in other years. In truth, you can classify the Everglades as a dying ecosystem. It is a shell of what it once was.

    These problems are very profound in Florida, and I see these kinds of pressures growing all over the country. Is any National Park or wildlife area not under some dire threat or another?

    We live in a technological wonderland of a society. Life has never been better or easier than today by most measures. It is a shame that the price we are paying for this is the slow death of our natural areas.

    Sorry this was so long.

  5. avatar Monty says:

    SmokyMtnMan: It is what it is & it will continue to get worse. The old cliche of “ignornance is bliss” is so true. Millions live out their lives confined within their family, job & consumption needs without being aware of the larger picture. As Aldo Leopold wrote: “the measure of a civilization is in it’s contrasts” and as urbaniztion grinds on we are losing the contrast of wild lands & wild creatures & how they contribue to the richness of life. I listen to all of the “talking heads” on news programs & the environment–that which sustains all life–is rarely mentioned &, if it is, it is discussed in a negative context of “environmental extremism”.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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