"Wild" lands in the US.

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by chimpkin, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    From that "other" thread...I really wanted to put up an answer to this, not that I expect Arthur to change his mind or anything...

    While that may sound like a lot... we have over 2.4 trillion acres total:


    So if I did my math right (don't count on it; I'm dyscalculeic) that's a mere 2.76 percent of the continental US (lower 48) that's actual wilderness.
    When you hear National Forest Service...I want you to think tree farm. Rows and rows of genetically matched speed-growing loblollies, mechanically planted...I live near one and have been hiking in it. It's managed for clearcut, machine-based timber production. Not for biodiversity or anything else. It's a fricken' timber farm, nothing less.

    Regarding that...


    To put this amount of land in perspective (Wilderness, NWRA, Natl Forests & Grasslands), these areas are well over three times the size of California.

    But all broken up into tiny pieces convenient to people...and as above, not the "wild areas" they seem to be on paper...a lot of federal land is leased to ranchers at a fraction of its' value or used for tree farming further east.

    People complain about deer taking over...but we can't possibly reintroduce natural predation, think about those poor welfare ranchers:


    My national parks being leased for ranching...is bullcrap.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
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  3. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    I believe, though, there is more of it than you seem to think. Bear in mind that I live in the Southeast, but there's quite a bit of it here.

    In fact, I live (in NE Georgia) right on the edge of several thousand true wilderness acres. It's loaded with wildlife - deer, turkey, raccoons, opossum, fox and several others. There's one or more reports each week of a deer/car collision and all the animals I listed can be spotted in my own yard around dusk or at night on a fairly regular basis.

    And that's far from all. Every state in this part of the country has rolling hills or mountains just like we do and most of those areas are wilderness zones.

    Yes, we certainly have MANY tree farms also and a LARGE amount of cultivated land as well. But there's still PLENTY of space for wildlife - far, far more than I think you recognize.
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  5. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    The deer have gotten to be a pest species though...and it is probably too small an area to reintroduce apex predators-wolves and cougars.
    The black bear can take a deer, but probably would rather not.
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    As developed land takes more and more of the wilderness away we remember when we use to hunt for food then we hunted for sport and today we hunt to keep the populations of animals down. As the wilderness gets smaller there's less land available to all critters and that's why there are so many in a area, they don't have the land they once had but think they do.

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  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    You were off by a factor of a THOUSAND.

    We have ~2.4 Billion acres in the US.

    Nope, that's just FEDERAL Wilderness areas.
    Much of the country is not owned by the Feds and is also in fact wilderness, there just aren't good figures for it.

    As to the grasslands, of course we allow grazing because grazing is important to the ecology and to keep them grasslands (as they were when there were vast herds of Buffalo).

    As to the Natl forests, yes some is managed for timber but lots of it is not, as I pointed out 35 million acres of the Natl Forest is Wilderness, but even land that is used for lumber is pretty natural as it takes at least 3 decades (usually more) for timber to mature. Indeed we have 160 million acres of forest from 60 to 99 years old and over 100 million acres over 100 years old. As to size: In the United States there are 155 National Forests containing almost 190 million acres (297,000 mi²/769 000 km²) of land. These lands comprise 8.5 percent of the total land area of the United States. But other public forests exceed the amount of forests owned by the Feds, and in total 33% of the US is forest (which is ~70% of what it was in 1630).


    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  9. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    At the same time, though, many have adjusted to cohabitation with humans - and a number of them are quite adjusted to it.

    Deer, for example, will commonly graze on lawns and gardens, raccoons have become infamous for raiding garbage cans and food left out for pets and also for finding their way into attics to nest there.

    Opossums are well-known scavengers that will eat *anything* edible that they can find and also for setting up housekeeping in crawlspaces.

    There are several others as well.

    And by the way, you NEVER want to corner a 'coon or 'possum. The can be VERY vicious - to the point of making a mad pit bull seem almost tame.
  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member



    http://www.nps.gov/pwr/customcf/app...&parkname=Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I can tell you've never lived in L.A. or anywhere in coyote country, with that knot in your stomach every time you let your dog or cat outside. They've become diurnal and learned to walk with their tails up, so people just think they're stray dogs.
    One ran into the side of my truck last December--on a busy four-lane highway in broad daylight in rush hour traffic--and did $7K worth of damage. They've basically taken over the Northeast. There are cities where there's just no point in planting a garden because it will be gone by morning.

    Back home in California the deer have figured out that most dogs, at some point in their history, were bred for the instinct to protect herbivores. They'll jump into your yard at night and you'll see your dog out there patrolling the fence to keep the bears and cougars out.

    Since we killed off all their predators and traffic is now their biggest enemy they've been breeding for intelligence rather than speed and agility. (My collision notwithstanding.) In D.C. I've seen with my own eyes deer standing on the curb at a crosswalk, then crossing the street after the pedestrian light turned green.
    Homo sapiens is the apex predator of the entire planet: we eat both bears and sharks.
    I don't see why not. They come after goats and even llamas. And llamas are tough; in the West ranchers keep a few around to protect their sheep from coyotes. They just stomp the crap out of them. After all, they're just New World camels, and there's nothing more ornery than an angry camel.

    But there is hope. We killed off most of the wolves so that the only major population is in eastern Canada. Meanwhile the coyotes have been slowly expanding to take over their former range. The twain have finally met in Canada. The wolves are so scarce that some of them just give up and mate with the coyotes. So now we've got these monster sixty-pound coyote-wolf hybrids gradually spreading south back across the border. They have the aggressiveness and the pack-hunting instinct of the wolf, but they inherited the coyote's lack of fear of human proximity and his cleverness at getting around our protective measures. I think our deer are in for a big surprise.

    Unfortunately, so are our pets.
    Raccoons are basically small bears with long tails, and they have a bear's dexterity and IQ. It's hard to keep raccoons out of anything. Seems like two or three times a year somebody in my townhouse complex has got a vermin specialist over, getting a raccoon out of his house and nailing it up so he can't come back in.
    However, like many intelligent species, raccoons are both lazy and adaptable. In parks they have learned to do cute tricks and very gently take food from people's hands, like squirrels.

    There is nothing on earth cuter than a baby raccoon eating a marshmallow. Thirty years ago we used to head off on vacation with our camper half full of marshmallows.
  12. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    my daughter went to school in Athens and my uncle lives in Roswell. My Uncle Lou did great work to bring about stream side set backs in Georgia
    He took the politicians canoeing deliverance style
  13. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    I think raccoons are marsupials Frag . They got and opposing thumb I believe . More Monkey like than bear . I could be wrong ( I can't believe it , I think I spelled Marsupial right the first time , Damn )
  14. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    I'll have to spend some time trying to track down an online copy of it for you, if you're interested, however, somewhere around I have a recent National Geographic article about an experiment that was done with Foxes. The short version is that the Foxes were selectively bred for one trait only - friendlyness towards humans, and as this trait become stronger, a number of other traits associated with pet dogs emerged, like many (or all) of the behavioural traits associated with pet dogs (versus wolves) and other traits, such as piebald fur.
  15. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    You are completely wrong. Raccoons are not marsupial, but opossums are. Also raccoons do not have opposing thumbs.

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    But whoever said they are cute is right.
  16. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member


    Raccoons, like the Bears, are all classified in the Sub-Order of "Dog like" Carnivores: Caniformia.


    Raccoons are in the Super Family of that Sub-Order: Musteloidea


    Bears are in the Super Family: Ursoidea

    The Raccoon family is the: procyonids


    American Marsupials are in the Order Didelphimorphia

  17. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    You crucify racoons?

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  18. Gustav Banned Banned

    i have notified peta

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  19. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Here we have more white tail deer than at any time since the glaciers retreated. One totaled my wife's car out, another crushed a friends foot while he was out running. They walk up the middle of the street here pretty much every night.

    So do those 60 pound coyote/gray wolf hybrids. I have had them track my dog and I as we go down the trails. We have had sightings of puma (I don't care for those much) and there are a few black bear around. Bear would rather eat road kill though, like the coyotes.
  20. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Umm... reintroduce? The cougars never left, at least in the western USA.

    Would I bet on a bear in a fight to the death against a deer? Of course. But, unless provoked or cornered, a bear would much rather spend his time pulling trout out of the nearest stream, eating berries and napping, than tangling with a large hooved animal that might well critically injure him before succumbing. Also I kinda doubt that a bear can outrun a deer, or have much luck sneaking up on one, and so I don't see how such a confrontation is going to occur with any frequency. It's big cats and dogs that deer need to worry about.
  21. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    o.k. o.k. crucify me for being stupid . Look at those long fingers though . I seen raccoons handle apples like a bear never could . They have ventured far from there "bearnecessity" My friend that lived across the street had one for a pet and the sucker could open doors with its hands . It would get out of the house and run around the neighborhood taking garbage can lids of and making a bigger mess than a dog . It would come back to his house like a stray cat after it finish wrecking havoc
  22. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    O.K. prosimian sounds nothing like marsupial . I heard it at the San Fransisco Zoo many years ago. The guide shipped us threw like cattle . The thing is I didn't see anything that said raccoons are Prosimians , just that Prosimians are more raccoon like
  23. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    It is legal to kill a dog in Montana if it is harassing game. Yeah you bring your dog and it chases a deer I can kill it dead in its tracks . Any body want to dispute that . Bow class given by fish and game to all teenagers when they come of age on you the tax payers dime . Free for us in Montana

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