Thursday, March 05, 2015

Earth: A New Wild

I recently watched an excellent PBS documentary called Earth: A New Wild. The series focuses on human-environment interactions, and explores ways in which humans can help create healthier ecosystems even while living among and even harvesting resources from those same ecosystems. For example, "Episode Two: Plains" discusses methods for managing free range herd animals (such as cattle) that lead to healthier and more biodiverse ecosystems.

Episode Two also contains a discussion of reindeer herding by the Saami people in Norway. Among other things, the episode illustrates the traditional Saami method for castrating reindeer, which has to be seen to be believed. (Below is old footage from another source which illustrates the method.)

In any event, I highly recommend the series "Earth: A New Wild"; despite the inevitable schmaltz associated with the TV nature documentary genre, it contains surprising insights from contemporary ecology, and presents considerable evidence in support of its general thesis that human management and harvesting of natural resources is fully compatible with and often even necessary for the health of plant and animal species.
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