Wolves Trigger Trophic Cascade

notestoponder

Some time ago I wrote a post called “When In Drought Find a Beaver” –

http://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/when-in-drought-find-a-beaver/

The story of Yellowstone Park reintroducing wolves takes the concept to a whole new level. Trophic cascade is the term given to trickle down effects on eco-systems when you crown a previously absent predator top dog – in this case literally when in 1995 Yellowstone Park released wolves, a species absent for 70 years.

Those years saw an explosion in deer population – decades of  growth went unchecked as the voracious nibblers cleared vegetation, ate saplings, grass, flowers, and berries. Valleys and river banks eroded, mud and debris washed away from barren hillsides, inundating streams and rivers – directly impacting fish, amphibians and reptiles.

Enter Mr. Wolf – not only did deer population drop, their behaviour took an abrupt turn. Deer avoided valleys where they could easily be trapped, they fled to the hills allowing…

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