Landscape Dysfunction in Drylands

Landscape ecology is the study of the relationships between landscape systems and their many ecological functions and processes. Landscapes can be functional or dysfunctional with respect to native* and exotic (invasive) vegetation components, the creation and expansion of novel ecosystems, and the multitude of human activities and their effects upon the landscapes. Some of the best research available on the subject, including concepts and monitoring models, is the work of John Ludwig and David Tongway. Their publications are numerous, but most useful is, “Landscape Ecology, Function and Management: Principles from Australia’s Rangelands” (1997). Continue reading “Landscape Dysfunction in Drylands”

Fire, wolves, mountains, and a guest essay

I recently read author Philip Connor‘s latest published essay, “Smoke”, and as usual, it’s a great read.  Connors is currently in his 11th season as a fire lookout, stationed in a Civilian Conservation Corps-era fire tower in the Black Range of the Gila National Forest near Kingston, New Mexico.  Suffice it to say, he has a lifestyle and job I’ve always dreamed of; getting paid to be far and away and observe the surrounding country in a very remote area.  If ever a job demanded one intimately know the surrounding land, then that of a fire lookout certainly requires such close familiarity.  And he gets to write, too. Continue reading “Fire, wolves, mountains, and a guest essay”


The following is excerpted from A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, 1949
Oxford University Paperback, pp. 44-46, 1968.

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Every July I watch eagerly a certain country graveyard that I pass in driving to and from my farm. It is time for a prairie birthday, and in one corner of this graveyard lives a surviving celebrant of that once important event. Continue reading “Silphium”