This Week's Post: Another View of Global Population Increase

This weekly blog post and its host website cover a wide variety of Fred Montague's environmental commentaries, gardening topics, and wildlife/art activities and shop.  Please browse the website and the blog archives for topics you are interested in.

This Foxsense II page calls our attention to the fact that in 14 years we will add more than a billion people to the human population. With humans using 48% of the Earth's land surface to feed a single species (us), what will be the prospects for the other 2 to 10 million species on the planet?

Not only will it be a challenge to feed humans, but at the current rate that industrial agriculture diminishes soil, water, and crop biodiversity, we will also be crowding out other species, natural areas, and the critical ecological functions they provide to support all kinds of life on Earth.

Fox Sense II, a new work in the Fox Sense series, is scheduled to be released later in 2016. Each volume in the series consists of a hand-bound collection of environmental mini-posters written and illustrated by Fred and accompanied by the insightful (and sometimes cynical) commentary of a watchful fox. These volumes make excellent reading for anyone concerned about the currently trajectory of human impacts on the Earth. The 24th Anniversary Edition of Fred's 1992 classic collection, Fox Sense I, is currently available. 


From the Gallery: "Autumn Treat"

The photolithograph (print) "Autumn Treat" features a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) feeding on poison ivy fruit in October. I made the original drawing in north-central Indiana. The migrating warblers gathered our poison ivy fruit one day and planted it the next in south-central Indiana.

The eastern (and northern) subspecies is called the "Myrtle Warbler."  The western subspecies is called "Audubon's Warbler."

The field guides are full of examples of speciation in action.  Speciation is Nature's process of creating new species. Populations of a species become geographically isolated, and if they remain separated for enough generations, they will eventually be genetically isolated. Once that occurs, they are separate species. Other examples include the Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted Flicker in eastern North America and Red-Shafted Flicker in the western states) and, among common mammals, the mule deer (the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer in the Rockies and the Black-tailed Deer in the Pacific Northwest).

Whenever you encounter an animal species that includes recognized "subspecies" (or a plant species with recognized "varieties"), then you know that biological diversity, in these particular cases, is potentially increasing.

This limited edition of prints (200) is nearly sold out. Each print measures 8"x 10" . The price in $40.

"Autumn Treat", photolithograph of a myrtle warbler. © Fred Montague

"Autumn Treat", photolithograph of a myrtle warbler. © Fred Montague

Environmental Commentary: Biological Diversity

The circular image below is from my handmade book One Earth. The current array of organisms on the planet, numbering about 2 million described species, is the product of more than 3 billion years of evolution. Scientists estimate there may be 5 million to 20 million total. Most of the undiscovered species are small organisms such as insects and microbes. Quantitatively speaking, most of life on Earth is undiscovered. We've found the easy, big beings. Unfortunately, many of those easy, big beings are declining in numbers as one particular species' population growth and resource demands continually increase and intensify.

Illustration from the artist book  One Earth . © Fred Montague

Illustration from the artist book One Earth. © Fred Montague

Gardening: Essays on Ecological Concepts

For the past eight issues of Edible Wasatch magazine I have written a series of essays derived from my book Gardening:  An Ecological Approach.

These short pieces discuss, one-by-one, key ecological concepts and principles that make up the rule book for living on Earth. Of course, they are most applicable in wild places, and they are least well-applied in intensively occupied urban areas (at least as we usually occupy them). A backyard garden, however, in town or in the country, still expresses the principles and still promotes the processes (e.g. energy flow, material cycling, soil formation, carbon sequestration, etc.) that make life possible.  

You may read the following via the "online editions" page at Edible Wasatch.

"Backyard Biodiversity"  Fall 2012  pp. 56-57

"There Are Limits"  Summer 2012  pp. 56-57

"Global Conservation, Backyard-Style"  Spring 2012  pp. 50-51

"The Intimacy of Global Nutrient Cycles"  Winter 2011-2012  pp. 44-45

"Solar-Powered People"  Fall 2011  pp. 44-45

"Soil Matters"  Summer 2011  pp. 44-45

"Ecologically Competent People"  Spring 2011  pp. 44-46

"Diversity and Sustainbility"  Winter 2010-2011  p. 28