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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.
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"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer






Sunday, January 04, 2009

 

-- Designating Extinction --

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New open access article available:

One of the common rhetorical grenades lobbed at the Ivory-bill search is that funding for endangered species is a zero-sum game with money spent on the IBWO being money lost to species that may have a better chance of profiting from such funding. Endangered Hawaiian birds are often used as an example for this argument.

Using Hawaiian birds as a model, a new paper out (from Cornell and other authors) appears to somewhat address this line of thinking here, focusing on the evidence needed for extinction designation.

Thanks to "PORCAR" over at IBWO Researchers Forum for pointing this paper out.

(I haven't had time to fully read/digest the piece, so may or may not have more to say about it later.)
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Comments:
It seems to be pretty solid reasoning that money is better spent on an endangered species known to exist than to spend it on a creature that is likely to be extinct.

Not surprisingly the authors of this paper include some True Believers and they did not attempt to calculate the odds of 100% of surviving birds eluding confirmation 100% of the time over 100% of their range by 100% of people for over 60 years.
 
"It seems to be pretty solid reasoning that money is better spent on an endangered species known to exist than to spend it on a creature that is likely to be extinct."

It's not that simple... Frankly, conservation needs to focus on habitat preservation, not species preservation, and IF the IBWO is confirmed it potentially leads to FAR more habitat preservation than if say a certain Hawaiian endemic is saved.
One might just as easily argue that the money would be better spent on humans and all their problems than on endangered species at all.
 
I'm all in favor of conserving habitat, but it's important to argue one's case accurately. Getting the facts wrong erodes credibility. Credibility is very important whether talking about preemptive war or conservation. Eventually no one listens to the boy that cries wolf.
 
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