Spotted Owl Ruins An Entire Industry

According to information dug up by Intellectual Conservative, it looks like the spotted owl was not endangered by the timber industry (“big timber?”) but instead by a more adaptable owl in the same habitat.

As a result of the hysteria to save the “endangered” owls, U.S. timber sales were reduced by 80-90%, forcing saw mills to close, loggers to go broke and whole towns which depended on the industry to literally disappear. The federal crackdown on the industry caused a shift in U.S. domestic lumber supplies to foreign soils.

We killed an industry, and then it turns out that we were wrong.

According to a new government draft plan to save the species, scientists are no longer saying the greatest threat to the Spotted Owl is logging activity. “The draft recovery plan recognizes the primary threat to northern spotted owls as competition with barred owls.” According to the report, barred owls are less selective about the habitat they use and the prey they feed upon and are out-competing northern spotted owls for habitat and food, causing its decline.

I recently read State of Fear by Michael Crichton, a novel with a central theme of environmental terrorism and long debates between various characters on environmental issues. While what he wrote is controversial one important theme was that scientists disagree on the impact of changes and proposed actions to change things because we don't really understand things well enough. Another important theme was the resilience and adaptability of nature leading to constant change in dominant species. That some species might die out is a natural consequence of evolution towards more adaptable species.

The spotted owl is losing to another more adaptable owl. I don't think we should try to preserve every species losing out in the natural process of evolution. Why are we pouring money into saving this owl? Why are we destroying industries of poorly-supported science?

(Hat tip to Free Market News.) links:

Josh Poulson

Posted Friday, Jul 13 2007 08:00 AM

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I think we should put the barred owl on trial. How dare he invade the spotted owls territory and steal his food and nesting spots?


Posted Friday, Jul 13 2007 01:50 PM

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