2013-02-05. Owl vs. Owl |

posted Feb 7, 2013, 12:25 PM by Alan Gould
Charles Bergman, Slate. Relevant to GSS A New World View chapter 3. Excerpt: ...the spotted owl may be the most controversial bird in the country. ...Twenty years ago, it was a national symbol for one of the defining environmental battles of the 20th century—the fight over whether to log or preserve old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. Now the spotted owl faces a new and even more desperate battle, one that has it staring straight into the face of extinction. The new threat comes not from people but from an invasion of its own cousin—the aggressive and highly adaptable barred owl—into the spotted owl’s last territories. The future for spotted owls currently looks so bleak that wildlife managers in the Pacific Northwest have proposed a desperate plan: They want to kill thousands of barred owls.  ...On June 26, 1990, the northern spotted owl was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Several studies had clearly linked the spotted owl’s decline to the logging of old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. ...research has affirmed and illuminated the species’ heavy dependence on towering old-growth forests. ...President Clinton called for a forest summit that led to the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, protecting both the owl and the region’s spectacular old-growth forests. ...Loggers complained bitterly about the spotted owl, but the truth is, ...harvesting at previous levels was no longer sustainable. ...There just weren’t that many trees left to log. ...On the Olympic Peninsula, ...there were 150 spotted owls in 1992. In 2009, just 13. In Dale Herter’s study area in the Cascades, there were 127 owls in the 1990s. Now, he says, there may not be that many in the whole state of Washington. The ... barred owl ... was once found only in the East, but over the past several decades, barred owls made their way across the prairies. The first barred owl was reported in Washington in 1965. In Oregon, 1974. In California, 1981…. Read the full article: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/animal_forecast/2013/02/spotted_owl_vs_barred_owl_will_the_forest_service_shoot_one_species_to_save.html