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Ecosystem Services - a relatively new concept in giving resources value.

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  • #31
    Pot calling the kettle black! You are hysterical! They had models hand over fist warning what a category 4 or 5 hurricane would do to New Orleans. They knew the risks and they ignored them. They also had plenty of time to evacuate the whole city while the hurricane was brewing in the gulf. They had fleets of buses (school buses and city buses) sitting idle. The human aspect of Katrina could clearly have been avoided model or no model. The hurricanes that spiral through the Atlantic each year are not unpredictable. The specifics are, of course, unpredictable, but the fact the there will be hurricanes, not so much.

    I do however understand your sentiments and completely agree with the majority of your comment. Chaos theory is very valid in my mind. A favorite book of mine comes to mind, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.



    “There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
    George Carlin

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    • #32
      "The human aspect" would have made the difference.. All I'm Sayin... btw; the models wern't all that correct but humanity was the falling.. certainly was... because they are subject to counting beans......................
      Originally posted by billhicksmostfunny View Post
      Pot calling the kettle black! You are hysterical! They had models hand over fist warning what a category 4 or 5 hurricane would do to New Orleans. They knew the risks and they ignored them. They also had plenty of time to evacuate the whole city while the hurricane was brewing in the gulf. They had fleets of buses (school buses and city buses) sitting idle. The human aspect of Katrina could clearly have been avoided model or no model. The hurricanes that spiral through the Atlantic each year are not unpredictable. The specifics are, of course, unpredictable, but the fact the there will be hurricanes, not so much.

      I do however understand your sentiments and completely agree with the majority of your comment. Chaos theory is very valid in my mind. A favorite book of mine comes to mind, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.



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      • #33
        Originally posted by Thewolfwatching View Post
        "The human aspect" would have made the difference.. All I'm Sayin... btw; the models wern't all that correct but humanity was the falling.. certainly was... because they are subject to counting beans......................
        Models are used all the time in the natural world with good outcomes. Our ability to travel in space is based on computer generated models of how gravity and other forces work, our understanding of human systems is based on models of chemical interactions in the human body, our understanding of how rivers flow involve models of hydrodynamics, our models of storms - hurricanes or just plain old low pressure systems help predict weather, .... your premise wolfwatching is just not defensible given the empirical data.

        While some models fail and that is a given there is no reason to state that models are not useful in the decision making process. In fact, the volume of data in some scientific fields requires modeling to be able to compute/understand what is going on. String theory comes to mind as does chaos theory.

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        • #34
          Metaphysical beans . . .

          Originally posted by Thewolfwatching View Post
          "The human aspect" would have made the difference.. All I'm Sayin... btw; the models wern't all that correct but humanity was the falling.. certainly was... because they are subject to counting beans......................
          Well said, wolfwatching, and thus it shall ever be as long as "the human aspect" is comprised of the physical and the metaphysical.

          Pretty durn tough to count metaphysical beans like morals, spirituality, ideology, opinions, religion, taste, and ethics. . .

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          • #35
            Once again, we've wandered a bit far off the topic of discussing ecosystem services. Trashing the validity of using models in general is off-topic, if you want to trash the model then please do some reading, so you can trash the specific model under discussion! (Or else go start your own thread if you just want to bash all use of models.)

            Originally posted by Thewolfwatching View Post
            Can a model system predict the unpredictable?
            Yes Thewolfwatching, models CAN predict the unpredictable. They often don't, due to shortsightedness, greed, laziness, or failure of the imagination. But human shortcomings don't change the fact that models can potentially do whatever we ask of them. We can even model the metaphysical (and I'm familiar with several non-Western traditions that actively do so), but once again that's completely off-topic.

            No one is disagreeing that "Chaos is a flowing river of constant change", at least three of us (including me) have already agreed with you:
            Originally posted by billhicksmostfunny View Post
            Chaos theory is very valid in my mind.
            Originally posted by Nerka View Post
            String theory comes to mind as does chaos theory.
            In any case, don't be too quick to dismiss the "bean counters". The horrid lies that have told in the name of corporate capitalism are not the extent of their capabilities, only the limits of what has been achieved so far. A new field of sustainability accounting has been slowly emerging in recent years to reclaim their tools. Any tool can be used for good or for ill, depending mostly on the user. In fact, I already addressed some of the concerns you've expressed in my previous post:

            One way to view ecosystem services is as a way to do accounting for natural values. Much of the value found in nature is qualitative: clean air, beautiful scenery, the excitement of the hunt, etc. Hard to put a dollar figure on those things, so the model seeks an alternate way to view nature that allows for quantitative measurements. You might disagree with the model (after all, it's only a model) but you can still see that there's something there to be measured. Few other models come nearly as close to quantifying something measurable.

            That is why the ecosystem services model is important and worthy of serious discussion!
            Inspiration is simply the momentary cessation of stupidity.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by billhicksmostfunny View Post
              . . A favorite book of mine comes to mind, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
              Very interesting. Not being familiar with the book or the author, I Googled* and found this:

              Limited human knowledge

              Taleb's black swan is different from the earlier philosophical versions of the problem, specifically in epistemology, as it concerns a phenomenon with specific empirical and statistical properties which he calls, "the fourth quadrant". Taleb's problem is about epistemic limitations in some parts of the areas covered in decision making. These limitations are twofold: philosophical (mathematical) and empirical (human known epistemic biases). The philosophical problem is about the decrease in knowledge when it comes to rare events as these are not visible in past samples and therefore require a strong a priori, or what one can call an extrapolating theory; accordingly events depend more and more on theories when their probability is small. In the fourth quadrant, knowledge is both uncertain and consequences are large, requiring more robustness.

              Before Taleb, those who dealt with the notion of the improbable, such as Hume, Mill, and Popper focused on the problem of induction in logic, specifically, that of drawing general conclusions from specific observations. Taleb's Black Swan Event has a central and unique attribute, high impact. His claim is that almost all consequential events in history come from the unexpected—yet humans later convince themselves that these events are explainable in hindsight (bias).

              Why are humans often caught off guard by or slow to recognize the rare and novel? Partly because built into the very nature of our experience is the propensity to extend existing knowledge and experience to future events and experiences. To exacerbate this natural propensity much of our cultural education both formal and otherwise is built upon historical knowledge forced on us by others. Of course both the natural physiological propensity and the cultural phenomenon are somewhat a necessary precondition to learning, since complete openness to every event would be inefficient. Bertrand Russell observed, "An open mind is an empty mind." So we cannot be completely open, but we must guard against being completely closed as well. It would be most efficacious if we could find a balance between the known and unknown and the limits of our knowledge and experience. The effect of unexpected events likely is integral to finding this balance. Thus, the rare and unexpected is far more significant to our formation of knowledge than people often imagine.

              Taleb argues that the proposition "we know", in many cases, is an illusion, albeit a necessary one; the human mind tends to think it knows, but it does not always have a solid basis for this delusion of "I know". This notion that we do not know is very old, dated at least as far back as Socrates. The Socratic method of questioning and avowal of ignorance is the type of corrective action to the delusion that we know something completely and truly.

              Similarly, to those who argue that the advancement of science has rendered the world well-known, Taleb argues that while science added knowledge, we always run the risk of experiencing the improbable, rare, and novel. We can be shocked by this knowledge and experience or we can be open to it. As with the dictum of Socrates, "the only thing I know is that I do not know", is as true as ever, Taleb concludes. Taleb characterizes the trait, in part, as the Ludic fallacy. —emphasis added



              Love it . . .
              . . . :ditto:


              °http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Swan_(Taleb_book)

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              • #37
                Taleb argues that the proposition "we know", in many cases, is an illusion, albeit a necessary one; the human mind tends to think it knows, but it does not always have a solid basis for this delusion of "I know". This notion that we do not know is very old, dated at least as far back as Socrates. The Socratic method of questioning and avowal of ignorance is the type of corrective action to the delusion that we know something completely and truly.

                Does this not contradict the idea that the those who support Pebble know the outcome of mine development. It appears to me that in the coal and goal mine discussions those who support these projects imply they know how to reclaim the land, they know impacts are overstated, they know that technology will solve all issues, they know the economic value of the project, they know that the benefits outweigh the costs, they know what people want, they know that the dam will hold forever, and the list goes on. In contrast those who oppose the mine are saying what Taleb is stating. The uncertain nature of things makes these claims questionable.

                Also, one should not confuse knowing with probability. In science statistical methods are used that help define the probability of error in a conclusion. For example, a type one error is rejection of a null hypothesis when it is in fact true, a type two error is the fact of not rejecting the the null hypothesis when in fact it is false. There are ways to report the probability of these errors.

                I think Taleb's points are well taken relative to how a number of people view the world but I know few research scientists that say the world is well known. As a fish biologist you can see on the Fisheries management forum how much lack of understanding there is about the natural systems and how they are structured and functioning. However, that does not allow one to dismiss all that we do know about some systems/species. In the coal mine discussion the challenge to the idea that the stream can be reclaimed is based on the fact that we do not know how streams are structured and functioning to produce salmon when the stream system is totally removed.

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                • #38
                  serious?

                  I put my two cents on humanity! Especially today!! Over complicated wind bags lol
                  Originally posted by Nerka View Post
                  Models are used all the time in the natural world with good outcomes. Our ability to travel in space is based on computer generated models of how gravity and other forces work, our understanding of human systems is based on models of chemical interactions in the human body, our understanding of how rivers flow involve models of hydrodynamics, our models of storms - hurricanes or just plain old low pressure systems help predict weather, .... your premise wolfwatching is just not defensible given the empirical data. While some models fail and that is a given there is no reason to state that models are not useful in the decision making process. In fact, the volume of data in some scientific fields requires modeling to be able to compute/understand what is going on. String theory comes to mind as does chaos theory.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Seraphina you are doing an admirable job trying to keep this thread on track. The laws of chaos theory are working against you though. They do not sleep and they do not rest and they have no mercy. In fact the laws of chaos dictate that we must endure rambling nonsense posts from time to time. Take for example Thewolfwatching's latest post about "two cents on humanity" and "complicated windbags".

                    Nerka says right here: "The uncertain nature of things makes these claims questionable." I would like to say that everything you say in your post previous to this line I more or less agree with, but I want to add to this one line. "The uncertain nature of things, along with all of humanity's past history of gigantic disasters, makes these claims questionable." I am thinking Titanic, Hindenburg, Three Mile Island, Chernoybl, ***ushima, etc etc etc. How many times does it take till we understand that we cannot engineer things to be bulletproof? Try as we might, tiny errors crop up and cause mighty big disasters we cannot always fix.

                    Perhaps it is better to leave well enough alone sometimes. Oh whats that saying, if it ain't broke? Sometimes I feel like I am talking to myself. And don't get me wrong I think ecosystem services of this type are a step in the right direction but I feel like it is too little too late.

                    Maybe it is the title that gets me though: Ecosystem SERVICE. As if the ecosystem needs or wants us to service it anyway. As if it had a choice. As if the ecosystems weren't here eons before us and will be here eons after us doing just fine for the most part. And looking at humankind's track record on anything to do with the ecosystem. If I was the ECOSYSTEM I would be mighty nervous.
                    “There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
                    George Carlin

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by billhicksmostfunny View Post
                      Seraphina you are doing an admirable job trying to keep this thread on track. The laws of chaos theory are working against you though. ... In fact the laws of chaos dictate that we must endure rambling nonsense posts from time to time.
                      Yep, that's me for sure, patron of lost causes! But there is still honor to be found in (some) lost causes. Anyway, the situation actually has little to do with chaos; garbage posts are entirely the responsibility of the individuals choosing to post off-topic!

                      Maybe it is the title that gets me though: Ecosystem SERVICE. As if the ecosystem needs or wants us to service it anyway. As if it had a choice. As if the ecosystems weren't here eons before us and will be here eons after us doing just fine for the most part.
                      I read the model exactly the other way around, not that we service the ecosystem, but that the ecosystem provides valuable services to us. The ecosystem services model is useful because it helps us to more clearly identify, understand, and value the actual services provided. That remains true whether those services benefit humans today, or other living creatures eons before or after our brief tenure on this planet.
                      Inspiration is simply the momentary cessation of stupidity.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Seraphina---

                        Chaos recognizes not miniscule things like personal responsibility. I agree each post can be traced to an individual and is therefore their responsibility, but chaos involves every variable large and small. Chaos is the big picture and the little picture all wrapped in one. The real crazy thing is somehow out of chaos comes order. Someone mentioned contradiction before, well there you have it. Anyway one could argue that small garbage posts are the heart and soul of the chaos and the overall theme of the thread being one of ignoring most of those garbage posts is the order out of the chaos. Now maybe I have got it all wrong but I like to play devils advocate nonetheless. It was fun.......

                        It is interesting that you read the model the other way around. You read it to mean that the ecosystem provides us with valuable services. This is of course true and it did occur to me to read it this way, but to me this is too obvious. To me the value of the ecosystem is unquestionable. To me anything you cannot live without (clean water, clean air, etc) is beyond value. In a weird sort of way putting a value on things like this is saying that they can be bought or sold. And we have and do buy and sell such things today and we (as a society) do undervalue ecosystems. We have made a bet that we can control and engineer nature. It is a bet we are slowly losing (in my opinion). It will take a few more years to find out how the bet turns out. Many people think we haven't lost the bet and many people have put their head in the sand concerning the whole thing.

                        So yes any method or means that we can use to more properly appreciate the valuable services that the ecosystems provide us with is a good thing. I hope it is a small step in the right direction and I hope we can come to a quick consensus as to what these things are truly worth.

                        A book and author I would suggest to anyone concerned about learning more about ecosystems and our world in general would be "Symbiotic Planet" by Lynn Margulis. I just started reading some of her books (also read "Acquiring Genomes" and have a few others lined up to begin reading soon) and they are fascinating. The book "Symbiotic Planet" talks a lot about small life forms (bacteria and virus' and protoctista that affect our world in innumerable ways we do not yet appreciate) and has a fair amount of technical terminology but even through all that one is able to piece together a larger picture of how all the different parts of the ecosystem and the planet as a whole operate.
                        “There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
                        George Carlin

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Seraphina View Post
                          I read the model exactly the other way around, not that we service the ecosystem, but that the ecosystem provides valuable services to us. The ecosystem services model is useful because it helps us to more clearly identify, understand, and value the actual services provided. That remains true whether those services benefit humans today, or other living creatures eons before or after our brief tenure on this planet.
                          Indeed. I was thinking about this thread yesterday while taking a class on bear research at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. We were discussing a chapter from our text that told the story of the creation of a wildlife preserve in Peru that came about because of concern for an individual captive bear. A few folks wanted to set aside public land for a small preserve for the bear, but of course many locals objected due to the perceived loss of economic opportunity that such a preserve would entail (timber harvests, agriculture, etc.) to make a long story short, they created buy-in through various public outreach approaches that spread the idea that "el oso es agua", translated as the bear is water. They helped people understand the ecosystem services that the undeveloped mountainous terrain provided, specifically focusing on the mitigation of seasonal flooding and provision of regularly flowing drinking water rather than the dry stream beds found in nearby areas that had been developed. By focusing on the services that in-tact ecosystems provided to people they helped the locals understand the ecomic value of conservation.

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                          • #43
                            Great example Brian. I worked with a number of engineers and we do speak different languages so communication is key.

                            One area back in the 70's that was not common then but common now is to use the forest to filter water that is being pumped out of an area or ditch. Engineers typically wanted to take a hose directly to the closest drainage and discharge directly into it. That causes water quality issues and in some cases permit violations.

                            However, by explaining that discharging 100-200 feet from the stream the forest will filter the discharge and permits will not be violated. This seems straight forward now but there were numerous times when explanations of why one had to run extra hose and pump actually further from the stream was more common than one would think.

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                            • #44
                              Well, here is your silver star hon – sure has worked well so far! Oh, btw, don’t count on your gps too much because we’ve had some totally unpredictable solar weather lately; our geomagnetic field has been slammed with some very interesting CME activity.. yup, like never seen before! –wink- (without a smile)
                              If MODELS can predict the unpredictable, ****, don’t you think they would have flown those satellites home, being millions of dollars and all, instead of watch them get flash-killed in an unpredictable solar flare? … Man, I’d want a refund on model investment if those were my satellites!! For sure..
                              but.. the whole idea is cute - carry on....
                              Originally posted by Nerka View Post
                              Models are used all the time in the natural world with good outcomes. Our ability to travel in space is based on computer generated models of how gravity and other forces work, our understanding of human systems is based on models of chemical interactions in the human body, our understanding of how rivers flow involve models of hydrodynamics, our models of storms - hurricanes or just plain old low pressure systems help predict weather, .... your premise wolfwatching is just not defensible given the empirical data.

                              While some models fail and that is a given there is no reason to state that models are not useful in the decision making process. In fact, the volume of data in some scientific fields requires modeling to be able to compute/understand what is going on. String theory comes to mind as does chaos theory.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                A MODEL is a computer-generated sequence of historical events!!! Doesn’t help much predicting unforeseen events.. Simple logic!! And the history of computer-generated models has a historical database of a VERY short duration.. Sorry.. I’ll go ask the old-timer in the woods to tell me when then the snow will break! Last-point and move this thread forward and onward… DELETE Brian - DELETE!!

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