FREE Conservation Book with NJOA Membership
By Anthony P Mauro, Sr (c) 2011
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- Since this column deals with conservation we might as well begin with a definition. Conservation, or sustainable use, is a process that acts to keep something in a safe or entire state. When applied to the natural world it is the means for maintaining the health of fisheries, habitats, forests, wildlife and biological diversity.
Conservation is Mother Nature’s way of supporting life on earth; it is the ability of biological systems to perpetuate. On a grand scale, chemical cycles redistribute oxygen, nitrogen, water and carbon through living and non-living things. For humans, plants and animals it provides for a continued wellbeing, since wellbeing is dependent on the natural world and the ability to conserve natural resources.
But let’s make conservation relevant to our interests. Since we enjoy fishing, hunting and trapping we’ll want to do these things throughout our lifetime. So let me pose a “what if’ scenario; what if a fisherman owned the only lake in the world and was the sole person to fish the lake. Let’s imagine that one day he heads down to the water’s edge and outlandishly catches every fish in the lake!
Let’s also imagine that the lingering euphoria of his feat prompts him to rise early the following day to redo his accomplishment. He casts his line but after a brief period of time he remembers that there aren’t any fish in the lake because he caught them all the day before. He becomes panic stricken with the realization that the rest of his days on earth won’t be spent fishing, his favorite pastime! He’s also faced with having to find something else to eat to sustain himself. What to do?
Well, fortunately this scenario is an invention of my overworked imagination and therefore I can easily remedy this state of affairs by granting the misguided fellow a second chance. And, as a show of gratitude, the fisherman takes the opportunity to educate himself about the ecology of the lake so that he can understand how fish remain bountiful. He googles “lake ecosystems” and he learns about the different ingredients, and the interactions of these ingredients, within the lake that cause fish to survive and thrive.
He was shocked to learn that it was the sun that is the supplier of all life and that it provided the energy and temperature for phytoplankton (mostly algae) to grow. He read that there were tiny creatures called zooplankton that needed to feed on phytoplankton in order to survive. Then he read that some small fish ate zooplankton and that there were larger fish that survived on these smaller fish.
With this knowledge, and much more gleaned from his study, the fisherman learned that there was an ecosystem of dependency in the lake. He realized that that the lake was actually a living thing and that he too depended on the lake’s ecosystem being healthy and in balance for his own survival since he subsisted on fish from the lake. The fisherman began to see himself as a cog in the ecosystem machine.
So, on his next trip to the lake the fisherman decides to catch only the fish needed for sustenance. He also makes sure that he never pollutes the lake so that its ecosystem remains healthy and in balance. After all, his survival and recreation are linked to the health of the lake’s ecosystem.
The fisherman is now engaged in making certain there is “sustainable use” of the lake’s natural resources. He is an environmental steward; he practices conservation and refers to himself as a conservationist. It’s a story with a happy ending.
Of course, conservation is also relevant to the hunter, trapper, forester, marine ecologist and to all those that want continued enjoyment in the outdoors. Unfortunately it seems our modern culture has lulled us into ignorance about our link to the environment and the workings of conservation. The trappings of modernity seem to blind us to our connection to ecosystems. It is a disconnect that creates the illusion that food comes from the market and water from the spigot and not the natural world.
This same lack of awareness of the dynamic aspects of nature also causes us to believe that natural resources should be “preserved” and not touched by humanity even though Mother Nature has no such prescription as preservation for things in her charge – she practices “sustainable use”, or conservation, as with the example of the lake. It is conservation, an energy chain of life and death, which helps to keep nature in a safe and entire state.
So, if you enjoy fishing, hunting and trapping and take the necessary measures to ensure that you have the opportunity to do these things throughout your life then you too are a conservationist.
If you have an interest in learning more about conservation and humanity’s link to the natural world, if you would like to understand the inherent value of fishing and hunting in environmental stewardship and should you want to learn how your fellow outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen are educating the public and legislators about conservation then I’d like to provide you with further reading.
I will send my book, “Color the Green Movement Blue: A Remedy for Environmental Health” FREE of charge with your one-year membership in the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance. You’ll also enjoy reading the section about the trials and tribulations of the founding of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance.
Simply fill out the NJOA membership form at the link that follows: http://www.njoutdooralliance.org/support/membership/bonus.html
Until next time… wishing you the very best of outdoor experiences.
Anthony P. Mauro, Sr, (also known as “Ant” to friends and associates) is Chairman and co-founder of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance.
In addition to NJOA, Ant's commitment to the principles of sustainable use of natural resources and stewardship for the environment helped to found the New Jersey Angling & Hunting Conservation Caucus. The NJAHC is the first outdoor caucus of its kind in New Jersey and is designed to educate opinion leaders and policy makers of the principles of conservation and the benefits that confer to the state’s wildlife and ecology.
A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Ant is an international big game hunter and avid conservationist. He has authored two books on conservation and hunting, including “Color The Green Movement Blue“.