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Monday, May 25, 2009

Daniel B. Botkin : Reflections of a renegade naturalist

I’ve spent four decades as a Ph. D. ecologist trying to understand nature, environment, life on the Earth. I’ve studied moose in the far north, elephants in Africa, bowhead whales in northern oceans, forests in North and Central America. I’ve helped with the conservation of the California condor, salmon in the Pacific Northwest, the whooping crane in Texas, the ecosystem of Mono Lake California. I’ve helped analyze the effects of a mining road on natural ecosystems and traditional ways of life on Native American lands; ecological effects of toxin materials at a major California toxic depository; effects of radioactivity on a natural forests. I helped plan the use of vegetation in Los Angles as a typical city in a dry climate. I did some of the earliest work in ecology forecasting possible effects of global warming on life, and helped NASA start the use of satellite remote sensing to study the Earth’s environments.

My work has involved developing computer models of forests and life in lakes, and of populations of endangered species. These models have been used to forecast effects of global warming on life on Earth.

Whenever possible, I’ve traveled through wilderness, sometimes following the trails of Lewis and Clark and Henry David Thoreau (which I’ve written about in several books).

As a result, friends and colleagues often ask me for an objective analysis of what’s going on about the environment and people’s connection with it. And they’ve asked me to set up a Web site that will help them. This is that site. It has several goals.

  • Objective analysis of environmental issues.
  • Investigative reporting about nature, ecology, the environment, and people’s connection with the environment, including some of the big issues, like energy policy and endangered species.
  • Some professional opinions — sometimes mine, sometimes from a guest. Use the Article Categories and Search Box at right to browse the collection of articles written over the last eight years.

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