August 20, 2013

Landscape change

In the past, I have talked about the slow speed at which the landscape changes...and how humans often do not perceive the change that is happening, even on their own farm and potentially even when they are the architects of the change.

Well, the current rate of landscape change has sped up.  The culprit is high commodity prices, which is not news....for the past couple of years, marginal grounds have been 'recovered' by removing trees and canceling CRP contracts to put ground into production.  And, why not?  There is money to be made.  If you owned that piece of ground, you might make the same decision.

But, a couple of bell-weather signs of the SPEED of this change have come out in the past couple of weeks.

First, the state of Nebraska and the state of Iowa have both released news releases about the dramatic loss of trees.  Nebraska went as far to issue a press-release that had the wording of an endangered species announcement....and the species of concern?  The cottonwood.  Who would have thought we would get to the point where people were concerned about one of the fastest growing, most common species (and our state tree)?

Last, today the Upland Game forecast was released in Nebraska.  Besides the words that most Nebraskans have grown accustomed to (pheasant numbers appear to be down, but late production might still offer some hope), the following phrases were included:

"Habitat loss in the eastern counties continues to be a concern.  Hunters are again advised to scout areas prior to hunting to make certain areas are still available."

Yup, that's right...the landscape is changing so fast that you might not be able to hunt (or even find) the spot you loved last year.  Wow.  Grass disappearing quickly.

Worst of all...that favorite shade tree might be gone.  We live in interesting times.

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