A view from the ferry to Bute
From What I'm Reading
- As I researched the rarest butterflies, the single biggest surprise was one consistent source of degradation of habitat: loss of natural disturbance. There are three corollaries to this. First, this phenomenon is general, in that all of the rarest butterflies require natural disturbances to maintain their habitat. Second, the source of the disturbance could differ vastly between one rare butterfly and the next. Third, disturbances are at the same time lethal and essential for stable populations of rare butterflies. Rare insects are likely to respond to disturbance in the same way as butterflies, making butterflies a strong indicator of a disturbance's effect on the broader insect community.
I grappled with my own bias against disturbance as I researched the rare butterflies. Earlier, I never condoned apparent destruction of butterfly habitat, and by association rare butterflies, and I actively opposed it for more than a decade. However, my thinking transformed as I watched the loss of one population after another. I came to realize that I should not consider conservation of each individual butterfly. I refocused on entire butterfly populations and on persistence of species. Disturbance that caused immediate harm to some individuals was the only way to preserve whole populations; a small part of the population was sacrificed for the greater good. Persistent decline forced me to adopt the unconventional and counterintuitive logic that killing some butterflies can save butterflies.