too much nature in New York

Greg Nowell GN842 at CNSVAX.Albany.Edu
Wed Dec 9 10:11:50 PST 1998

The recent postings on the greenhouse effect remind me on a tidbit I saw in some paper which I have no idea whether it has any truth or not. It said something to the effect that re-forestation in the US northeast generally and in New York had counteracted (by making chunks o' carbon dioxide into trees) some N years of automobile use, a number I found implausibly high, but I have to remember that stationary power generation tends to out-greenhouse transportation.

Whether that is true or not, I have been struck by the general fact: New York is a forest state. It's 60% forest and growing--lots of farmland is returning to treedom becaue of the superior agricultural productivity of the west and midwest. This is a boon to the region's dominant herbivore, deer, for whom reforestation is like a 24 hour catering service.

There are 25,000 CAR/DEER ACCIDENTS A YEAR in NY. It's a staggering number but it is indeed a ritual part of the nightly news, which covers everything except real news. Recently a small child was killed in the back seat because a deer smashed through a car window and its hooves flailed about in the back. My back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that about 3-5 vehicles per thousand will collide with a deer in New York. Over twenty years that would mean about 1 chance in 10 of hitting a deer.

Moreover, people are worried because the hunter population, spurred by liberal horror and what have you, has declined something like 30% in the last 10 years. The automobile is turning into the deer's last remaining predator.

There have been some noises about re-introducing wolves. This has raised no small amount of opposition in the Adirondack forests and would I think turn into outright hysteria in the suburban zones. Not to mention thaht people will start hitting wolves with their cars.

-- Gregory P. Nowell Associate Professor Department of Political Science, Milne 100 State University of New York 135 Western Ave. Albany, New York 12222

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