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Reconnecting Ancient, Evolved Connections to Nature
As many as 40,000 years ago humans replaced several four-legged species as primary predators in the Western Hemisphere and began serving those ecosystems as hunters and herders, as seed disseminators and cultivators, as water spreaders, and more.
Today, there are cases in which humans are still performing those same functions. In some instances, they are sustaining and even restoring ecosystem function by means of them. The Tiptons of Nevada (see Success Stories) used their cattle to revegetate a barren mine site by using the animals to churn in organic mulch (hay), till in seeds, tamp the soil over those seeds, and fertilize the results with dung and urine. And, as the animals did their work, the Tiptons kept them moving as natural predators and indigenous herders have kept herds of ungulates moving for millennia.
In southwestern New Mexico, David Ogilvie restored the riparian habitat that now supports the largest and fastest-growing population of endangered southwestern willow flycatchers in the world by resurrecting a system of irrigation ditches that may date back to indigenous farmers. By spreading water over the landscape and slowing its flow as beavers and indigenous humans have for millions of years David Ogilvie created an Eden for a species that was on the brink of extinction.
Because stewards such as these operate by means that are natural, removing them from their habitat would be as unnatural as removing redwoods, beavers, or wolves from theirs. And it could be just as damaging to ecosystem health. EcoResults! gives all of us a means to participate in the renewal of these ancient, evolved connections.