Animal ForageBiodiversityPlant SystemsRegional Water CycleSoil Rehabilitation

Trophic Cascades – On the Reintroduction of Wolves to Yellowstone National Park

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. — John Muir

The eradication of wolves from Yellowstone National Park is a classic example of the Us and Them approach to wildlife management — where a simplistic, selfish and reductionist mindset sees nature as something to battle and compete against, rather than recognising that each wildlife entity has an important role to play in helping the systems we depend on to flourish. While the important role each ‘character’ plays out in the grand ‘theatre’ of life is rarely fully understood, even by the more eco-literate amongst us, this is where we, the human actor, need to treat the world around us with humble respect. Whilst we may not completely understand the importance of specific elements in the eco-system around us, at the very least we can learn to submit to its greater wisdom — recognising that these systems functioned long before our machines, our economy, and our greed came along to destroy it.

The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is a classic example of the far reaching — and might I also say rapid — effects of putting things back the way they were….

Now, if only we, the human element, could come to understand the meaningful role we should be playing in this grand theatre….

And a look at the sheer beauty of the Yellowstone landscape:


  1. My students were mesmerized by the videos. We discussed how we needed to be ecosystem engineers and have a way of being more like the wolves and beavers and cause a positive trophic cascade rather than the horrendous negative trophic cascade of effects that we currently cause by our way of being.

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