Aldo Leopold on the Resilience-Stability Tradeoff

We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness. The deer strives with his supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes, and dollars, but it all comes to the same thing: peace in our time. A measure of success in this is all well enough, and perhaps is a requisite to objective thinking, but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run. Perhaps this is behind Thoreau’s dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world. Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men.

Source (emphasis mine)

The last line of the above quote refers to how wolves in their predatory role protect the mountains from being denuded by herbivores such as deers.

Comments

  1. And yet: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.”

    ?

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