This analysis points out how indigenous people as super generalist predators helped marine food webs. If you look at it right, it could lead to environmental funding going to indigenous people with a 5,000 year plus track record of being locally sustainable.

The article from Santa Fe Institute:

Although ecologists have studied food webs, the networks of who eats whom in the natural world, for decades, they have rarely asked how humans fit into the picture. Recent research by the Santa Fe Institute’s Jennifer Dunne is the first to examine the detailed feeding habits of human hunter-gatherers in relation to other species.

By synthesizing 5,000 years of biological, archeological, ethnographic, and other data from marine systems in the North Pacific, Dunne and colleagues have characterized how humans fit into complex marine food webs, how they compare to other predators, and how their behaviors might have affected long-term ecosystem sustainability.

The results are surprising: Despite being “super-generalist” predators that fed on more species than other predators, the Aleut of Sanak Island, Alaska frequently switched among their many food sources, a flexibility that likely helped stabilize the entire ecosystem. This research provides a network-based perspective on how modern-day economic pressures might drive ecologically dysfunctional overharvesting of rare species and potential destabilization of whole food webs.

via Research Examines Ancient Humans as Major Predators in Marine Food Webs, Suggesting Lessons for Sustainability.

Advertisements