bog butterflies and misinformation

Eric or Pat Metzler spruance at
Tue Jan 19 15:49:37 EST 1999

Who wrote it?  

I'm curious for two reasons.  Seems that the author(s), rather than
American Butterflies, is incorrect for use of poetic license (misuse of
license).  Your notice seems to cast aspersions on the entire
organization for the transgression of one author(s).  

Perhaps the editor, too, should be asked to be more careful with liberal
use of impressions rather than facts.  

In any case, I'm not sure a letter from me to NABA will mean anything
because I too do not have the facts, that you think, so carefully eluded
the author(s) and editor.  

Have you considered a rebuttal to be published in American Butterflies? 
I'd suggest that you write a rebuttal and see what happens.  Ask the
editor to tell you how to submit an article that corrects misinformation
in the original piece.

Eric Metzler
Columbus OH

Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX wrote:
> I recently read an interesting article in the fall 1998 issue of American
> Butterflies.  Unfortunately it contained some interesting assertions that
> fall far from the facts of the situation.  Since I find it distressing to
> see such incorrect statements in print, here are the statements, followed by
> my comments:
> Assertion: "One of the last great wildernesses on Earth covers the northern
> third of North America. In this realm, beyond the bustle of modern human
> culture, life progresses much as it has since the melting of the last ice
> sheet 10,000 years ago."
> Comments: Except for the relatively small area covered by the USA state of
> Alaska, the northern third of North America is occupied by a country that
> goes by the name of Canada. Altho we are blessed by still having some areas
> of wilderness; this country is definately not a great wilderness. The thirty
> or so million people that live in Canada might be insulted by the perception
> that we live beyond the bustle of modern human culture - yes Virginia, we
> live in heated homes, have live theater, drive on paved roads and use the
> internet !!
> Assertion: "Though they cover much of the North American landscape, such
> peatland habitats are almost unknown to the continent's human inhabitants."
> Comments: In fact there is a very rich scientific literature dealing with
> most aspects of boreal peatland ecology. Further, the Canadian peatlands are
> widely subject to human activity; including clearing and draining for
> agriculture, building and maintenance of transportation infrastucture, oil
> and gas exploration and production, forestry etc etc. Hardly "almost
> unknown" !!
> Assertion: Relatively easy access access to these peatlands is possible only
> where modern human culture encroaches on the southern limit of the boreal
> forest." (referring to northern and central Wisconsin) it is stated "There
> may be no easier place on the continent to view these elusive species."
> Comments: In fact there are at least hundreds of thousands of miles of roads
> in Canada that run through or within spitting distance of boreal peatlands.
> There is no shortage of easy places in Canada to view these "elusive
> species" which in many places are common roadside bugs and not the least bit
> elusive. I have routinely seen these in roadside ditches passing through the
> right habitats and furthermore some of these species are not even restricted
> to bogs and fens in other parts of North America.
> And finally I cannot resist also mentioning another older article in
> American Butterflies that dealt with checkerspot butterflies in the western
> part of the continent and, if memory serves, made some reference to the
> Rocky Mtns. in Montana being the "northern" rocky mountains. In fact the
> northern Rocky Mtns are  located some 10-11 degrees of latitude further
> north.  NABA members please lobby your organization to be more cognizant of
> North American cultural and physical geography in its publications.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Norbert Kondla  P.Biol., RPBio.
> Forest Ecosystem Specialist, Ministry of Environment
> 845 Columbia Avenue, Castlegar, British Columbia V1N 1H3
> Phone 250-365-8610
> Mailto:Norbert.Kondla at

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