Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Industrial Managed Synthetic Forests justified because Nature is flawed & poorly designed

Somewhere a Biomimeticist  just fell off a chair & it wasn't Janine Benyus

I'm totally convinced that if the biotechnology industry has its way,  millions of acres of native forests around the world will be bulldozed or steam rolled down and replaced with plantations of genetically engineered (GE) trees. Here in Sweden, the main leader in this backroom mandate is SweTree with it's governmental blessing.  Here in Sweden in these tree plantations, there are essentially no other understory plants (can't blame Earthworms), insects, birds, or wildlife, just sterile rows upon rows of cloned synthetic trees growing at accelerated rates in dead, lifeless soil. The typical reasons for genetically altering these trees with unnatural characteristics is to have the ability to kill insects, tolerate colder temperatures, resist toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and grow the trees at a much faster rate to be harvested in 20 years as opposed to 100 years. But what is really the purpose behind reingineering forest trees ? Well, the Biotechnology Industry wants to market these designer trees with a variety of traits that will increase their income-generating capacity (otherwise known as Patents) at least over the short-term. For the Timber Industry they want trees which have immediate commercial value with specific tailored characteristics, as well as speeding up the harvest process. Here in Sweden a landowner does not want to wait 100+ years to harvest big old growth trees. They want harvest in 20 years or less. 

The Biotech company SweTree in collusion with the paper industry in Sweden, are engineering trees to have lower lignin. This natural polymer must be removed from wood pulp before the pulp can be made into paper, which is an expensive part of the process. Ever drive past a paper mill ? The stench is horrible and results from the plethora of chemicals they use. The problem is, lignin is what gives trees their structural integrity and allows trees to withstand strong in wind storms and any other harsh weather conditions. Previously I wrote about one notorious hurricane type storm which hit Southern Sweden that the Swedes called Gudrun Storm in 2005 which blew down these trees everywhere by the millions. So these Low-lignin trees are weaker and less able to withstand these powerful environmental stresses. They also do not optimally nourish important fungi once they are inserted into the soil. Also when the tree dies, these low-lignin trees decompose faster, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere more quickly, which will also contribute further to climate change.


Image by Nicklas Elmrin (2005)
About a year and a half before I moved to Sweden and got married, my future wife was visiting me in San Diego California from Sweden when the Gudrun hurricane storm hit on January 8 & 9 2005. Thousands of hectares of industrial plantation trees were flattened much like the scenes at Mount St Helens in 1980 in Washington State. In the photograph below here you can see a hurried attempt to salvage log as many fallen trees as possible. Remember, these are not normal trees, they degrade much faster.
Images - VisionDivision

The Storm Gudrun 2005, Salvage logging, 
Byholma, Sweden

There are many other incredible reasons why GMO plantation Timber is a dumb worthless idea. One major scary thing is the ease with which these engineered unnatural flaws (inserted transgenic gene trait) could get out into the wild and forever effect forested ecosystems. These longer lived trees are not like the conventional annual GMO crops which only live a few months. These forest trees live for years and despite the propaganda out there that nothing will go wrong or escape into the wild, you cannot control where these tree's manufactured pollen and seeds end up outdoors. It's impossible. But there is more to this subject and it has to do with money. When money is the underlying motivation, it will always colour the scientific research. Recently an article came out in the online journal, "The Register Guard" on the subject where Industrial Forestry claim to have the science behind their logging. No surprising, but then all corporate entities, biotechnology included, claim science is on their side. Actually they do have a science on their side. Anybody can purchase and pay for any type of scientist to back their claims. The tobacco industry has always done this in the past as well as other industries. Many pro-science types have a hard time differentiating between good and bad science. To many folks belonging to the "culture of science" gang, putting down any science makes you anti-science. Not true, but let's get back to this article. Here is the first paragraph and the link:
"Recent commentaries on public forest management in The Register-Guard by timber industry lobbyists say our forests should be managed with “science.” Their “science” comes from colleges of forestry influenced by timber corporations’ donations to see forests primarily as money, emphasizing clearcut logging and replanting, riparian logging, salvage logging, wildlife logging, fire prevention logging, forest health logging, restoration logging and — the latest forest science scam — logging for water."
Forest industry’s ‘science’ means more logging
I love the last science justification used for the need of increased logging, " . . and the latest forest science scam — logging for water." Somewhere, (UC Merced Hydrological Engineer, Roger C. Bales), just fell off a chair. What actually got me really rolling on this subject in the first place was a debate over at the California Chaparral Institute's Facebook page where this linked article on industrial timber influencing forest management policies was being discussed. Many of the Timber Industry's ideas go in direct conflict with how nature wants to be managed. The industrial side claims they have science behind them. Disagree and you are labeled anti-science. All sides [industrial & environmental] insist only they have the claimed science, but not all science is good and much of it is bad. Seriously, look at the sad state of our planet. We wouldn't be having these discussions if science actually worked the way the definitions we are force fed say it works. Science working responsibly and effectively is dependent on either the right or wrong people and what motivates them. It's called bias. 

image - eurweb.com
But take my example of a court trial once again and people's definition of 'evidence'. When a defendant in a court trial loses his/her case, many commenters will insist it was because the defendent's side had no evidence. Absolutely not true. When a court case begins, both prosecution and defense lawyers come in with their briefcases full of evidence. During the court trial process both sides present their evidence. But what caused the guy to lose his case is that the evidence presented by his legal team to the jury was not compelling. Same exact thing with Science. There is a lot of good science out there that does not have a bank vault behind it or the dirty backroom political deals to push it through. But there are many Scientists who truly do know and have a grasp on how a forest should be managed and that the potential for profit is still there if properly managed. The problem for concept of ecology management is that the wealth gets redistributed and put another way, the prevailing business orthodoxy which presently monopolizes the industry doesn't like it. What got me interested in finishing this post was a comment by a Forester who is a regular commenter over there on the Chaparral Institute's pages. He is almost always at odds with many of the environmental issues brought up and discussed. Logically & not surprisingly he takes sides with the industrial worldview which supports his bread and butter needs. I get that. But here is what he said, btw, his name is irrevelvant.
"Different people have different definitions of what a healthy forest and or eco system is....."
Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist at USDA Forest Service, Weiser, Idaho
Yeah, there sure is. Remember the infamous lawyered legal excuse, "It depends on what your definition of "Is" is" ? We live in a time where definition shell games are a strategy for debate. For some people forests are a raw canvas to re-engineer for pure short term profit and for others the same forests are a biodiverse ecosystem which is a long term complex part of what keeps life on the Earth functioning like a well oiled machine. I'll give just one industrial example of massive land restoration which fails big time. China for some time has spent a lot of time, money, and manpower effort to reforest many remote western areas, but under an industrial monoculture business model. It's the business motivation that dooms the projects from the start. Chinese culture is obsessed with business. Here in Göteborg Sweden the Chinese tourism is huge. Tour buses all summer long. What I found comical last week were a large group of Chinese tourists walking through central Göteborg and taking many many photographs before reaching the bus. But these were not normal tourist photos, they were photographing store front businesses and how the Swedish businesses arrange their merchandise display. Restoring nature should not be about making money, that will eventually come, but patience is required and that's where the problems lay. And that is where the big business Biotechs believe they can provide answers. For business short term yes, but for nature long term no. Without explaining much more, you can read about the challenges of monculture forestry below.
Forests from an Industrial Perspective -> China
(Photos by Fangyuan Hua, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs)

"China’s Grain-for-Green Program, the world’s largest reforestation effort, has converted 69.2 million acres of cropland and barren scrubland back to forest. Yet, the program overwhelmingly leads to the planting of monoculture forests, falling short of restoring the biodiversity of native forests — and can even harm existing wildlife. The graphic above shows the composition of (clockwise from upper left) a mixed forest, a native forest, a eucalyptus forest, cropland, a bamboo forest and a Japanese cedar forest."
Princeton University: Seeing the forest for the trees: World's largest reforestation program overlooks wildlife 
========================================
Good Responsible Scientists have found out how the Natural World wants to be managed
======================================== 
Keep in mind that these things you can click on and read below have been known for years and they've been rejected by industrial science. Biodiversity is the key.
Higher levels of multiple ecosystem services are found in forests with more tree species
Photo: P. Turander/Azote

A new study shows that mixed forests compared to monocultures provide higher levels of multiple ecosystem services, including timber production.  (August 2013)
Abstract: "Forests are of major importance to human society, contributing several crucial ecosystem services. Biodiversity is suggested to positively influence multiple services but evidence from natural systems at scales relevant to management is scarce. Here, across a scale of 400,000 km2, we report that tree species richness in production forests shows positive to positively hump-shaped relationships with multiple ecosystem services. These include production of tree biomass, soil carbon storage, berry production and game production potential. For example, biomass production was approximately 50% greater with five than with one tree species. In addition, we show positive relationships between tree species richness and proxies for other biodiversity components. Importantly, no single tree species was able to promote all services, and some services were negatively correlated to each other. Management of production forests will therefore benefit from considering multiple tree species to sustain the full range of benefits that the society obtains from forests."
http://www.nature.com - Forestry and nature conservation can benefit from higher tree species diversity 
It's incredible. Much of this information has been known for some years now, but Corporate Business utilizing industrial technological innovation has taken the science of discovery, manipulating it, abusing it and misusing it for profit. And Why ? Impatience. Take a look at what one of the co-authors says here: 
"Different tree species provide different services. For example, the amount of spruce trees was linked to high growth rates, the amount of pine to berry production, while higher carbon storage was found in areas with high abundance of birch" 
Fredrik Moberg, co-author (August 2013)
Astonishing. Of all the places in the world, this research was done in the country of Sweden in SweTree's backyard by Stockholm University along with the University, Forestry Research Institute and the Swedish Forestry. Corporate Business interests will always trump evidence for scientific sustainable ecology. But here's the real killer and what prevents industrial science and politician bedfellows from grasping onto this:
"Ecosystems provide a wealth of benefits to human society, and the provision of such ecosystem services depends fundamentally on functions performed by organisms. This has led scientists to enquire how the diversity and composition of communities may regulate ecosystem functions. A large body of evidence has established that species diversity promotes ecosystem functions under experimental conditions. There are, however, many exceptions to the positive diversity–function relationship. In addition, most experiments have been conducted at limited temporal or spatial scales."
And pay real particular attention now to this last sentence. It references those who actually make the forest managment policies and what a valuable tool this research could be. Unfortunately if scientists aren't talking short term $ or £ or €, they're most often going to be ignored by policy makers. But still the research here is invaluable for decision making when it comes to forest management policies.
 "It is thus uncertain if conclusions based on results from these studies can be extended to the scales relevant to policy makers"
======================================== 
Are Mixed Tropical Tree Plantations More Resistant to Drought than Monocultures?

Schematic animation - MDPI, Basel, Switzerland  (2015)
"Schematic profile diagram of trees growing in (a) monoculture (Cedrela odorata) and (b) mixed species plots (from left to right, Luehea seemannii, Anacardium excelsum, Cedrela odorata and Tabebuia rosea). The trees are drawn accounting for their species specific natural canopy and root structure in scale of the height and rooting depth as measured in the plantation in Sardinilla, Panama. The better canopy stratification and root niche differentiation is visible in the mixed species stands (b) compared to the uniformity in monoculture (a)." 
(June 2015) (Source)
=========================================
 Remember when several Researchers revealed to us how Trees - Shrubs & other Plants Talk (communicate) ???
Illustration - sott.net - Science & Technology
The online journal, "The Scientist" headline read:
"Plant Talk: Plants communicate and interact with each other, both above ground and below, in surprisingly subtle and sophisticated ways."
"Researchers are unearthing evidence that, far from being unresponsive and uncommunicative organisms, plants engage in regular conversation. In addition to warning neighbors of herbivore attacks, they alert each other to threatening pathogens and impending droughts, and even recognize kin, continually adapting to the information they receive from plants growing around them. Moreover, plants can “talk” in several different ways: via airborne chemicals, soluble compounds exchanged by roots and networks of threadlike fungi, and perhaps even ultrasonic sounds. Plants, it seems, have a social life that scientists are just beginning to understand."  
So an ecosystem is an interdependent communal group of living cooperating organisms ??? I've always liked the network concept that Dr. Simard described, an “internet” of roots. Hence, the name "Earth's Internet" as I've titled this blog. Now notice below here that maple trees ability to communicate has been known for decades, but the teachings of the prevailing industrial scientific orthodoxy got in the way.
"In 1983, plant scientists Jack Schultz and Ian Baldwin reported that intact maple tree saplings ramped up their defense systems when exposed to herbivore-damaged maples. The injured trees, they suggested, were alerting neighbors to the presence of a predator by releasing chemical signals into the air. But the plant research community didn’t buy it. The results were difficult to replicate, critics pointed out, and many questioned how a trait that benefits neighboring plants but not the emitter could be evolutionarily stable. By the late 1980s, “most ecologists felt these ideas had been debunked and that it was time to move on,” says Karban."
 Wow, isn't this wonderful and aren't you grateful that these responsible Scientists didn't cave in to the critics ? Apparently the responsible research persisted despite the fact that, “researchers who doubt that plants would have evolved to be altruistic have ruminated on the old question of the evolutionary origins of the phenomenon” (translation =  Industrial ideologically driven Scientific Orthodoxy stood in the way and wasted valuable time in our understanding of how forests really work which in turn put on hold viable forest management strategies) and “the evolutionary explanation for volatile communication among plants remains open to debate” which basically means that if the Industrial Scientific Orthodoxy is not a happy camper on this, then responsible scientific research hits a road block. Frankly, there is no reason for either side of these origins debates to bicker over how it evolved or how it was created. The fact is, people should simply observe the phenomenon for what it is and jump head first into biomimetics in formulating a schematic blueprint on how you can more easily and efficiently manage a forested or any other plant community ecosystem. But wait there is more:
"Individual compounds are the words," says Jarmo Holopainen, an ecologist at the University of Eastern Finland, "and these words are combined to make specific sentences." Unfortunately, he adds, researchers know little about what these volatile signals mean to a plant and how they are perceived. "We’ve made very little progress in deciphering this chemical code." 
Source: The Scientist - "Plant Talk"
Wow, I love the references here to the informational content of the chemical compounds being likened to words, then individual chemicals working together being likened to sentences, etc. Like the concept of plants talking (which ticked off the ideologues), so too does the subject of Epigenetic Mechanisms. Epigenetics where geneticists often refer not only to whole sentences, but also paragraphs and epigenetic switches in genes which can be either turned 'on' or 'off' which themselves are being likened to punctuation within whole paragraphs. Whole paragraphs themselves being likened to a specific gene working within the context of other deliberately selected non-coding genes (formerly 'Junk DNA' which itself was a label to smokescreen scientific ignorance of their function and purpose within the genome). Punctuation (genetic switches in genes being turned 'on' or 'off') can dictate how the meaning of informational content in the sentences within the paragraph can be altered to have completely different meaning. Hence the term gene expression comes into play. This is nothing more than a living organisms DNA & sensory mechanisms responding to environmental cues.

Illustrative animation from chronotext.org
I love the illustration above. For me it represents how environmental cues can influence how the genetic make up of any living organism's genome will respond accordingly to changes in the environment. This has zero to do with random mutations being acted upon by Tinker Bell's magic wand, otherwise known as natural selection. This infection of most of DNA being junk has held back science for years when things could have gone forward. It becomes understandable why Geneticist David Suzuki's colleagues blasted him because of his cautious stand on genetic engineering. Here is what David Suzuki said regarding his colleagues mind set: 
In discussions I’ve had with my fellow geneticists, they often say “listen Suzuki we are only talking about DNA; DNA is DNA, what difference does it make what organism it comes from. We pull it out of this organism put it into another, it’s just DNA”.
 Then back in December 2014, we were all treated to those stupid silly Intelligence Squared Debates: Genetically Modified Foods - Winners & Losers Where UC Davis GMO defender Alison Van Eenennaam used the same primative worldview of DNA being basically nothing more than Legos or Tinker Toys. Tell me Biotech geneticists and engineers aren't influenced the DNA being mostly Junk Dogma ?:
"We're just talking about genes, genes are genes, you take one gene one thing and you put it with some other genes"
What a pity epigenetics isn't being taken more seriously. Pity that these Biotech scientists don't have the same worldview on the amazing complexity and sophistication of the genome as Scott Rothbart, Ph.D., assistant professor at Van Andel Research Institute:                       
           “Many of the key players orchestrating DNA methylation had previously been characterized, but what we didn’t fully realize before this study is that they all work together in an elegant way,”
For those who are disturbed by this idea of an irresponsible worldview of nature being flawed and badly design in need of intellectual human intervention, Carl Sagan had a great description about the practice of astrology when compared to astronomy. I'll change the words a bit, but you can see what he said from the link in his name above from YouTube:
"There are two ways to view the natural world. The way it really is or the way we might wish it to be."
The statement applies equally well for both sides of the worldview debate who incessantly fight & bicker about each side's religious and political ideology which results in nothing getting absolutely being accomplished but wasted time. Such bickering does nothing but throw up road blocks to real sustainable technologies and policies innovated by means of Biomimetics or Biomimicry. Nature is not flawed, it's not badly designed. But it is off track and humans derailed it. This epigenetic change can be either a positive or a negative. Fortunately humans have the ability to control the positive. Sadly, thus far Humans have refused to do so. Below is a nice interview with Forest Ecologist Suzanne Simard who has shown how trees use a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and in coming to the aid of neighboring plants. Now she’s warning that threats like clear-cutting and climate change could disrupt these critical networks. No kidding!
Yale Environment 360: Exploring How and Why Trees ‘Talk’ to Each Other
But now finally, what about the later part of my post's title ? What about Nature being flawed & poorly designed ???
I may have placed those words in the title, but it's certainly not my belief. For decades now, Academia has had those well known celebrity types who have claimed to represent and speak for Science utilizing an irresponsible evolutionary argument against rightwing Fundies called, (click link: "Argument from Poor Design") which has done more to harm nature than it has in hammering fundies. The flaw itself with this irresponsible argument has been to instill in many a college student over the decades a worldview of designs found in nature as inept, inefficient and terribly designed. Hence whatever field they later entered especially in science or engineering provided them with an unconscious belief that what they need to do is improve upon nature's flaws. Journalist everywhere have also fallen for this scam often publishing numerous articles exploiting this worldview. But unwittingly, many who have promoted this idea have also been many of the ecology types. They've actually demonized the very things they claim to champion to save as an activist. Is it any wonder that company scientists from a Monsanto or SweTree believe they are improving upon Nature's flaw in design ? What about Climate Change or Global Warming ? Who took the lead in bringing this about ? Of course all humans bear a measure of guilt, but the Scientists themselves took the lead in ignoring designs found in nature and believed they were taking superior shortcuts in innovation and advancing humanity. Look where we are today. These same scientists have invented a word called Smithsonian Magazine: Anthropocene. As the article states, not all scientists are in agreement. But science itself, under the influence of ieology helped accelerate this anthropocene. Now suddenly, in a turn around to make a correction, some scientists are claiming to be champions of something else called Biomimicry or Biomimetics. This would be the turn around science discipline of copying designs found out in nature. It's certainly a refreshing start, but is it too late. Unfortunately researchers like, Janine Benyus, make an attempt to highlight that science has been on board with this all along and that is flat out untrue. To be effective, she needs to first backtrack and apologize to her TedTalk audiences for scientists putting nature down and creating this climate change anthropocene mess that 100+ years of enlightenment have dumped on mankind and Nature. She has never done this in any talk I've ever seen.
(TedTalk; Biomimicry in Action)
Final Conclusion
Ultimately there is no easy answer for repairing the damage done to our Earth by Industrial Corporate entities who misuse and abuse science for the production of a product and the average human being who buys into the propaganda of equating what defines a 'happy life' with consummerism (or the acquiring of many material things). People should know and understand the huge differences in the neutral real science of discovering how things in the natural world work and the science practiced by corporate industrial entities who hire engineers to manipulate scientific research for pure profit at environmental cost. Mankind as they stand will never self-correct. Not when the present Human leadership (Political, Religious & Business) stands in the way of a more ecological direction. Therefore it would appear that a forcible removal would be needed. Incredibly this appears to be happening very soon and when it happens, it won't be so much the "End of an Era" as it'll be the "End of an Error."

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tunnel Vision Science demonizing Earthworms again for Forest Decline

Contain those Crawlers! Invasive Earthworms in Our Forests - What's the big deal about earthworms again?

Beneficial here – detrimental there: European earthworms decrease species diversity in North America

Another study on invasive earthworms has been released and this time from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research. What's interesting is that they use the same tunnel vision narrowed focus on just one simple subject without using peripheral view of other related contributors or lack of them within the forest biodiversity. This has been done in the other studies where researchers failed to even consider the lack of other biological controls which may have been missing in those specific study areas. I've written about this previously in the two articles before where the presence of earthworm predators such as hedgehogs, moles, various birds, etc might be missing. 
I really do not need a lot of time here rehashing old news and points I made in previous posts, but some points made in the published report were puzzling. For example take this bit in their third paragraph. After explaining the myth of Ice Age extinction of earthworms in North America and how earthworms should be there period, they go on to explain their effect on the Native Plants. 
Many native plants cannot thrive under these unusual circumstances, which is why the species diversity of the forest understory is decreasing. Wherever the worm creeps, the goblin fern (Botrychium mormo), for example, has become rare. Other plants are also threatened by the earthworm invasion, such as the largeflower bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), the Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia elata), . . . . . "
Image: Invasive Species of sussex County, New Jersey

Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia elata)

Image: CalFlora
Wo there, wait a minute. Back up the Biodiversity Train for a minute. Japanese Angelica Tree ???That's not even a native plant in North America. In fact it's a horrible invasive in many places back east and up north. It looks very reminiscent of the invader out west called Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) also from Asia - China to be exact. This non-native tree easily invades many native chaparral plant community & forest locations in the western USA. But this Japanese Angelica tree is like a Tree of Heaven on Steroids. Take a look at that spiny truck and branch from the CalPhoto picture to the right here. If these earthworms are harming this invader, then wouldn't that be a good thing ? This is really a case of where the researchers didn't do their homework and have all their facts straight. Perhaps it's because their from Germany. Still, I think the common name containing "Japanese" would have been an easy clue. Even a Kindergartener would have gotten that one. Past articles have mentioned that Hardwood forest regions which are mainly Sugar Maples, Oaks, etc are said to be hurting the most and in decline because of Earthworms or Night Crawlers. Funny, in the late 1960s and early 70s when I use to visit several of our famil's farms back in Northeastern Iowa each summer, there were tonnes of nightcrawlers everywhere we hunted at night for fishing the next day, Our older generation family memebers said that they had always been there. There were no understory problems back then in forests that I personally ever saw. But why now ? It has been mentioned that these earthworms are killing Sugar Maples because these maples need an understory forest floor leaf liter for germination media. Yet, take a close look at two photos they reference below. There is no mention of where the these photos were taken, except from someone named Scott L. Loss of Oklahoma and Paul Ojanen of Minnesota.

Photo by Paul Ojanen (University of Minnesota)

Zoom in Link of Green Forest Understory



Photo by Scott L. Loss (Oklahoma State University)

Zoom in Link to bare Forest Understory

I first have to question the two radically different locations taken by one guy from Oklahoma in the south and the other guy's photo presumably in Minnesota in the north. How can you make a comparison ? The forest tree and plant diversity could be completely different. Also interesting is when you click on the zoom link of the supposedly bare forest understory in the bottom photo which magnifies the situation greatly, you see that this is actually Springtime. Not Fall or Winter. There is indeed leaves and other forest liter and numerous maples seedling are popping up everywhere. It just doesn't flow with their written narrative. They also mentioned how earthworm infested forests hurt the understory plants during summer or even drought periods. But that doesn't even jive with what Todd E. Dawson, formerly an associate professor at Cornell found when researching a natural phenomena called "Hydrailic Lift & Redistribution" of water from deeply rooted Sugar Maples to other smaller plants in the forest understory. It just seems to me lately that much of science is dropping the ball in research when they practice a narrowed worldview of tunnel vision on a specific subject. Ecosystems are driven by multiple factors, not just one. Here is the Cornell study:
Cornell University: Mother Nature's Irrigators* Plants Share Water With Their Neighbors
The other thing that doesn't fit their narrative of the disappearance of Sugar Maples in many areas are that they are being replaced by another invasive, Norway Maples (Acer platanoides). Norway Maple is extremely tolerant of shade and therefore thrives and out competes wonderfully with Sugar Maple. But they don't even attempt to reference this and they should have. For example, here is a Wikepedia piece on Norway Maple's invasiveness and how it can be a major cause of depleted forest understories. 
"The roots of Norway maples grow very close to the ground surface, starving other plants of moisture. For example, lawn grass (and even weeds) will usually not grow well beneath a Norway maple, but English Ivy, with its minimal rooting needs, may thrive. In addition, the dense canopy of Norway maples can inhibit understory growth. Some have suggested Norway maples may also release chemicals to discourage undergrowth, although this is controversial. Acer platanoides has been shown to inhibit the growth of native saplings as a canopy tree or as a sapling. The Norway maple also suffers less herbivory than the sugar maple, allowing it to gain a competitive advantage against the latter species."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_platanoides 
Did you notice that Norway Maple is very shallow rooted and outcompetes other plants for moisture ? Do you know why ? Like other trees here in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries where I live, they are all often shallow rooted because it rains incessantly here. If there is a month or so of no rain, it is very common to see these shallow rooted trees turn brown and eventually die if they don't receive moisture quickly. The often easily tumble over n a bad windstorm. So it makes sense that because of centuries of such habitat where constant rain is the norm, these trees have developed specific epigenetic induced characteristics which allow them to succeed in there particular Scandinavian and Siberian environment. Therefore in another foreign environment, their shallow roots desperately suck up as much water as possible in their new less wet environment. They have not had as much time to engineer themselves the way Sugar Maple also has an extensive spreading root system, but has numerous sinker roots for which it can tap into deeper subsoil layers for moisture capture. In the Oklahoma photo above which shows the supposedly bare understory, you can also see grasses in the background and they explain this in the report.
Grasses also grow well in invaded forests because their fine roots can quickly absorb soil nutrients, particularly nitrogen, and can tolerate summer droughts. Moreover, earthworms eat small seeds of certain plant species and thus directly influence the composition of the forest understory.
Yes I'm sure earthworms eat seeds, but it's doubtful they'd be capable of eating a large furry spiky Maple Seed with it's wing still attached. Another article tried to explain that they eat all the microbial community, but this seems to be nonsense since worm castings are loaded with rich microbial flora. People are going to have to look at every single science report and judge them accordingly. Not everything should ever be taken as sacred gospel. These researchers are as human as anyone else and they are therefore prone to error. Although researchers often hold themselves above the average person on the street and would probably disagree with me on that. But I have the historical record of 100+ years of know it all enlightenment which has brought the Earth and it's ecosystems to it's knees, so I think I'm still safe.
===============================
Something Else of Important Note on the two Photos above - They've recycle from another article back in 2012
Back in 2012 in the Smithsonian Blog, they were blaming Earthworms for the decline in Ovenbirds. Birds from the Midwest who make nests on the ground with twigs which create an over-like structure. I've never seen Earthworms devour twigs and sticks, but that's what they say. Take a look below of the photos by Scott L. Loss again.

Images by Scott L. Loss
You can read it and decide for yourself. Take any of these sensationistic story with a grain of salt. The are not necessarily truth just because scientific researchers say so. Frankly I see the nest is built within a clump of grass which according to the other article shouldn't be in a healthy understory. Interestingly, Ovenbirds eat earthworms as part of their diet.

SMITHSONIAN INSIDER: "EARTHWORMS TO BLAME FOR DECLINE OF OVENBIRDS IN NORTHERN MIDWEST FORESTS, STUDY REVEALS"
===============================
One last puzzling photograph from the article
(photo: Simone Cesarz)

European earthworms of the species Lumbricus terrestris

This picture above was a pazzle to me. It looked staged. Someone took a handful of earthworms and dumped them on top of some forst litter. But the idea was that the earthworms were removing the forest litter completely. I would have muched rather seen a photograph inside the forest canopy which they said had no understory plants because of earthworms, then digging a hole in this bare canopy to reveal all those earthworms. At the same time, show a photo of a hole being dug within a forest rich in understory plants and the lack of any earthworms. Does that make sense to anyone else ? 
And yet another important dilemma. Migration of all lifeforms [not just earthworms] northward because of  Climate Change
Image - University of Washington

interactive map shows where animals will move under climate change
They said the earthworms are moving northwards because of climate change. In fact scientists have said many things will move northward because of habitat disruption in the south. But there are some very important questions we should ask: Will these lifeforms be able to find their required unique foods along these routes ? And how much of that food will there actually be if those routes become, as they've projected, high traffic areas for their species? Given altitudes and weather, can they fatten up enough and hibernate safely to survive winter through their migrations ? Also, keep in mind that there are a great lack wildlife corridors for safe travel with barriers such as highways and ever present danger from hunters as well. They will need all kinds of help from conservationists and the public in general to survive in sufficient numbers for healthy breeding populations. Is there any historical precendent that tells us this will work out okay, or are we relying on small pockets of successful experimental pilot projects which have never been tested on a massive scale ? What about testing these pilot program successes on a grand scale ? Not likely.

Image - AllPESTS.ORG
Here is a great link on Moles. This is one subject I've never seen in any of these studies regarding possible absence of moles in these supposedly infested earthworm forest locations. Many gardeners mistakenly believe moles eat and kill their precious vegetables and plants. This is false, they are after grubs and especially fond of earthworms. Unfortunately there are numerous chemical and other pest control companies who are only too happy to provide a means of killing these animals. Moles are actually in decline in many areas and little is done to see the impact this may have on increased earthworm populations. This is what tunnel vision does to real scientific research. Anyway, here is the link:
https://allpests.org/animals/moles/mole.html
I suppose what puzzled me most was the absence of any talk about lack of earthworm predators in general. Many creatures eat earthworms. Small snakes, moles, toads, numerous birds, ants, mites, centipedes, etc, etc, etc. But again, no mention of whether or not they even bothered to look for these and if absent, why ? Were any of the earthworm infested locations ever improved by the reintroduction of any of these predators ? We'll never know. Almost every negative research paper I've ever read never once addresses these major topics. Here are a couple more interesting links for reading.
http://www.naturenorth.com/fall/ncrawler/ncrawler
http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu/earthworm-invaders




Friday, August 5, 2016

Biomimicry: Streamlining Innovation for Environmentally Sustainable Products

Bio-mimicry @ Polyface Farms

"In this interview with Joel Salatin, Joel talks about how the regeneration of his family farm utilized the patterns discovered from observing natural grazing and migration of wild animals in native plant communities. This discussion unlocks the secrets of Nature to create a system of pasture based agriculture that actually builds soil, diversity and interdependent relationships between farming and God. In respecting the natural process of Nature, Joel and his family have built a thriving  farm business, while restoring ecological integrity to the land. This method of farm management creates community amongst its workers and consumers and provides a spiritual connection to the land and its inhabitants." 
By Karen Rybold-Chin
Here are a couple other video links from the Mother Earth News fair, West Bend, Wisconsin and videos featuring Joel Salatin who continues on about biomimicry of Nature as opposed to working against Nature. 
Joel Salatin, Sacrifice and Sacredness of food
Joel Salatin: Synergy between Nature, Science and Technology
More examples of biomimicry of nature regarding agriculture. Industrial agriculture's worldview is about feeding crop plants with unnatural synthetic fertilizers. Natures way of feeding the plant is rather feeding the microbiome which in turn feeds the plant. There is no money in this for the Industrial Agricultural business model, hence their vicious resistence. Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures down in Georgia, tells us about his movement away from industrial agriculture to regenerative farmer. 
VIMEO: One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts
Nice video interviews and stories on Biomimicry with Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures and Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Swoop, Virginia which was released yesterday and this comes off the heals of a newly released research paper published entitled:
Industrial Research Institute: Biomimicry: Streamlining the Front End of Innovation for Environmentally Sustainable Products
Overview: "Biomimicry, defined as innovation through the emulation of biological forms, processes, patterns, and systems, is particularly valuable for its focus on solution discovery, as opposed to solution validation. GOJO Industries, Inc., used biomimicry to drive environmentally sustainable product innovation. The approach proved both efficient and effective: in comparison to a historical new product development project with a similar objective and scope, the biomimicry-driven project produced double the intellectual property and, based on a preliminary assessment of lead product concepts, at least double the energy savings for just one-sixth the resource commitment. Biomimicry also showed potential to increase the overall speed of front-end innovation. This case study suggests that biomimicry may be a highly promising approach for driving innovation, and particularly environmentally sustainable innovation, but further investigation is needed to validate the conclusions of this single case study. The authors will discuss their study in more detail at an IRI-sponsored webinar, October 7, 2016, 12–1 pm EST. For more information, visit;
Brown Bag - Biomimicry: Streamlining the Front End of Innovation for Environmentally Sustainable Products

Heart-inspired double-acting bladder pump
Other Designs in Nature for Inspirations in Technological  Innovation
______________________________________________ 
Nature-Inspired Biomimicry from the Sea!
image - Treehugger

 Mercedes-Benz looked towards the boxfish for their bionic car concept. Noting the aerodynamics and efficiency of the boxfish's shape, the engineers decided to apply the characteristics of the fish to a car. The result is a very streamlined vehicle with a 65% lower drag coefficient than other compact cars out at the time (2005).
How to Biomimic Desert Plants to stay COOL!

Saguaro Cactus stays cool by having ribs that provide shade and enhance heat radiation
"The same applies to the intricate structural designs of cacti, which are exposed to a great deal of heat pressure in the desert. Their heat-reflecting capacity is low, since their surface is greatly reduced so as to cut down on evaporation. Nature has solved the problem by equipping many cacti with cooling ribs. These shade the cactus's surface against the scorching sun and simultaneously improve heat radiation. The alternating planes of light and shade of the vertical cooling ribs of the torch thistle produce rising and falling air currents, which improve heat radiation. And when the sun reaches its highest position, it hits the torch thistle from above, where it presents its smallest surface. A botanist discovered that torch thistles perish of burns when they are placed horizontally in the sun."
Kingfisher - Bullet Trains & Tunnel Speed
Image - 500 Series Shinkansen / Sam Doshi

Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist 
Excerpt: "[W]e had another challenge that we pursued to the test run phase. Half of the entire Sanyo Shinkansen Line (from Osaka to Hakata) is made up of tunnel sections. When a train rushes into a narrow tunnel at high speed, this generates atmospheric pressure waves that gradually grow into waves like tidal waves. These reach the tunnel exit at the speed of sound, generating low-frequency waves that produce a large boom and aerodynamic vibration so intense that residents 400 meters away have registered complaints. For this reason, we gave up doing test runs at over 350 km/h.

"Then, one of our young engineers told me that when the train rushes into a tunnel, he felt as if the train had shrunk. This must be due to a sudden change in air resistance, I thought. The question the occurred to me - is there some living thing that manages sudden changes in air resistance as a part of daily life?"

"Yes, there is, the kingfisher. To catch its prey, a kingfisher dives from the air, which has low resistance, into high-resistance water, and moreover does this without splashing. I wondered if this is possible because of the keen edge and streamlined shape of its beak. The beak of kingfishers allows splashless entry into water due to the wedge shape it makes with the head that is round in cross section. 

"So we conducted tests to measure pressure waves arising from shooting bullets of various shapes into a pipe and a thorough series of simulation tests of running the trains in tunnels, using a space research super-computer system. Data analysis showed that the ideal shape for this Shinkansen is almost identical to a kingfisher's beak.  

"I was once again experiencing what it is to learn from Nature, seeing first hand that a solution obtained through large-scale tests and analysis by a state-of-the-art super-computer turned out to be very similar to a shape developed by a living creature in the natural world. The nose of our new 500-Series Shinkansens has a streamline shape that is 15m in length and almost round in cross section.

AskNature.org - Beak Provides Streamlining: Common Kingfisher
Read more about the bioinspiration behind the Shinkansen Train in Zygote Quarterly

Animated Illustration - Artist: Emily Harrington

Take about 15 minutes here and watch Janine Benyus talk about biomimicry of designs found out in Nature. It's a 17 minute TED Talk where Janine Benyus provides a message for inventors. When solving a design problem, look to nature first. There you'll find inspired designs for making things waterproof, aerodynamic, solar-powered and more. Here she reveals dozens of new products that take their cue from nature with spectacular results.
TEDGlobal 2009: Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action
This video above is great as far as an explanation of why we should copy designs found out in Nature first. For exampe, one presenter named Janine Benyus who I commend for her work and efforts, makes an excellent point. She reference the idea that medicines from the Rain Forests and she clarifies this by saying it's not so much identifying some molecule for a cure, but rather an 'idea' for the cure. But the problem here is, ideas as we know them only come from an intelligent Mind, not blind unguided forces without purpose or goals. With that in mind there's a caveat or warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations that come with such a statement. What Janine Benyus is saying is in direct conflict with the Theory of Evolution proponents who have for decades pushed the "Argument from Poor Design" strategy to pimp a worldview. The problem is that it's Nature who's been given the shaft, not the rightwinger fundies they are attempting they are targeting in debates. I appreciate many ToE followers here won't like this, but this biased religious outlook goes back all the way to Darwin and his writings which are loaded with metaphysical religious assumptions and asserted that, "If their were a God he never would have created things in such and such a way." Take note, I find this viewpoint question to be a legitimate one to ask, but it has nothing to do with Science. Science cannot answer what an intelligent entity it's believers say doesn't exist in the first place would or wouldn't do in any given situation. I mean seriously, what repeatable experiment have they offered thus far ? None! This doesn't mean that we can't practice biomimicry, because we can. But irrespective of how anybody on this planet thinks or believes how life's origins came about, the harmonious way life in all ecosystems operates is in no way flawed or badly designed as this world's elites have shoved down people's throats and coerced them to believe. What has resulted is the degraded natureal world we all live in now. Climate Change ? It's easy to blame humans as many scientists do, but maybe they should start pointing fingers first at their fellow bought and paid for corporate scientist brothers who have developed irresponsible technology which has brought natural systems to it's knees. 

Scientific American
Ponder for a moment how much eco-friendly sustainable technological innovation has been held back because a Scientific Orthodoxy [every bit the mirror image of Christendom's Ecclesiastical Hierachical Structure when they ran Academia] with power and authority has controlled for 100+ years how mankind should view our natural world ? Take these present Biotechnology and Agro-Chemical Companies. Their worldview of Nature is that it's flawed, inept, inefficient and badly designed and the only way the world will be saved is through the superior genius of their guiding hand. Did you know, most of their geneticists generally have no clue as to how whole plant systems work in cooperation with other plants within any ecosystem outside the Lab ? Their belief about the informational content of DNA is that it's not information as we know it at all, but rather nothing more than copying errors, random meaningless patterns, most of which they insist is nothing more than Junk. But the latest scientific research is now proving otherwise. Take the findings of ENCODE. And there have always been other science disciplines which have revealed the truth, but they haven't always had the powerful backing and financial resources to move forward against the tidal wave of Industrial Science.

Responsible Scientific researchers have shown that Mycorrhizal Fungi and Beneficial Bacteria and a host of other critters living in the soil have been perfectly maintaining the natural world's soils for possibly countless milleniums of time. We really don't know for how long, other than the usual blind faith speculations of deep time thrown in for eye candy in a research paper. Those in power and authority and with a financial stake in keeping the status quo are bent on keeping things as they are. But their actions are in direct conflict with Science disciplines like mycology, ecology, entomology, soil science, etc, etc, etc. This creates conflict of loyalties for many environmental activists who are immersed in this culture of science, but fear to criticize industrial science because of being labeled an Anti-Science Luddite. At least biomimicry or biomimetics separates and defines itself. Take this graphic below. The historical pattern timeline shows us when the well known Biotechnology companies and Agro-Chemical corporations actually took power and control over food production in the early 1990s when they manipulated politicians and directly wrote the book on regulations of their genetically modifying organisms to work in conjunction with industrially produced synthetics which work directly against ecosystem designs found out in Nature. Now take a look at how far the superweed problem has become as a result of increased pesticide usage. This is wasn't supposed to have happened given all the public relations and damage control propaganda they spewed into the Media and it's all worldview driven folks.

Graph from Iowa State University

People are going to have to start making responsible personal decisions soon. Who's side on the issue of universal soverignty are you going to choose ? Science claims that life on Earth has been around for over 100 millions years and that's fine. But an article dealing with important research on the stability of all earthwide ecosystems showed that during  all those millions of years life the natural systems were always stable. But it references human beings creating agriculture 6,000 years ago and from that point on as people spread out across the planet taking thier agriculture with them, they have been making bad decisions ever since and all life has been greatly effected in a negative way. And horrifically, it has been the past 100+ years of this imaginary enlightenment and free thought that has brought our world climate change, various forms of pollution and species extinction to the point of where many experts say it is irreversible. Unfortunately most of those "Culture of Science" people don't want to admit this flaw in the past few decades of Scientific thinking and practice. Keep watch, the latest phrase in many science journals being used more often now is "Beyond the Point of no Return." Take a look at the graph here below. This isn't my made up invention or research, this came from Scientists who are being forced to admit the flaw of a 20th century which has championed free thought and critical thinking. 

Graphic from Smithsonian Magazine
http://www.nature.com

Smithsonian Magazine: Humans Caused a Major Shift in Earth's Ecosystems 6,000 Years Ago

None of the clearly negative effects of human leadership and present consequences should prevent any reader here from practicng biomimicry within their own personal sphere of endeavours with regards to habitat restoration, agriculture, urban landscaping and home gardening. Everybody has a choice. The main problem is everyone on the planet has to do this.
References & Links on Biomimetics
https://germinature.com
http://www.asknature.org



Clarification on the differences between Science and Corporations in creating intellectual property in the form of patented products for obscene profit.
Very little of what is being discussed with regards to the biotechnology industry is actually "Sciences" or even "one of the sciences". What we're really talking about isn't any of the sciences at all, but rather technology or to be more specific using their own words, engineering. Most all true sciences are about studying things out in the natural world and figuring out how they work. The "scientific method" deals with how we successively refine our understanding of natural phenomena. It does not say anything about how this knowledge can, could, or should be applied. The sciences are essentially analytic in nature.
It's our world's corporations who along with their lawyers have created this idea of intellectual property based on the scientific work of others. Their research engineers were more interested in creating products to be patented. Yet their work was all based on the information provided by researchers funded by Academia.  Their researchers may even use scientific methods in obtaining their goals, but they are not so much interested in the discovery of knowledge and the wisdom in using that knowledge as they are in focussing attention on creating something for profit.
In the process of misusing abd abusing ´this scientific knowledge, our natural world has been introduce to genetically modified organisms, , Nuclear Weapons, BPA in drinking water. We now have climate change, destruction of the Ozone, melting Arctic & Antarctic glaciers, Chernobyl, Thalidomide, Fukashima, plastic pollution in the oceans and dead zones, etc. All of these symptoms and negative consequences are the result of various irresponsible  technological innovation brought to us by modern industrial engineering. Yes, they used information obtained from science, but they cannot lay the fault at the feet of science which was always  about discovery and wonder. Science simply enabled these efforts by providing the basic knowledge needed, but the downside from what they created has produced unforeseen and unintended consequences in their various attempts to use that knowledge to satify this economic thing called consumerism. Biomimicry is really not all that expensive. In many cases it's a matter of changing one's practices and management without purchasing products and that is what nakes biomimetics unattractive to corporations.

Remember the movie Jurassic Park and that lunch room debate scene where actor Jeff Goldblum plays this highly articulate four-eyed genius (Dr Ian Malcolm) who tries to warn everyone about the dangers of playing God ? Of all the scenes in that movie, this one sticks with me the most because it is so accurate in it's content and reflective of today's reality. The Jurassic Park Technicians did not actually research all the science behind the genetics, but they did they misuse and abuse the discoveries of others for creating intellectual property and patented products (Dinosaurs). Biotechs are the same, they engineer product for profit. If they actually cared about feeding mankind and becoming proper custodians of the Earth, they would have pursued more of a mirror of how Nature accomplishes this through biomimicry. Instead, they are infected with the ideological doctrine that Nature is flawed, imperfect and poorly designed. Only they can fix it and anyone who tries to get in their way is an Anti-Science Luddite. It matters not that these people in opposition to their business model are indeed interested in other responsible sciences like Mycology, Soil Biology, etc, etc, etc. Here's the story line below. See if you recognize it better now.
Dr Ian Malcolm: "Don't you see the danger, John, inherent in what you're doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet's ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that's found his dad's gun."
The Jurassic Park Lawyer, Donald Gennaro:  "It's hardly appropriate to start hurling generalizations..."
Dr Ian Malcolm: "If I may... Um, I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here, it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it, you wanna sell it." 
Jurassic Park Owner/CEO, John Hammond: "I don't think you're giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody's ever done before . . " 
Dr Ian Malcolm: "Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." 

Pausing here for a moment to fast forward. After trying to justify his technology by saying he could bring back California Condors and hearing Dr Ian Malcolm's continued resistence to the Jurassic Park's genetic modification technology, CEO John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), uses the same identical cowardly strategy often employed by most biotech apologists against the opponents of their technology. 
CEO John Hammond: "I simply don't understand this Luddite attitude, especially from a scientist. I mean, how can we stand in the light of discovery, and not act?"  

Dr Ian Malcolm: "What's so great about discovery? It's a violent penetrating act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world."
 (Jurassic Park Lunch Debate - 3:55 minutes)


Image - Oregon State University
I read one article recently by a major GMO apologist, Henry L. Miller, who was championing GM technology for Climate Change and creating drought resistant crops. Hence the need to genetically manipulate crop plant genomes to better withstand heat and drought. Monsanto for example has already done this with their Drought Guard patented crop seeds. This is not biomimicry. Biomimicry would be utilizing Nature's toolkit which has existed for 1000s of years. Mycorrhizal fungi act as an extension of a plant's root system and increase water and nutrient uptake anywhere from 200% to 800%. And it costs far less, often if managed properly after the initial soil inoculation, it's free. And ultimately that is the major reason for the major stumbling block and why the Biotechs and Agrochemical Corporations refuse to go down that road. Opportunities for biomimicry are all around everyone in the natural world. The problem is that they are not opportunities for most of this world's giant corporations and the governments that support them. Their geneticists know very little about how whole plant systems work outside their Lab. There is still very little these biotechs and their engineers know about the very organism, Agrobacterium, they have in the past used to infect target crop genomes with the transgenes. There have been some concerns with their use of the Agrobacterium which is a naturally occcuring soil organism. In fact take note of what one research paper said about our scientific understanding of Agrobacterium:
"Many of the blockbuster discoveries on Agrobacterium-plant interaction have been cited briefly in this narrative. However, much remains to be learned. The chemical signaling between Agrobacterium and plants in the natural environment of the plant’s rhizosphere has yet to be fully explored. In addition, the trafficking of the T-strand from the inception of the transfer process to the plant cell nucleus provides an area of fruitful research opportunities for interdisciplinary investigations. The full potential of using Agrobacterium as a mutagen and a transfer system for genes into an ever expanding number of eukaryotic cells has yet to be realized. After 100 years, the tale of Agrobacterium is not yet finished."
Agrobacterium: The Natural Genetic Engineer 100 Years Later
So apparently after all this time, there is still so much they do not know about this organism, but they're using it anyway. But wait, this version of the technology has to be regulated and it's really imperfect because they really have no clue where the information of the transgene will end up within the genome. In other words, in what context of other genes does this gene end up working with ? No problem they say, CRISPR will save the day. It's promoted as more precise and accurate and because the biotechs will only be editing and deleting genes instead of introducing foreign genes by means of a viral facilitator, they've now convinced the government it has no need of regulation. This ignorant worldview of the meaninglessness of informational content within DNA even extends here as well. Take the issue of deleting the gene which causes browning in the common white button mushrooms. Read the warning on this potentially irresponsible act by Mycologist Paul Stamets on how this fungi will be effected by not having this anti-viral gene and the consequences if this specific genome gets out into the wild.


Supporters of giant corporate entites need to stop pretending that Biotechs are all about Science, when their true objective is mainly politics, economics and promoting a worldview after their own image. Their hands are dirty in political advocacy. Their writings only have value if they are discussing observable, repeatable, testable facts about natural phenomena. That's how real science is defined. Even then, you have to watch closely the materials and methods being used here, and see if the conclusions logically follow from the data. A true scientist ceases to be a scientist when he leaves off the original ideals that science was built upon. The understanding of the cause-and-effect structure of the natural world according to testable hypotheses. Biomimicry on the other hand is the practice of science that takes rigor, integrity, and humility. It views nature as having great vakue in it's designs which in turn should be replicated, rather than being put out there for promoting a profit. They have always had a problem with bioethics. They actually work very hard towards preventing people from having the ability to know the truth about our natural world and food we eat  and that ultimately is the true Anti-Science.