"Wine, Vineyards & Biodiversity: Santa Barbara's Future: Grapescape ? : A LECTURE AND DISCUSSION WITH PHIL ASHLEY SLO ACTIVIST

Santa Barbara Permaculture Network sbpcnet at silcom.com
Thu Aug 26 13:21:07 PDT 1999

> hi Everyone

        here is Lecture with Biogolist Phil Ashley that takes a serious
look on
the impact of monculture on the earth. 
                Margie and wes South Coast Permaculture Guild

"Wine, Vineyards & Biodiversity: Santa Barbara's Future: Grapescape : A
September 11 7:30PM Saturday CEC Gildea Resource Center 930 Miramonte Dr.
Barbara CA
Come hear Phil talk about the great harm done by Unlimited Vineyards Expansion
to animal and plant biodiversity and effects to the watershed in Santa Barbara
County and SLO through the fragmentation of habitat when grapes monopolize the
landscape. Come and get a total ecosystem insight . Santa Barbara County is
facing this serious dilemma.South Coast Permaculture Guild 805-962-2571
sbpcnet at silcom.com


below is a brief biography, definition of Grapescape, and direction of
my talk.

Relevant Biography: I grew up in the southern San Joaquin Valley where
king cotton, and relatively few other crops turned much of the previous
ranches and their wildlife foraging pastures and grasslands into vast
monoculture landscapes. Most wildlife disappeared and were replaced by
pest species the monoculturists from then to now have spent many
billions of dollars trying to eradicate to no avail.

Soon after high school I saw a different nearby landscape on the Central
Coast with marvelous wildlife inhabited valley ranches with lots of
grass and oaks. Hooked, I moved to SLO City and received a BS in biology
from Cal Poly in 1968. After my "tour" in the military and a short stint
working for Calif. Dept. of Fish & Game, I moved to Eureka and received
my MS in fisheries from Humboldt State in 1973. I then worked for the US
Fish & Wildlife Service in Arizona until late 1975. I then got an the
uncontrollable urge to move back to the ranch dominated grasslands and
oak savannas of the Central Coast. I have worked for Cal Poly ever since
as a plant and animal technician in the Biology Department.

During my stay on the Central Coast, I have been an environmental public
advocate for fish and wildlife's survival rights in the face of various
types of land and water development projects. I believe that in this
lifelong endeavor I have chosen on behalf of other species and the
citizens who enjoy them, the concept of eternal vigilance converted to
action has never been improved upon. 

That is why I am here today to talk to you about Grapescape and what it
is doing to other species on the Central Coast from Santa Barbara to
Monterey counties. The same thing that I watched happen as a kid in the
San Joaquin Valley is now happening here. But in this case it is the
conversion of ecologically diverse valley ranchlands to pest-ridden
ecological junkyards of vast monoculture Grapescape. It is rapidly
becoming goodbye forever to hawks, owls, and eagles, and hello eternally
to starlings, Brewer's blackbirds, and English sparrows-- unless we do
something now!

Grapescape definition:

Grapescape is the term used for landscapes that are vast monocultures of
vineyards. On the Central Coast, Grapescape has taken over landscapes
that were previously predominantly valley ranchlands. And valley
ranchlands with their grasslands, pastures, and oak savannas are
critical to the survival of many species of native flora and fauna.

Grapescape talk direction:

I will start by defining Grapescape as above and then discuss what it is
doing to biodiverse valley ranchlands. Since talks on biodiversity can
quickly get too technical, for the benefit of a broader audience, I will
merely define biodiversity and relate it to the problem of grapification
(the act of converting valley ranchland to Grapescape). I will discuss
how this conversion is wiping out many species of plants and animals and
how they cannot continue to sustain such losses.

I will cover what grapification is doing to terrestrial and aquatic
ecosystems. For the former I will focus on the impacts on predator and
prey species. For the latter I will discuss actual and potential impacts
to streams, vernal pools, marshes, estuaries, and ocean environments. 

But within this main part of the talk, I mostly want to focus on what is
happening to the free-roaming terrestrial predators-- hawks, owls,
eagles, egrets, herons, road runners, snakes, shrews, weasils, foxes,
coyotes, bobcats, badgers, etc.. Because it is these species that are
taking an especially hard hit from Grapescape by losing the large
grassland foraging areas wherein their rodent prey species reside. And
without these critical extensive valley grassland foraging areas, these
predators cannot survive in sustainable numbers.

After I have discussed what Grapescape is doing to the Central Coast
landscape, habitat, and reliant species, I will cover some things
citizens can do to start controlling Grapescape. In this ending portion
of the talk I want to open it up to a discussion with the audience for
their thoughts on the rapidly growing Grapescape problem and any ideas
they may have on controlling it. Because if controls are not found and
instituted soon, even 10 years from now will be too late for many
species and their critical valley foraging habitat!

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