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March 20, 1929



Re: Balance of Nature.

The [[underline]] balance of nature [[/underline]] is a much overworked slogan with little foundation in fact. There may have been such a thing before the discovery of America, but if so, it has not been satisfactorily recorded or described and it rapidly vanished before the advance of civilization.

With a sparse and scattered human population there may be a somewhat stable adjustment of animal and plant life, but with a dense human population such as we now have, or the far more dense population in European and Oriental countries, every form of wild life is dominated by the needs and activities of man. Many of us within the past 50 years have seen the middle west and western states change from abundance of wild game and other native animal and plant life to pastures of domestic stock, fields of cultivated crops, and exotic weeds. The game and fur animals went first, the carnivores had to be killed to protect the stock, and the rodents had to be killed to protect the crops. We who grew up among them know.

Some game and carnivores were crowded into National Forests and National Parks and unoccupied lands, and if we let them alone, as some advocate, to maintain a [[underline]] balance of nature [[/underline]], there will be in a few years a large number of carnivores and a rapidly diminishing number of game and livestock until these are all or nearly all gone; then the carnivores will starve or scatter out and a few live on the small animal life.

Man has destroyed any balanced nature that ever existed and unless he controls present conditions intelligently animal life and even man will disappear.

These statements are truisms, so patent to us that they may sound foolish, but to most people the real facts of relationships among animals are so little known that any pretty theory is accepted as fact and the false claims that if all animals are let alone all will be happy and harmless appeals to them.

Tirades against the killing of carnivores have been widely circulated within the past few years and most of these can be traced directly to two sources, Dr. C. C. Adams and Dr. Joseph Grinnell, both able naturalists but with very restricted vision. Articles by M. P. Skinner, Edmond Heller, Edmond J. Sawyer, and others, associated with or dominated by Adams are along the same line, attacking the policy of the Biological Survey, the Forest Service, and the Park Service. (See Adams, Relation of Wild Life to the Public, Roosevelt Wild Life Bull., Vol. 2, No. 4 p. 371, Feb. 1925; Heller, 

Transcription Notes:
Reviewed. Edited markup in line with instructions and minor typos. Nice transcription! -@siobhanleachman