Another unintended consequence of ethanol – loss of wildlife due to loss of habitat

Update: Welcome to those arriving from Million Dollar Way. Hope you enjoy the read. There are plenty of other posts here on ethanol, energy in general, and especially peak oil foolishness. (Thanks for the link!)

It doesn’t compare to forcing the poor to pay lots more so they barely have enough food to stay alive, but there is another unintended consequence directly caused by turning corn into gasoline.

The loss of grassland has reduced the number of game birds, with a resulting drop in hunting and the associated slump in economic activity.

The Dickinson Press has a report:  Ethanol’s rise can mean loss of hunting lands.

It used to be that one particular motel in Fairbury, Nebraska would be packed every day of the week for the first two weeks of the pheasant season and then all weekend for several more weeks. Now, there are a few hunters that show up occasionally.


There aren’t as many pheasants.

The huge demand for corn, created by the Congress in order to burn said corn as gasoline, has pulled a lot of grassland cover into production for corn and soybeans. Cover where pheasants thrive. As the amount of grassland drops, the number of pheasants, other game birds, and other wildlife drops.

Since the dictated requirement to burn corn went into effect, 6 plains states have lost 2.8 million acres of conservation land, according to the article.

In that same time,

pheasant harvests in those six states dropped by 44 percent, a reflection of the downward population trend, 

Used to be that tourism for pheasant hunting would bring in $170 million a year to the South Dakota economy. The article doesn’t estimate how much that has dropped.

I got quite a laugh out of this next line. Look what the feds are doing to slow down the loss of wildlife habitat:

Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with non-profit groups, spent tens of millions of dollars to buy land to permanently protect bird habitat.

You gotta’ laugh:  With one hand Congress is pushing grassland into corn production which destroys wildlife habitat. Then with the other hand FWS is buying up land to provide habitat. If it weren’t for ethanol taking money out of the mouths of the poor around the world, that would be really funny.

The damage to wildlife, recreation, and the tourism industry is visible but is rather minor compared to the impact ethanol has on the poor.

Unintended consequences.

P.S. Million Dollar Way’s closing comment about the above report:

So, we have slicers and dicers killing golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, migratory ducks, and whooping cranes, and the ethanol program decimating  pheasants, prairie chickens, and grouse. Where are the Poppers? Where is Jane Nielson? Where is the Sierra Club?

Those two links are worth reading.

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