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> Paul Cambridge wrote: 

"A wolf in Yellowstone serves a very important niche to keep down deer 
populations. We know that
specifically because when we took the wolf out, the deer overpopulated. That is 
what I mean by harmony. The wolf is "needed" to fill the niche." 

>Dann Pigdon wrote: 

"No it's not. Take away the predator, the prey species population explodes. It 
may stress the local vegetation to the extent that famine causes the deer 
population to crash again. Eventually the deer and the plants will reach a new 
equilibrium (provided the deer don't kill off all of their food supply, or the 
deer themselves don't all die first). 

The wolves may appear to fill a "necessary" ecological role, but only in the 
specific ecosystem they happen to exist in. That ecosystem has reached a 
specific balance over time BECAUSE the wolves are there. Take them away, a new 
balance will eventually be reached, and it would seem that there had never been 
wolves there at all." 

Ok, take a look at what you just said. It was what I JUST said. Granted the 
universe is not going to crumple if the wolf is taken away. But the wolf being 
where it is, serves a very important role to sustain somewhat of a balance in 
the system. As you just stated, the deer population would explode, perhaps 
causing stress to vegetation, nearby cattle ranchers, and the like. I don't 
know what you call that, but what I call that is an unbalanced ecosystem. When 
population are controlled to an order of balance, i.e.= predator/prey ratio is 
healthy and neither one is overabundant, then it appears to me a system is 
under less stress and therefore healthy.