Kudos for Cal Ag series
Thank you to the staff of California Agriculture for its fine work on the “Future in Focus” series (Jan-Feb, March-April, July-Aug and Sept-Oct 2000). I have profited a great deal from the special issue on the future of agriculture. Would you be able to send me a dozen copies of the special issues? I would like to use these as part of our reading for the Agrofood study group next quarter. It would be of considerable help to our graduate students and faculty in understanding the dynamics of California food, agriculture and environment.
Margaret FitzSimmons, Associate Professor Department of Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz
Editor's note: Back issues of California Agriculture can be purchased by contacting us at email@example.com or (510)987-0044.
Your information is very refreshing, as compared with the writings of the fearful and not very well-informed Thomas R. Malthus (1766–1834). He was persuaded that the world population would increase at a faster rate than food and fiber productivity, and proposed birth control and other remedies to prevent future starvation of humanity. The development of science and technology is not surprising, and has been well documented by Charles Darwin (1809–1882). Adam Smith (1723–1790) also described development diversity and freedom to select specialties in his cornerstone theory. We are quite on track and I deeply thank you for your work.
Issue contradicts education
UC has taught several generations of students how to exploit water, timber and agricultural land, and how to convert land to more valuable uses. Most of the articles in the special issue on natural resources (“Future in Focus,” March-April 2000) seem to denounce the development of land and resources for the benefit of people. As a University-educated forester, I find the articles the antithesis of my education. As an elected official in Fort Bragg, I would need to offer citizens a “get out of town” response to issues such as economic development, water, sewage treatment, public safety or transportation. I urge California Agriculture to be less radical in condemning the development and use of resources.
Fort Bragg, Calif.
Population vs. resources
Henry Vaux, Jr.'s editorial (March-April 2000, p. 4) first tells us how California has lost its natural resources in comparison to years past, then tells us the state will grow 50% and that resource management will be a daunting challenge. Sir, what resources do you have left to manage? Professor Romm's article (p. 35) says the same thing. Conclusion: You waited too long to make the hard choices. There are none now to be made. It is too bad, like much in life. But I do not predict that California will become a ghost town.
N. Terebey, Jr.
Monarch butterflies and eucalyptus
Thank you for the comprehensive review of recently introduced insect predators that are impacting many species of eucalyptus trees in California (Nov-Dec 2000, p. 8). I was a little surprised that the authors made no mention of the need for monarch butterflies to have healthy eucalyptus trees for roosting sites. The Monarch Program in Southern California briefly mentioned the significant defoliation of some eucalyptus sites by invasive psyllids in their newsletter. I have ordered extra copies of this issue to distribute to key California monarch butterfly conservation supporters.
Clarification on OPs
We are concerned that a news article in the Nov-Dec 2000 issue could be misinterpreted. It states on p. 5 that the “replacement of organophosphates (OPs) with the biologically based products Bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad for peach twig borer in stone fruit” is one of the “achievements” of UC-IPM, and cites our paper on p. 14. Although UC-IPM promotes the replacement of OPs with reduced-risk alternatives, this replacement has not occurred in stone fruit orchards, as stated on p. 19, and as shown in the fourth through ninth bar graphs in fig. 3. However, there was some replacement of OPs with reduced-risk alternatives in almond orchards.
Lynn Epstein, Associate Professor
Department of Plant Pathology, UC Davis
Susan Bassein, Statistician
Data Analysis and Presentation, Berkeley