Protecting the Commons

What defines a natural Commons?

Three attributes of places or things that are owned by all and used by many creatures are:

1. inexorable or inevitable playing out of natural constraints:

a) carrying capacity
b) assimilative capacity

2. layering of common properties or features of a commons
where competing values for different uses are either compatible or incompatible:

Scrub Jays (rare birds that pair for life)
oak, rosemary, brush scrub (fire loving)
sandy soils (old dune remnants)
porous surface areas
aquifer recharge landscape
replenishment of underground water supply

3. Inverse relationship of whole benefits to fractional costs accrued over time:

Benefit vs. Costs
[+ 10 .... - .1 ] Thus freedom in the commons brings ruin to all because:
nature is an aggregate creation of all reproductively successful organisms over time and all participants contribute to the biological wealth we use.

They create the arena biologically against physical and chemical odds that limit success.

And in a very real sense natural selection is a genetic dice game where dominant species (elephants), keystone species (otters, beavers, alligators, gopher tortoises) and essential functions of foundation species (mycorhizza, blue-green bacteria & lichens) generate together the milieu of biological wealth with which humans and all life participate.

This biological wealth is characterized by:

1. Red Queen hypothesis (running faster to stay in place).
2. Natural, sexual and artificial (technology) selection.
3. All side effects are nonetheless effects as intrusions.
4. Rates of restoration vary depending on contingent factors.

Like the outcome of a game played by trillions of participants there is a large measure of uncertainty about how nature will adjust to rapid, prolonged or acute disruptions of nutrient, water and energy cycles that m nourish the land organism. But the working of a commons is one inevitable limitation to which all life must adapt.

Ecological ideas

J. Siry