Are humans a keystone predator?

  • Are humans keystone predators in ECO? Biologist Dr. Charles Kay makes the argument that in the past, native people have always made significant impacts on the environment. When I usually think of conserving the environment, I think that humans have messed things up and part of conserving ecologies means that we have to fix our messes. If humans had never been here to mess things up, the wilderness would go back to a natural, beautified state.
    However, I came across an article suggesting that there may be more to this than meets the eye. That in fact, rather than re-introducing all the 'natural' animals, plants and rodents to an ecology making it all go back to being balanced; that without humans constantly "interfering" it may become unbalanced(see this paper).
    The paper suggests that Native people were apex predators, and that without their hunting and gathering their lands it would throw off the ecology.
    My question is this: Would the ecology of an ECO world fail if humans never played? Would Elk be wiped out if humans refused to hunt any wolves? In other words, would bison start destroying all plant life and spreading disease to livestock if humans simply "left them alone" and let "nature run it's course" (like is currently happening in Yellowstone?)

    Also, see here for more details on impacts that increased bison populations have on the environment. Basically, they need more space; without humans culling the populations they would destroy the food supply.
    (also, the articles are not reflections of my personal opinions--just thought they were interesting starting points for questions about ecology)

  • Nice read thanks for the thoughts! Would be neat if such things could happen in eco. In a little sense they can but I would like to see the effects be more dramatic. Like you say where all wolves eat out the elk. Or the elk eat out all plants etc. Might make taking care of the world a little harder and give reason for people to keep checking up on their little ecosyatems

  • Yeah, it would be an interesting aspect of the game to play around with. Thanks for your response!
    Maybe it could be one of the 'outside disasters' that humans need to be prepared for. The wolves suddenly become unusually vicious and start killing more elk than they actually need, and players have to be able to recognize that it's happening and prevent it...before elk go extinct.

  • I think current you can have such a impact without chancing the game. On a server near all wolfs get killed. After that the bunny started to populate and eating all there plants. After that near all plants from this sort get extingict.
    The only problem is current that the animals moves to wirde to make such stuff happent.

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