How The Removal And Reintroduction Of Wolves Affected The Yellowstone Ecosystem

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This research question focuses on the claim that without wolves the ecosystem of the Yellowstone National Park wouldn’t function properly. This claim is based on how the ecosystem has survived throughout the past with different amounts of wolves in the park. To elaborate, with the wolves in Yellowstone the elk population was limited, and they had to migrate before they killed off all of the vegetation in an area, the difference without wolves is they could feed as much as they want and this caused the lack of vegetation. Because the claim has been proven so far, the research question is correct as it states what has been proven to happen in the past.

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The cause of stress in the system which is the Yellowstone National Park is that in 1923 wolves became extinct in the park. For example, the park’s ecosystem relies on the Wolves as a keystone species and without the wolves the ecosystem falls apart. To elaborate, since 1923, Yellowstone National Park’s ecosystem was falling apart, because there were no wolves, the Elk could eat the willow trees until they die. This is just one part of the ecosystem that was affected.

The thing that saved the ecosystem was the reintroduction of Wolves in 1996 which stabilised the ecosystem. By the Wolves coming back the Elk had predatory pressure and couldn’t feed on the same Willow trees until they die. Also, because the wolves were back, Marsupials could survive with the lack of coyotes and wild dogs that had built up populations throughout the years. In conclusion, the re-emergence of Wolves into Yellowstone saved the animals of the park and helped it comeback from the unbalance that happened for about 50 years.

There is lots of evidence supporting the claim that wolves are the only thing that keeps the Yellowstone ecosystem functioning. To elaborate, while the wolf population grew the elk population declined which made most of the other parts of the ecosystem recover, the ongoing trend of these graphs are that as the wolf population grows most other ones do as well, the only outliers are elk which I have explained and the amount of browsed trees and logs in the park. 

From the data I have collected there have been some limitations that have made the research question harder to prove in some aspects of credibility in the graphs. For instance, in the first piece of evidence, in most of the graphs there were no timelines and could be disproven due to not having timelines shown on each graph. To elaborate, if people don’t know when the data is from than they could disprove it easily based on their belief about the topic that they have already established. On the contrary, these graphs look unbiased and with the type of data collected the tests are all fair, also the time period is the right amount because it shows only the time that the research question could be proven in, but a little more data on how the ecosystem was going before the reintroduction of wolves would make the data easier to justify the claim/research question. To conclude, the data I have collected justifies the research question, and is unbiased while being tested during the best time period to get the most correct data.

In summary, I have made the argument that the reintroduction of wolves has benefitted the Yellowstone National Park severely and helped the ecosystem rebound from a downward trend. Also, the data I have collected supports the claim by showing the growth or balance of other species inside the ecosystem whether it’s from relieving predatory pressure of lowering numbers of other predators. Some improvements that could happen to the investigation are that I could’ve found out more about how the ecosystem was going before the reintroduction to the wolves so there would be something to compare it to. Finally, from the research I have done I have come to the conclusion that my research question has proven the claim correct and that the reintroduction of wolves has made the Yellowstone ecosystem rebound from a pending extinction of species that were part of it. 

16 August 2021

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