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Thread: Reversing desertification with livestock in Zimbabwe

  1. #1
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    Default Reversing desertification with livestock in Zimbabwe

    This solution is so simply and the experiment has been successful!




    Reversing desertification with livestock in Zimbabwe

    http://www.new-ag.info/focus/focusItem.php?a=1775

    After three years of holistic grazing grass cover has dramatically increased

    ACHM/SIAccording to the UN, 12 million hectares of land - an area the size of Benin - are lost globally to desertification every year. "Continued land degradation is a threat to food security, leading to starvation among the most acutely affected communities and robbing the world of productive land," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of a decade-long effort to tackle desertification in August 2010.

    Meanwhile, an approach using livestock and specific grazing regimes has seen desertification reversed on over 2,500 hectares of degraded land, in Zimbabwe.

    Overgrazing is often seen as a major cause of desertification. But by changing the way animals are managed, the Savory Institute (SI) and Africa Center for Holistic Management (ACHM) have restored 2,700 hectares of degraded land close to Victoria Falls by increasing livestock numbers by 400 per cent.

    Having increased land productivity, water availability and improved livelihoods, the approach is now being adopted by local communities and pastoralists in Namibia, Zambia, Kenya and Ethiopia.


    A source of hope

    The grazing approach*, an example of 'holistic management', mimics the natural movements of large herds of wild grazing animals. Livestock are grazed in one area for a maximum of three days, and are not returned for at least nine months. "Overgrazing is a function of time and not of animal numbers," explains Allan Savory, ACHM founder, former wildlife biologist, farmer and consultant. "Whether there is one cow or a thousand does not alter the fact of overgrazing but merely changes the number of plants overgrazed if the animals remain too long in the same place."

    Moving across the land in large numbers, the animals break the soil crust with their hooves, trample litter to provide soil cover, and fertilise the soil with nutrient-rich dung and urine.

    This increases plant growth and improves soil quality.

    "What we are demonstrating is that we can return to formerly animal-maintained grasslands and savannahs to keep grasslands and their soils alive without burning billions of hectares annually to remove old dead grass in an attempt to keep such grasslands healthy," explains Savory.

    "The effects are impressive," Savory enthuses. "We can barely keep pace with grass growth, even in dry years."

    Increased organic matter and improved soil structure also increase water infiltration and retention within the soil. "The river, which was dry most years, is now flowing again in all but the driest years," Savory observes. "We have water in pools with water lilies and fish through the dry season a kilometre above where they have been known before."
    Last edited by Margot; Mar 27 2011 at 09:05 AM.

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  3. #2
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    They have begun using this same technique in Arizona.............

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    great article, I wonder if anyone will do a study to see how things balance out in the co2 absorption of the plants vs methane production of the cows. Not that I think a few tons of CO2 will matter much one way or the other. Earth has been through a lot of changes through the years, but it would still make a nice paper. a Cow can burp about 280 liters of methane a day, Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. And that is if you use IPCC "science" and disregard Beer's law of absorption
    Last edited by jackdog; Mar 27 2011 at 10:37 AM.
    "America is more than just a place...it's an idea. It's the only country founded on an idea. 'Our rights come from nature and God, not government.' We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes." - Paul Ryan

    I find it ironic to be called a denier by people who are advocating policies which are already killing tens of thousands through energy poverty where those policies have became law. - jackdog

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackdog View Post
    great article, I wonder if anyone will do a study to see how things balance out in the co2 absorption vs methane production. Not that I think a few tons of CO2 will matter much one way or the other. Earth has been through a lot of changes through the years, but it would still make a nice paper.
    I think this is a brilliant strategy to reverse desertification.. Absolutely brilliant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Margot View Post
    I think this is a brilliant strategy to reverse desertification.. Absolutely brilliant.
    I won't argue that, anything that feeds people is good in my eyes
    "America is more than just a place...it's an idea. It's the only country founded on an idea. 'Our rights come from nature and God, not government.' We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes." - Paul Ryan

    I find it ironic to be called a denier by people who are advocating policies which are already killing tens of thousands through energy poverty where those policies have became law. - jackdog

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackdog View Post
    I won't argue that, anything that feeds people is good in my eyes
    This could also be used in Southern Sudan and other places in Africa... especially whereever they have pastoralists.

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    Fyi......................

  9. #8
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    This is too cool..

  10. #9
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    I think this is very exciting news!!!!!

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    Hopefully the plan will work. I've been reading though that global warming will cause desertification in many parts of Africa no matter what changes to agriculture are done.

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