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Sustainability

Reversal of Desertification with Livestock

In 2006, FAO published Livestocks long shadow, in which it sustained, basically, that herds of livestock degrade the soil, destroying ecosystems, polluting the water, releasing green house gasses and reducing biodiversity.

The truth is that livestock is essential for the health of the grasslands. Luckily there are people who study nature and not just numbers, like Allan Savory.

Savory won the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge award with
100,000 dollars for  Central Africa for holistic management (ACHM)
in Zimbabwe, demonstrating that an increase of 400% in the
number of cattle on sterile land can transform a desert into
fertile prairies:

Desertification is occurring on 25% of the land area of earth,
degrading 73% of the world's rangelands and causing widespread poverty. By reversing desertification, we could create innumerable positive consequences: mitigation of climate change, droughts and floods, reduction of poverty, social breakdown, violence and genocide. Regardless, the majority of the attempts up until now have been ineffective.  And here is where Allan Savory and his approach for reversal of desertification that he calls "Holistic prairie management" comes in. Nearly the exact opposite of prevailing theories that blame desertification on overgrazing, Savory's solution centers on dramatically increased livestock numbers to reverse desertification  The tremendous success of Savory's counter-intuitive solution is evidenced through his work with Operation Hope at the Africa Center for Holistic Management(ACHM) in Zimbabwe. For hundreds of years the 6,500 acres of the ACHM were barren, dry fields until 1992 when Savory increased the livestock by 400% and managed them through holistic, planned grazing. Over time, the barren fields were transformed into green grass and open water, full of water lilies and fish.

Source: Inabitat.com

Look at the transformation of the arid land before grazing and the fertile land after grazing.

This is the result of an accurate use of many animals.

What does WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) have to say?

Some land, agricultural for example, suffers greatly from the erosive action of wind and water and each year loses thousands of tons of topsoil that ends up in rivers and seas in an irreversible manner.

To the contrary of natural land, agricultural land is simplified soil and therefore is much more vulnerable; during a large part of the year it has no vegetation covering; humus, which acts as a glue, tends to disappear; an excessive use of fertilizer and pesticides kill the micro-fauna.

The consequence is that the erosive action of the water and wind is 40 times more rapid in respects to the rhythm the soil takes to redevelop. In the cultivated areas that are less adapted to agriculture, which is the majority, cultivation causes an excessive increase in salinity or, the opposite, alkalinity of the soil and loss of fertility. Thousands of acres become sterile land. Up until today, damaged world agricultural land oscillates between 20 and 80%.

continue to the next page to read about:

Italy: 51.8% is Considered at Risk of Desertification

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