Thursday, March 07, 2013

Reversing Desertification

Yesterday Crooked Gap Farm was slammed into the 21st Century when we hooked up somewhat high speed DSL (6 Mbps) internet. I commissioned the new internet connection by watching this TEDtalk with Allan Savory of Holistic Management fame (and much other work). I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there who will come up with a list of reasons that everything Mr. Savory says is wrong, but as I saw the images showing the differences they are making with their planned grazing in desert areas I thought it was pretty cool. Plus, when he says "desertification" it sounds like "dessertification" to me and that just makes me hungry for sweets!

If you have twenty-two minutes and a fast enough internet connection ... I would suggest you check out this video. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts!


Mary Ann said...

I'm going to try to watch this, but our Hughesnet connection is so VERY slow. Thanks for the tip.

Rich said...

Except for the "livestock are bad" people, I don't know why anyone would disagree with anything he said.

It might have been because of his audience but I think one of the keys he didn't mention to stopping desertification is native perennial grasses.

I don't have any areas that are bare dirt, but I've seen something similar when I over-wintered some cows by bale grazing on part of a pasture. The pasture was mostly the shorter varieties of native grasses, but after bale grazing which concentrated the cows to a smaller area each day I saw a flush of big bluestem grass over the entire area the next spring.

I'd never seen big bluestem growing like that before, and it didn't grow like that anywhere else, so it had to have been because of the higher stocking density during the dormant season and the way native grasses are designed to lay dormant for years waiting to respond to the right grazing pressure.

On the downside, I haven't been able to recreate it again (if it would rain at the right time it might help). But, it got me thinking more about some of the principles of Holistic Management.

GreenWorld Agriculture investments said...

It looks like a great video. Currenty in the foothills of the Scottish Highlands but when back in London it looks like a great watch.

Paul Savory said...

I was interested to come across this and glad you liked what Allan had to say. I know I will be seen to be biased being Allans cousin but I have seen first hand the improvements that are made with condensed grazing in areas of low rainfall. Possible solution to desertification.

Pastured Providence Farmstead said...

Great stuff, and totally worth the 20-something minutes. This principle is one we plan to center our operations around, for several reasons: 1. The restorative nature of healing and stewarding the land, 2. Using animals to do so has the obvious benefit of producing healthy and delicious meat for consumption, and 3. It is the type of low-cost, ecologically sound, common sense approach that will allow farming to be economically and socially viable again... something commercial agriculture hasn't exactly had on it's side over the past 60 years or so. Thanks again for sharing!

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