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Allan Savory Wins Award

Chris Stelzer
Author


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 118
    
    1
paul wheaton wrote:
hügel wrote:

For an equally good follow-up, I'll link to this one again as well:





Wow.  That was amazing.



I'll be doing an internship with Greg Judy from Jan-May of 2012. I'd love to share my experiences with you all. Maybe a podcast Paul?


Agricultural Insights Daily Podcast/Blog about Sustainable Agriculture with a focus on livestock and grazing.
The Grazing Book
Jeffrey Hodgins


Joined: Nov 14, 2011
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
I feel the need to add that young trees must be protected from grazing in order to perpetuate savannah like the one in the photos. It Is well documented that cattle will choose acacia over grass eating the vast majority of new acacia trees. I wonder how long savannah could last if new trees were not planted due to poverty and lack of interest in preservation. I wonder how many acacia saplings are eaten in savannah world wide on a daily basis. I'm not trying to discredit just clarify.


Diversified Food forest maker . Fill every niche and you'll have less weeds (the weeds are the crop too). Fruit, greens, wild harvest, and nuts as staple. Food processing and preservation are key to self self-sufficiency. Never eat a plant without posetive identification and/or consulting an expert.
Chris Stelzer
Author


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 118
    
    1
Jeffrey Hodgins wrote:I feel the need to add that young trees must be protected from grazing in order to perpetuate savannah like the one in the photos. It Is well documented that cattle will choose acacia over grass eating the vast majority of new acacia trees. I wonder how long savannah could last if new trees were not planted due to poverty and lack of interest in preservation. I wonder how many acacia saplings are eaten in savannah world wide on a daily basis. I'm not trying to discredit just clarify.


Young trees don't really need to be protected from grazing, IMO. You just adjust the density of your cattle, and that will create the opportunity for trees to flourish. Moving the cows every hour (to a new grazing area), lets say for conversational purposes, at a desired density, can protect tress. Greg Judy and Ian Mitchell-Innes (South African Grazier) have used density to control the growth of trees. These guys really know what their doing!
Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
I am putting together a book/dvd/magazine page for Paul, and to save him some time from making a (short paragraph) written review of everything, I figured I'd ask permie folks to write "what Paul would say" in each thread something is talked about.

So what would Paul say about Allan Savory's work?


www.thehappypermaculturalist.wordpress.com
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15229
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
more: http://vimeo.com/8291896


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Aljaz Plankl


Joined: Feb 18, 2010
Posts: 325
    
    6
Greg's lecture is awesome. I have a question. When he is talking about trampling litter on the ground as carbon bank. Can someone please explain what carbon bank means? I'm not sure how to explain this to myself, i know it has to do with fertilization, building top soil, but...
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6582
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
As organic matter breaks down, it releases carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a contributor to 'greenhouse gasses', which are being blamed for global warming. If this organic matter is buried in the soil, the CO2 does not escape into the atmosphere.

A "carbon bank" is essentially sequestering this organic matter in the soil, where the gas helps build soil, rather than releasing it all into the atmosphere.

Besides Allan Savoy and Greg Judy, Colin Seis also offers another good sustainable way to manage pasture.
He uses 'pasture cropping', where cereal crops are grown on the pasture during the grasses dormant season.
He (and others) have had a huge increase in productivity, while benefiting the soil.
http://www.winona.net.au/farming.html

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15229
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Allan Savory gives a TED talk



Richard Presley


Joined: Nov 30, 2012
Posts: 5
Nice to see Allen getting with the program.

I wonder if he's seen this site: http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/reversing-desertification-with-livestock/
Caroline Cooper


Joined: Jan 25, 2013
Posts: 12
Thank you for that Ted Talk. I have been waiting for it to come out.

Allen Savory's work is brilliant. I have been following his work for some time. My husband Shaen has been trying to restore a brittle grassland area near Kamloops. Here is a photo essay about his work:
http://eatkamloops.org/brittle-grassland-pasture-update-photo-essay/

You might also enjoy some sustainable systems for grassland management:
http://eatkamloops.org/solar-electric-fences/
http://eatkamloops.org/gravity-water-system/

This season coming up is year three. We have totally removed the animals from the property and will be watching closely for the land's reaction.

Cheers,
Caroline Cooper
WAPF Kamloops Chapter
eatkamloops.org
Michael Prannand


Joined: Mar 05, 2013
Posts: 1
full art
Invisible Fences An Interview with Dean Anderson
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
I'm always amazed to see the results from people using Savory's systems. I love it.

I wonder if there is a way to scale down some of these concepts. A lot of people are managing 10 acres or less, and don't have the space to run cows or large herbivores. A few sheep might be possible, or maybe a few goats or pigs.

I've done pastured pigs and goats in my brittle climate with mixed results. A lto depends on the breeds and history of the animals you have.

also, getting away from needing the fences. In my rocky, hilly area, it is a lot of effort to move paddocks, and step in posts are a joke. So, basically I need permanent fencing or another solution. And for poor areas (like here in MExico), you can't convince anyone to invest in fencing, even cheaper stuff like electric, just because people don't have the money to make it work.

Herding dogs might be a solution, or something like the invisible dog fences.


Living off grid - guides for the off grid lifestyle in the modern age
Homesteading - latest updates and projects from our off grid homestead
Michael Skowronski


Joined: Jan 29, 2012
Posts: 21
Wow! Amazing! I watched the TED video that Paul posted and I have to say it is awesome. We CAN change things for the better here and WE ALL WILL!
Fl Sunshine


Joined: Mar 10, 2011
Posts: 11
Please help me to understand. At 5:30 this man says "No sooner had we removed the hunting drum beating people to protect the animals". Is he saying they "removed" the indigenous people of that area?!?!?!?! Where were these "drum beating people" removed to? Was this by choice or was there force involved? It seemed to me, that he just kind of glazed over that part. And then proceeded to massacre 40,000 elephants?!?!?!?!
Mike Underhill


Joined: Feb 12, 2012
Posts: 53
Location: N. Sac. Valley
    
    1
@Fl, from what I understand (European-ruled) governments in Africa displaced native peoples to form large parks, similar to how Europeans in America displaced natives in favor of land claimants. Who knows which hunting tribe(s) Savory is speaking about. "In 1969 the Makuleke community was forcefully removed from their native land at gunpoint while they were made to burn their homes and become refugees for the cause of natural conservation. This deserted land then became the northernmost part of the Kruger National Park." After apartheid ended, they were allowed back.

In the Serengeti: "it was the Maasai pastoralists that were affected the most. With their entire livelihood based on their ability to move across the landscapes according to ecological patterns, the fencing in of massive amounts of their land inhibited their migration and stripped them of self-sustainability. When pressed to provide the local tribes with some land rights due to their historical inhabitancy, conservationists supplied the Maasai with limited land use permits considered fit by the preservationist’s terms. Further repressing these local tribes, restrictions were also placed on weaponry and means of survival which stunted their growth as a society and culture. In order to maintain any rights to land in the reserves limits, the tribes would need to remain within these restrictions or else they would be considered detrimental to the natural ecology."

I take Alan to have learned a lot from these regrettable actions and now he's on a quest to show us how to heal landscapes.

quotes from: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~reinh20j/jaya/index.html


I like this sort of thing.
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2435
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
There are always some very harsh consequences from the central planners "knowing what is best" for the little people.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Mike Underhill


Joined: Feb 12, 2012
Posts: 53
Location: N. Sac. Valley
    
    1
It would be great to hear Allan expand a bit on how we might strike a proper balance between non-woody grasslands that support mobs of ruminants and wooded areas where succession into forest is encouraged. Is it up to the land owner to choose their desired design for the land or should historic expression of the land be the dominant consideration? Maybe it's simply a function of the size of the ranch versus the manpower available to manage.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15229
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Brand new video with Allan Savory, made by the TSP folks.



In the email telling me about the new video, the TSP folks said they are giving away heaps of stuff right now, for more info look here.
Michael Cox


Joined: Jun 09, 2013
Posts: 955
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    
  25
Thanks Paul,

I just sat and listened to the whole thing. Very interesting. It was particularly good to here him talking about the distinction between "managing holistically" and "holistic management". Funny how a turn of phrase can change so much of the subtext.
Enrique Garcia


Joined: Jan 20, 2014
Posts: 47
Location: Las Vegas, NV
I smell a rat. I haven't studied all of what Allan Savory says but it sounds like he's working for the meat industry ... isn't overgrazing the cause of desertification ? We have this problem with our land in AZ ... too many cows ... which the law is on their side ... we are obligated to pay for a fence to keep them off the land .. the owner of the cows has no legal obligation to keep his cows off of our land ... my friend who bought the land did not know any of this ... our friends who practice permaculture in Australia came to visit the land & told us we have great land but have to keep the cows out ... compaction is bad for desert like soil not good ... & what are all these animals s'posed to eat ? What is their food source .. that causes them to shit so much they refertilize the barren landscape ? Couldn't i just do the same with cow manure myself ? Why isn't that being done ? I believe it's bcuz it doesn't work ... what is the water source ? You have a shortage of food & water but the cow which requires both is gonna turn the desert lush again ?

Sounds like those that want to further spin the desertification issue are using this to gain further permission to decimate more BLM & public lands ...

I'd really like to know as i was surprised to see this guy on Permies ... thanks
Hans Quistorff


Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 70
Location: Longbranch, WA
You missed the point of his work. It is controlled grazing where the animals are never allowed to get the grass to short before they are moved and are not returned until the grass has returned to optimum nutrition. There are many videos on YouTube where this has proved to work even in your state.


Hans Albert Quistorff, LMP
http://www.keypeninsulafarms.com/land_available.html
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2475
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74
Enrique,

I highly recommend you watch Allan's TED talk.



Permaculture Kingston
Enrique Garcia


Joined: Jan 20, 2014
Posts: 47
Location: Las Vegas, NV
I did see his TED talk ... but bcuz he didn't answer my questions that i asked here in the talk i did further research as it just didn't compute ... here is some of what I found :

"The most systematic research trial supporting Savory’s claims, the Charter Grazing Trials, was undertaken in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe today) between 1969 and 1975...there were problems during the Charter Grazing Trials, ones not mentioned in Savory’s dramatic talk. Cattle that grazed according to Savory’s method needed expensive supplemental feed, became stressed and fatigued, and lost enough weight to compromise the profitability of their meat. And even though Savory’s Grazing Trials took place during a period of freakishly high rainfall, with rates exceeding the average by 24 percent overall, the authors contend that Savory’s method “failed to produce the marked improvement in grass cover claimed from its application.” The authors of the overview concluded exactly what mainstream ecologists have been concluding for 40 years: “No grazing system has yet shown the capacity to overcome the long-term effects of overstocking and/or drought on vegetation productivity.

A 2000 evaluation of Savory’s methods in North America (mostly on prairie rangelands in Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico) contradicted Savory’s conclusions as well. Whereas Savory asserts that the concentrated pounding of cow hooves will increase the soil’s ability to absorb water, North American studies, according to the authors, “have been quite consistent in showing that hoof action from having a large number of animals on a small area for short time periods reduced rather than increased filtration.” Likewise, whereas Savory insists that his methods will revive grasses, “the most complete study in North America” on the impact of holistic management on prairie grass found “a definite decline” of plant growth on mixed prairie and rough fescue areas. It’s no wonder that one ecologist—who was otherwise sympathetic toward Savory—flatly stated after the TED talk, “Savory’s method won’t scale.”

Even if Savory’s plan could scale, foodies would still have to curb their carnivorous cravings. The entire premise of any scheme of rotational grazing, as Savory repeatedly notes, is the careful integration of plants and animals to achieve a “natural” balance. As Dr. Sylvia Fallon of the Natural Resources Defense Council has shown, symbiosis between grazing herds and grasses has historically worked best to sequester carbon when the animals lived the entirety of their lives within the ecosystem, their carcasses rotted and returned their accumulated nutrients into the soil, and human intervention was minimal to none. It is unclear, given that Savory has identified this type of arrangement as his ecological model, how marketing cattle for food would be consistent with these requirements. Cows live up to 20 years of age, but in most grass-fed systems, they are removed when they reach slaughter weight at 15 months. Cheating the nutrient cycle at the heart of land regeneration by removing the manure-makers and grass hedgers when only 10 percent of their ecological “value” has been exploited undermines the entire idea of efficiency that Savory spent his TED talk promoting.

Whether desert landscapes or the foundation’s coffers become any greener remains to be seen. In the meantime, the evidence continues to suggest what we have long known: There’s no such thing as a beef-eating environmentalist.

"Savory also believes the grazers of importance were always large mammals.. Not true. Over millions of acres of North America deserts, bison, elk, javelina, and pronghorn never roamed and never grazed the deserts or the patches of grassland within them. These deserts were and are grazed, but by small mammals like rabbits, mice, reptiles such as desert tortoise, and insects. Grasses that evolved being eaten by tortoises and rabbits are not likely to respond well to being eaten in intense, even if short termed, bouts of grazing by the artificially created cow" a human created animal .. how does that mimic nature ?
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2475
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74
Enrique Garcia wrote:There’s no such thing as a beef-eating environmentalist.


I thinks absolutes are dangerous. There is a place for meat eating in an healthy ecosystem. Humans removing the carcasses instead of letting them rot seems to only be an issue in a system where humane wastes or not cycled back into the system and the uneaten parts such as bones sent to the landfill. I think that it is possible to create a system that involves the animals that is much better than that.
Jennifer Wadsworth
steward

Joined: Sep 24, 2013
Posts: 2183
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
    
126
Enrique Garcia wrote:Couldn't i just do the same with cow manure myself ? Why isn't that being done ? I believe it's bcuz it doesn't work ... what is the water source ? You have a shortage of food & water but the cow which requires both is gonna turn the desert lush again ?


Actually, there are methods that people are using that simulate this - like zai pits. The problem is, it takes work by "people". Ideally, in permaculture and HRM, we would want another element of the system (other than us) to provide the long term labor to increase fertility over time. Herd animals are most appropriate at increasing fertility in grassland/savannah/rangelands (if properly managed in moving herds) Similarly in forests, trees are the major builders of soils, etc.



I also found this website to be quite interesting - it clarified some key concepts for me: http://managingwholes.com/brittle.htm


Prolonged rest desertifies brittle landscapes. Former grassland in Nevada, U.S.A.


A grass plant dying from prolonged rest on a destocked range in Nevada, U.S.A. Accumulated dead leaves shaded and killed the center of the plant, leaving a typical donut shape.


The healthiest plants on this overrested range are by the road, where they get disturbed by grading. Nevada.




http://abundantdesert.com
Climate: Subtropical desert (Köppen: BWh)
Elevation: 1090 ft
Continental Effect: 350 miles from the Pacific Ocean
Land Profile: FLAT land
Annual rainfall: 7"
Soil: Clay loam - this area was the alluvial flood plain of the Salt River
Laine MacTague


Joined: Mar 12, 2013
Posts: 24
    
    2
A desertified landscape is not necessarily devoid of nutrients. Depleted, certainly, but not devoid. Then:
You ship in cattle. You have just added tons of nutrients to the system. If their bellies were full, they will start adding nutrients to the soil immediately. As well as water - they are big, ugly, smelly, hairy water bags.
They walk around on the dead flat ground. Now, instead of a solid shallow crust smoothed by laminar runoff flow, you have a pockmarked soil which will be compressed some at lower levels but now has no smooth hard crust. The wind that used to blow ANY debris across & out of the area now blows seeds, little rodent turds, etc. into the little pits made by hooves. The pits get seeds, shit, & water. Now when it rains, things sprout. The animals are gone, so plants grow, breaking up that compacted soil with their roots. Bring back the animals now & you are screwed. Leave them away, and you get a fairly good growth from the area. Then bring them back when there are a ton of nutrients in the "teenage" plants, and some but not all of the plants have gone to seed. The soil is now softer, because rain was able to stick & soak a bit, and roots grew, & plants started to cover the ground. The animals eat more, shit more, break up more soil, but some of the soil has a bit of memory & spring, where plant roots are beginning to promote that. The animals knock seeds to the ground. You get them off. Then it looks a bit like the slide Savory showed where grass had been trampled & partially eaten, in front of the section where it had been left. Now the soil will hold even more of the next rain, the plants themselves are dropping seed in the area, the winds don't take debris away, the soil holds even more water.... So it goes.

You may get away without extra feed even in the first run because the animals are there for a VERY short time. In fact, you can start the process with a soil imprinter - just a machine with big heavy wheels that make pockmarks in the soil surface.


Never - No, wait. That's Always... check your references.
https://www.facebook.com/laine.mactague
Jennifer Wadsworth
steward

Joined: Sep 24, 2013
Posts: 2183
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
    
126
Laine - good point about imprinting. The following are from The Imprinting Foundation out of New Mexico:



Same land: Before imprinting, after imprinting and 4 months later (probably did the imprinting and seeding right before the rains)



Enrique Garcia wrote:There’s no such thing as a beef-eating environmentalist.


Well there are all kinds of ecosystems in the world - and people live in almost all of them. A few depend more on eating meat/fish than on vegetation (vegetation has a short season in these areas, meat a longer season) - off the top of my head the Inuit and Laplanders.

Enrique Garcia wrote:"Savory also believes the grazers of importance were always large mammals.. Not true. Over millions of acres of North America deserts, bison, elk, javelina, and pronghorn never roamed and never grazed the deserts or the patches of grassland within them. These deserts were and are grazed, but by small mammals like rabbits, mice, reptiles such as desert tortoise, and insects. Grasses that evolved being eaten by tortoises and rabbits are not likely to respond well to being eaten in intense, even if short termed, bouts of grazing by the artificially created cow" a human created animal .. how does that mimic nature ?


I think the key is to assess the carrying capacity of the land in it's current state and adjust herds accordingly. Even in the lower Sonoran desert, we see grazing by javalina and bighorn sheep - in fact, I gave up keeping a compost bin at my parent's last house because the javalina were CONSTANLY in it.

However, like you, I have questions. Some of them do relate to the carrying capacity of the land and the players in the native ecosystem. I don't know that bison or elk ever roamed the Sonoran desert, for example. However, imprinting(by hoof or machine)/zai pits/infiltration basins/swales/keylining - in other words, any type of water harvesting, will improve hydration, and thus the carrying capacity of the landscape. Granted, rehydration will take longer in arid lands than humid ones and there will probably need to be more studying of methods to find out what works best in drylands, especially very hot drylands.

I think Savory and others are on to something though - these things evolve. Sometimes one has to wait years or decades to see what truly does work and what doesn't in a given situation.

Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2475
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74
Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:

I think the key is to assess the carrying capacity of the land in it's current state and adjust herds accordingly. Even in the lower Sonoran desert, we see grazing by javalina and bighorn sheep - in fact, I gave up keeping a compost bin at my parent's last house because the javalina were CONSTANLY in it.

However, like you, I have questions. Some of them do relate to the carrying capacity of the land and the players in the native ecosystem. I don't know that bison or elk ever roamed the Sonoran desert, for example. However, imprinting(by hoof or machine)/zai pits/infiltration basins/swales/keylining - in other words, any type of water harvesting, will improve hydration, and thus the carrying capacity of the landscape. Granted, rehydration will take longer in arid lands than humid ones and there will probably need to be more studying of methods to find out what works best in drylands, especially very hot drylands.

I think Savory and others are on to something though - these things evolve. Sometimes one has to wait years or decades to see what truly does work and what doesn't in a given situation.



I was in the western part of the Mojave desert a few years ago and was reading about the history of the area and apparently there were a large number of antelopes when the first settlers got to the area. I don't think many are left now. Would it have been the same in other parts of the southwest?
Enrique Garcia


Joined: Jan 20, 2014
Posts: 47
Location: Las Vegas, NV
No one really responded to the points i made or answered the questions I raised but ok ...

Adriene, That wasn't my quote but i understand why he said that & feel there is truth to it .. the amount of grain grown to feed animals that could go to the starving people in the world who die at the rate 30,000 per day ... the impact commercial agriculture is having on the planet is 2nd to none ... water pollution & methane production ... millions upon millions of acres that don't even feed people where chemicals are sprayed & water is wasted .. the math just doesn't add up .. . as that article said by eating the animal at 15 months you are cutting it's helping the land by 90% ... only 10% of its life cycle of 20 years is lived ... so if you agree the animal is helping ... then leave it on the land for its full life .. if we weren't eating them there'd be far fewer of them .. that'd solve the over grazing part of the equation ...

plus we have maggots n vultures & other critters who break down carcasses ... & we don't even have the digestive systems of a carnivore ... we have that of a herbivore & will have 25 lbs of undigested meat by the time we reach our 50's .. that's why you see old men with skinny legs & pot bellies ... so i understand his point ... but aside from that i am not sold on Allan Savory ... neither are other scientists

Jennifer Wadsworth
steward

Joined: Sep 24, 2013
Posts: 2183
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
    
126
Adrien Lapointe wrote:
I was in the western part of the Mojave desert a few years ago and was reading about the history of the area and apparently there were a large number of antelopes when the first settlers got to the area. I don't think many are left now. Would it have been the same in other parts of the southwest?


Off the top of my head, I honestly don't know. It bears researching for sure. I remember when I first encountered the term "food forest". As a drylander I was like "WTH?" - what does a dryland food forest look like. It does take looking back at how the land was when some of the original settlers came through. Most of these are in the form of drawings/paintings and or writings. Finding this information is on my "to do" list.
Enrique Garcia


Joined: Jan 20, 2014
Posts: 47
Location: Las Vegas, NV
"However, imprinting(by hoof or machine)/zai pits/infiltration basins/swales/keylining - in other words, any type of water harvesting, will improve hydration, and thus the carrying capacity of the landscape. Granted, rehydration will take longer in arid lands than humid ones and there will probably need to be more studying of methods to find out what works best in drylands, especially very hot drylands. "

Jennifer, But how much water would the animals require ? They create a way for what little rain fall to stay there but do we bring in feed n water for them to begin with ? It seems the inputs & outputs don't make sense to me ... could we just bring our own steer manure, water & make imprints to get the same effect ? I get hoew small animals like chickens ala geoff lawton's Chicken tractors make sense in small amounts but herds of large animals ? When it is widely accepted that is what caused desertification ??
Jennifer Wadsworth
steward

Joined: Sep 24, 2013
Posts: 2183
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
    
126
Enrique Garcia wrote:No one really responded to the points i made or answered the questions I raised but ok ...


It might be that there is some confusion as to which are your questions and which are quotes from others? At least this was the case for me. And....I fully admit to not knowing everything about everything!

Enrique Garcia wrote:.. the amount of grain grown to feed animals that could go to the starving people in the world who die at the rate 30,000 per day


This is an argument that's made the rounds here before, last time in reference to Joel Salatin's Polyface farm - someone who knows more about calorie conversion from grain to meat to nutrition needs to chime in here.

Where I can be useful here is to state, as someone who grew up on AID projects in various parts of Africa, that given the choice of meat or vegetation (fruit/veg/grain) - many of the starving would chose meat. It is coveted and when it is received, it is celebrated. Also, one has to pay attention to how a culture views a particular food item. When I lived in Taiwan, I was often a guest at people's homes for a meal. I was (and remain) a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Although I was served dishes of rice and veggies, these almost always had pork fat in them. Why? To both honor the guest and to show that the family was prosperous. Then there's that story of how the US sent oats to starving Russian forces during WWII. The Russians refused to eat the oats, considering them "animal fodder".

So....could it REALLY be used to feed 30,000 a day? And is it something that people would choose to eat if they had intact ecosystems (because starving and depleted ecosystems and war/strife are often all bundled in the same package).

Enrique Garcia wrote:... the impact commercial agriculture is having on the planet is 2nd to none ... water pollution & methane production ... millions upon millions of acres that don't even feed people where chemicals are sprayed & water is wasted


The biggest problem of commercial ag is soil depletion - both the depletion of nutrients due to chemical use and the actual erosion of the soil due to water and wind.
--commercial ag breaks linkages between elements and functions in intact ecosystems, thus breaking their resiliency
--if land was managed so that these linkages were respected and encouraged, such as understanding the carrying capacity of a certain area and NOT overgrazing an area, understanding where the land is in terms of moving from degraded through sustainable and into a regenerative state - this would give us insight into how to best manage the land, determine the elements we have to work with and let us start to understand how these would function together.


Enrique Garcia wrote:.. the math just doesn't add up .. . as that article said by eating the animal at 15 months you are cutting it's helping the land by 90% ... only 10% of its life cycle of 20 years is lived ... so if you agree the animal is helping ... then leave it on the land for its full life .. if we weren't eating them there'd be far fewer of them .. that'd solve the over grazing part of the equation ...


Caveat - I have never managed large farm animals/rangeland. However, I would think if you are cycling animals off every 15 months, you are also replacing these animals so as to get a continuous yield. If this is true, the outcome of the animal being on the land would be the same - one animal over 20 yrs or a succession of animals, one replacing the other, over 20 yrs.

Enrique Garcia wrote:plus we have maggots n vultures & other critters who break down carcasses


Agreed, but they are towards the END of the energy cycle. As with any form of energy - living like animals and plants, or non-living such as wind and water - you want to capture and use that energy as many times as you can before you can no longer get a use from the energy. So, if one is an omnivore and choses to harvest an animal and eat it, the resulting yields may be humanure, bones and skins for implements/crafts/shelter and what's left moves on to the next element - vultures, hyenas, soil microbes...

Enrique Garcia wrote:... & we don't even have the digestive systems of a carnivore ...


We have the system of an omnivore - marking us as highly adaptable.

Enrique Garcia wrote:.. that's why you see old men with skinny legs & pot bellies ...


Alas, malnourished people can have this appearance too - even if they've never touched meat.
Jennifer Wadsworth
steward

Joined: Sep 24, 2013
Posts: 2183
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
    
126
Enrique Garcia wrote:Jennifer, But how much water would the animals require ? They create a way for what little rain fall to stay there but do we bring in feed n water for them to begin with ? It seems the inputs & outputs don't make sense to me ... could we just bring our own steer manure, water & make imprints to get the same effect ? I get hoew small animals like chickens ala Geoff Lawton's Chicken tractors make sense in small amounts but herds of large animals ? When it is widely accepted that is what caused desertification ??


I think this goes back to carefully assessing the carrying capacity of the land at the moment. And I would think (again - I'm not a cattle person) that you would have to reevaluate this over time as it will vary.

I think that failure to assess the carrying capacity of the land and overgrazing it leads to desertification. At least that's the distinction I'm getting. Let's face it, animals migrate (like buffalo on the grasslands of Africa) because they are following food/water. If there are 1) too many of them and 2) they are kept on land that lacks the ability to serve their needs - then yes - that land will be stripped bare.

And sometimes, outside influence start or exacerbate the desertification - such as interruptions to the natural hydrological cycle (tearing down trees, damming rivers, any myriad of other things). Then the animals do exacerbate the issue. If it is a people's tradition to keep animals on ancestral land and manage them in certain ways (based on when the ecosystem was more intact and had more carrying capacity) you're looking at serious issues. And they are hard to combat because they are part of a people's way of being and interacting with the ecosystem.
Adrien Lapointe
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Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2475
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  74
Let's see, here are some of my thoughts:

1- I think that feeding herbivores grains is a terrible idea. I definitely agree that the grain would be better fed to people, even though I am not sure it is always the best people food either, but that is another debate. I don't think the idea behind Holistic management is to feed the animals grains. I think that if they need to bring input initially, they go for fodder. However, I think that what they do is cycle the animals really quickly through the whole area so that the livestock can just survive off the land.

2- So why not just impact the land yourself mechanically and bring manure. Well, the livestock can do it better on solar energy and the manure that one would spread would have to come from somewhere else.

3- Overgrazing is not a function of numbers, but rather a function of time. Grass does not care how many mowers cut it, the final result is the same, the grass is cut. The only problem is if animals are brought back too quickly and the grass didn't have time to recover. Overgrazing can also be species specific. Some grazers prefer some species and if left continuously on the same piece of land, will just kill there favourite species.
paul wheaton
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Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15229
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
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Jay Angler


Joined: Sep 12, 2012
Posts: 52
    
    1
Hi All,

I think if we read between the lines, Allan Savory, Joel Salatin et al, are not imitating what herbivores *want* to do, but what in a healthy eco-system, predators *force* herbivores to do. Where I live there is a deer over-population "problem". Every time a cougar tries to move in to deal with the deer problem in nature's way, animal control officers kill it. If we aren't going to let cougars keep the deer moving and browsing and moving and browsing the way nature does (substitute wolves keep the buffalo moving or lions keep the African equivalent moving), then humans need to fill this role. Humans won't fill this role if they don't see personal benefit (ie food!). It isn't the "presence" of domestic animals that causes desertification, nor, the precise stocking rate, it is the need to have the domestic animals moving as if there is a normal predator/prey balance at work. A big part of "Permaculture" is imitating what nature does and herbivores are a big part of most habitats - particularly if you look far enough back into history. We have the science to evaluate whether these permaculture ideas are working - soil depth, rainfall patterns and totals, water table depth, and microbial activity - but there are too many good people out there doing similar but not identical "imitations of nature" for me to believe there is one, right, perfect, only way to get the job done of healing this planet. I just hope the ones that are willing to learn from their mistakes (Alan Savory regrets reducing elephant stocking rates thinking it would help and it made the situation worse), observe what seems to be working, and share that knowledge, keep doing so.
Jay
Enrique Garcia


Joined: Jan 20, 2014
Posts: 47
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Jay Angler wrote:Hi All,

I think if we read between the lines, Allan Savory, Joel Salatin et al, are not imitating what herbivores *want* to do, but what in a healthy eco-system, predators *force* herbivores to do. Where I live there is a deer over-population "problem". Every time a cougar tries to move in to deal with the deer problem in nature's way, animal control officers kill it. If we aren't going to let cougars keep the deer moving and browsing and moving and browsing the way nature does (substitute wolves keep the buffalo moving or lions keep the African equivalent moving), then humans need to fill this role. Humans won't fill this role if they don't see personal benefit (ie food!). It isn't the "presence" of domestic animals that causes desertification, nor, the precise stocking rate, it is the need to have the domestic animals moving as if there is a normal predator/prey balance at work. A big part of "Permaculture" is imitating what nature does and herbivores are a big part of most habitats - particularly if you look far enough back into history. We have the science to evaluate whether these permaculture ideas are working - soil depth, rainfall patterns and totals, water table depth, and microbial activity - but there are too many good people out there doing similar but not identical "imitations of nature" for me to believe there is one, right, perfect, only way to get the job done of healing this planet. I just hope the ones that are willing to learn from their mistakes (Alan Savory regrets reducing elephant stocking rates thinking it would help and it made the situation worse), observe what seems to be working, and share that knowledge, keep doing so.
Jay


"then humans need to fill this role. Humans won't fill this role if they don't see personal benefit (ie food!)"

Aren't there plenty of examples of nature not needing man at all ? Isn't that model far more prevalent ?

Much of what caused desertification is increasing the amount of animals in an unnatural way precisely bcuz we wanted to eat their meat ... not bcuz we thought they were cute & wanted to have them around ... they weren't just picked off as they wandered grasslands naturally .. they were corralled & fenced in .. based on greed not need .. you aren't in the flow with nature if you cage something ... the freedom for animals to wander more & feel safe is going to be based them living in a less predatory world not more predatory

"but there are too many good people out there doing similar but not identical "imitations of nature" for me to believe there is one, right, perfect, only way to get the job done of healing this planet."

What about this .. that every act we take is an act of Love ? Is caging an animal or eating one an act of Love ... most of what Permaculture is .. is based on acts of Love ... save for the treatment of animals ... for instance if you kill critters in your garden they simply mate n multiply like crazy ... but if you learn to create something that is in balance with nature ... then populations don't go out of whack ... not killing critters is an act of love
 
 
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