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Fighting the growing deserts, with livestock: Allan Savory at TED2013
Allan Savory has dedicated his life to studying management of grasslands. And if that doesn't sound exciting, just wait, because it touches on the deepest roots of climate change and the future of the planet.
"The most massive, tsunami, perfect storm is bearing down on us," is the grim beginning to Savory's talk. This storm is the result of rising population, of land that is turning to desert, and, of course, climate change. Savory is also unsure of the belief that new technology will solve all of the problems. He agrees that only tech will create alternatives to fossil fuels, but that's not the only thing causing climate change.
So what can they do? "There is only one option left to climatologists and scientists. That is to do the unthinkable: to use livestock, bunched and moving, as a proxy for the herds." Those herds mulch it down, leaving both the trampled grass and their dung. The grass is then free to grow without having damaged with fire.
The results are stunning. For location after location he shows two comparison photos, one using his technique, one not. The difference is, "a profound change," and he's not kidding - in some cases the locations are unrecognizable (in one case the audience gasped). Not only is the land greener, crop yields are increasing. For example, in Patagonia, an expanding desert, they put 25,000 sheep into one flock. They found an extraordinary 50% improvement in production of land in the first year.
(more at link)
"Only with livestock can we mimic nature." - Allan Savory