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Has anyone heard of Pleistocene Rewilding?  RSS feed

 
Chris Kott
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I was wondering if anyone had heard of projects underway all over the world that aim to reestablish the kind of faunal controls that existed in the Pleistocene that were able to keep a balance between forest and plains without human intervention.

Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene_Rewilding

I started with the idea that my ideal zone 4 would include managed pasture for bison, and it quickly took off from there.

Thoughts?

-CK

EDIT - When I posted this, I wasn't aware that conservation was a sub-forum of energy (or is it?) If there is a better place for this, I'd appreciate it if a steward could move it, or let me know how. Thanks.
EDIT mk2 - Thanks. I was wondering where this would go, and now I know.
 
Alder Burns
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I think there is a "Pleistocene Park" being established in Siberia. Also when you read Allan Savory and Holistic Management it's apparent that the absence of predators is the key problem with livestock on range...predators keep grazers bunched and moving, so their impact is intense, brief, and with long recovery periods. Apparently, recreating this behavior pattern can reverse desertification! Now, there's thinking being done around shock collars through GPS satellites such that an operator can make animals move through the landscape at a distance from a computer screen!
The megafauna have long been an interest of mine. Read "The Ghosts of Evolution" by Connie Barlow. You will never look at the landscape the same.
 
Chris Kott
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I'm familiar with it. I'm using the idea as a bit of a model for my long-term zone 4 range plan, suitably adapted with humans as top predator (I'm designing a food system, after all). As part of my bison plan, I want to eventually develop a large dog breed based on Great Pyrenees and including Tibetan Mastiffs and Newfoundland dogs as breeding stock, and selecting for a red-brown-fawn coloration, so that at a distance they look like calves. Great Pyrenees adopt the flock they guard as pack, though really stupid, defenseless pack, and have been bred to stay with their flock all the time, even throughout winter. All are big dogs (we're talking males over 200lbs in some cases). Imagine some predator coming looking for lunch and getting a mouthful of fangs in the ass for its trouble, if it didn't become lunch.

I would love to hear if other people have drawn similar (or wildly different!) ideas about Pleistocene Rewilding and its relation to Permaculture. I want bison. Mmmm...humpsteak.

-CK
 
Alder Burns
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Have you ever been around bison? I've known people who have and they are intense. The tale I most recall is one agitated bull tucking his head up to the side of a full-size pickup truck and flipping it upside down! I can't imagine anything less than a big pack of big dogs standing a chance of their own survival in any kind of enclosure with them...
 
Chris Kott
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Well to be honest, I was considering breeding up from domesticated stock, which would be the ones to benefit from guardian dogs (having lost some of their natural defensive skills). I mean, eventually they'll get closer to the wild real deal, but by that time, they should have their own pack of livestock guardians. I was also considering that if they were used to some handling, they could be run through a pinch-point, one at a time and caught between a wall and a giant mattress pad thing so their winter coat can be harvested before it falls off by itself, and so they would be a fibre animal as well. People actually do this, I'm not kidding. I don't intend to have completely wild stock of any kind, and I don't want to set out a predator buffet, and I don't want to live with them all the time with a gun to shoot the baddies, so I think my work-around will work.
Besides, I hear the males only attack cars during mating season.

-CK
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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There has been a lot of discussion on the native american rewilding of the plains.

might want to try from a "de-fencing the plains" angle
 
Chris Kott
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The very nature of land used for pasturage on a zone 4/5 level suggests to me the use of large tracts of land adopted by permaculturally-minded people for exactly such a fenceless setup on a massive scale, even if the intent is a yearly culling. I want to eventually be part of a community that banks some of the animal protein portion of their food stores on a community-owned range (with the rules set by me, of course ). It seems logical to me, then, to choose species that have extensive histories of thriving even through times of dearth. Bison appear to be one such, with the tendency for herds to increase by as much as a third in good years entirely on their own. Wild turkeys would be a woodland or fringe candidate, as would range turkey (ostrich, anyone?). What's more permie than ensuring the forage is there, and then letting the animals at it all, to come by once a year to harvest? The animals are born on the range, live their lives there, and if they don't fall to "predation" (there might be some, but I still like my semi-tame herd and bison dog idea; much more likely the yearly cull would be the real predatory stand-in) beforetime, they breed and live until they die on the range, living as they would without people

-CK.
 
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