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Allan Savory Wins Award  RSS feed

 
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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.

 
steward
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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?
 
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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
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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
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"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
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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
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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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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.
 
steward
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The Allan Savory card
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pollinator
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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
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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
 
pollinator
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Enrique Garcia wrote:

"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 ?


Cool! All we need to do is get rid of humans. (slaps head and wanders off to figure out how to kill all humans without hurting the planet any more than we already have)

All kidding aside.... (I just found out my wife flipped her car on the HW (shes ok) so I may be off a bit) We do want to stay around as a species. We do want to eat. We have already caused many problems and need to figure out how to fix what we broke.


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


Not sure where you were going with this. What was done in the past is one thing and tended to be bad because the results were not looked at beyond the next meal. OK. Predators are a part of a balance. Without humans there are predators and their numbers increase or decrease in response to the numbers of food animals. "Freedom" does not really enter into the matter. The world is a system that has checks and balances and humans have messed with that and if we are to survive, we have to make up for it. Part of the food animals health depends on being alert, ready to run... and doing some of that running on a daily basis. They have reacted in the past by keeping close to each other for survival. What it seems we are finding is that this also ended up being good for the soil and plants. So to prevent deserts from forming it seems we need to have animals on the land. It seems we need to keep them in close quarters... and it seems that they need to be moved constantly.

Animals today are tame (even the deer) and do not bunch for safety. So we have to do it for them... because we do the bunching for them, we also have to move them. We have to do what the predators used to do. Certainly this is not the whole story, but a small piece.

Now the plants that make some of these areas healthy may not be plants we can eat (or that are healthy for us to eat) and besides we need the animals there so if we eat what the ground produces in any quantity the animals die on hunger or we have to feed them. Better to eat _some_ of them in the same way a predator does. How many? The number to eat is the number that keeps the herd the right size for the land available. This will depend on the condition of the land which will also vary from year to year. So that number is variable. However, every year some animals must die. That is the only way to keep the land alive and healthy. We can kill some and leave them to rot, or we can eat them. Seems a waste not to eat them as would normally be the case in nature. So we eat them. This is life. Some animals eat other animals. Our feelings on the subject as to it being right or wrong do not enter into it... that is the way the world is designed (if you believe you are created by God or evolution doesn't matter it is still the same).


"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



Permaculture is based on love? That is new to me. What is love? what do you mean by caged? what does the next person mean by caged? Is it right to tame animals? Ask a dog, science seems to think they are "self-domesticated"... That is they chose to live with humans for their own reasons. If killing creatures is an act of love I do not know. It is the way nature balances itself out... love or no love. This is not for me to judge. we come out of the same nature.... we are just smart enough to unbalance things, the question is if we are smart enough to rebalance things all over again. One of the things said in the video(s) is that government is not the answer... Ya in fact government is part of the problem. The comment was that there is no form of government or change in government style that can help in this case. (this is scary where that leads) What that says to me is that each individual has to learn to do what is best for nature's balance. It is a good question (taking into account human nature) what percentage of people (humans) need to actively make changes to the way they interact with nature. There are two things that go with this, knowing what to change in one's life style and wanting to do it. Both things have to be there.

I personally think both of these things will be a problem. despite what was said in the video about people basically doing the right thing if they know what it is.... I personally don't buy it. I agree with your comments about greed. I see two problems:

the doing part: There will always be people who may know what needs to be done but feel they personally will gain more with a "sick" world. That is aside from those who are just lazy, which may be an even bigger problem.

The learning part: The people who feel they gain from not doing also feel they gain from people not knowing... oh, and lots of people are too lazy to learn

I don't know, but I think I mentioned four things there.... greed, greed, greed and greed.

This is far from an exhaustive comment. It leaves a lot not covered and it also is from one humans Point Of View.... Basic human truth: We are a learning animal, nothing is built in. We have to learn the most basic things, we have to learn to see and hear even. We mostly learn from mistakes, we love to learn... I guess that means we make lots of mistakes so we can learn.
 
Enrique Garcia
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Yes, Permaculture is based on love .. love for the land & ourselves .. seeking to live in balance with nature & sharing abundance where there exists some ... in fact increasing abundance not just for ourselves but to share ... if you look closely you'll see that those things that serve us & others are love based .. those that don't like killing animals cause us some major problems .. which are pretty obvious .. no reason to over intellectualize it
 
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