Savory's Holistic Management model is completely in line with permaculture, and forms a framework for managing, well, just about anything.
Check out this info:
challenges the dominant theory that desertification is caused by overgrazing.
Savory’s approach is based on a singular insight: grasses can’t graze themselves.
Large herbivores do three important things:
1. Break soil crusts
2. Compact the soil under their hooves
3. Return standing grass plant material (dead or alive) to the soil surface earlier than if the animals not been there. "
It is interesting to develop a holistic goal for your family and property, and then go through things and see how your current setups and methods pass the tests.
paul wheaton wrote:
Check out the video on this page:
It's a really excellent talk; I've linked to it many times.
For an equally good follow-up, I'll link to this one again as well:
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I really liked the discussion of plans. This sort of thinking is anathema to, for example, objectivism.
I don't know that I agree (and it may be off topic for this threat but...). Can you elaborate on why you believe the discovery is anathema to objectivism?
Paul talks about Allan Savory's work.
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!
So what would Paul say about Allan Savory's work?
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.
I wonder if he's seen this site: http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/reversing-desertification-with-livestock/
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:
You might also enjoy some sustainable systems for grassland management:
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.
WAPF Kamloops Chapter
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.
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
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
"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 ?
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.
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.
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.