There is a popular theory that mankind has caused desertification through over-grazing and that the solution to this desertification is pulling the animals off of the damaged land and letting it rest so it can return to its natural state. It’s a nice idea, but it hasn’t worked.
Alan Savory has noted, many times, that around the globe where this theory has been implemented that the land which was damaged by over-grazing and then let to lay fallow has not recovered but instead it has continued in its lifeless trajectory. The theory is a failure, as can be seen when one looks at the globe with Google Earth.
What Mr Savory has observed in his years of study and global travels is that livestock use is critical to land restoration. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense! The way HaShem designed things in the beginning is that there were flocks and herds of wild animals grazing vast grasslands. They would mob-graze: trampling down the vegetation and leaving manure and waste in their wake. What was also going on was a pressing down of the vegetation into the soil, a breaking of the crust over the top layer of soil, an infusion of nutrient rich fluid and a deposit of nutrient rich solids, before the flocks and herds moved on to greener pastures. There were hundreds and thousands of animals grazing these vast grasslands and yet it was never over-grazed. When nature takes its course it adds critical keys to the cycle of life. This cycle of life builds topsoil which not only causes the plants to thrive, but it sucks carbon (and other things) from the air to deposit it into the soil as building blocks. This soil building also helps mitigate flooding by giving the rainfall a place to go as the organic matter absorbs the moisture and holds onto it so the plant life can access it. The plants provide shade so the hot sun does not cause the moisture to evaporate. And when the moisture is absorbed deeply enough, it replenishes aquifers which is where we dig to get good drinking water. It’s the cycle of life. Grazing is a critical component to the life of the planet.
I went for a walk and noticed this happening on our own homestead, and I took a short video to show you what I have observed.
The video cut short, but what I was pointing out was that the high use side is robust, even under it’s heavy use, while the rested side is struggling and very unproductive. We will watch this location over the next few years to see how it changes as we add organic matter and manure, and intentionally pass the animals over this area more frequently.