Livestock's Role in Reversing Land Degradation


It’s positively refreshing to see a discussion on the plight of threatened grasslands, world hunger and political unrest have a tangible, though only partial, solution. What’s more, livestock production has been criticized by environmentalists as too water intensive and hard on delicate ecosystems to be sustainable. A recent presentation, however, is turning this notion on its head, and has singled out livestock as a solution to the very problem its been accused of causing.

Allan Savory recently gave a TED presentation that starts out rather dire, but ultimately comes to a rousing conclusion: livestock and intensive, managed grazing is actually the solution to reverse desertification — the drying and dying of whole ecosystems. Turning land from bare and unproductive to green, lush and productive is also the first step, Savory attests, to providing economic and political stability in some of the world’s most violent regions.

This video is very long by’s standards, I know, and not everyone is going to agree with his take on climate change and humans’ role in it, but if you have cattle or grain, or have ever traveled to impoverished and desolate places, this video is a must-watch. In fact, I’d argue it’s a must-watch for anyone with pasture or grassland under their management. Intensive, whole-life cycle pasture management benefits farmers, ranchers and the soil — this can’t be over-stated.

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.


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