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Sunday, March 10. 2013
I agree with Anthony Watts that this TED talk is remarkable.
Feel free to punch holes in his argument, but based on his examples it seems to work dramatically - watch his example in Mexico. A guy who exterminated 40,000 elephants by mistake deserves to be listened to.
On a micro, non-desertification level, I have noticed that the quality of the grasses on one of our 50-acre fields at the farm has deteriorated visibly since we have not had cattle there. Of course, our New England meadows are naturally woodlands and not natural grasslands.
Painting on top from this site.
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An interesting piece of video and well worth the time to watch it.
I enjoyed the TED video and it made good sense. However most of the country the Buffalo roamed is hardly desert. and most/all of the desert in the U.S. has been desert for mellenium. For better or worse it was and is impossible to have 100 million buffalo roaming freely in the U.S. A sad result of human population growth and modern life but inevitable. So I'm not sure where there is any debate.
Interesting. And so simply obvious not that it has been demonstrated. You can see where human ignorance, which grows as we become more educated, had its influence. Logical really, reduce the number of animals to improve to a few higher quality specimens. But that reduced number doesn't properly recycle the land so the number of animals is reduced, etc.
I can see how this would freak out the greenies though. More cattle, in denser herds, people making money, and no one asking by their leave.
Although this is one climate change initiative I could get behind, except I don't want to become a herder.
The first humans that came across the land bridge from Asia killed all the horses and camels. They may not have been able to hunt the bison as successfully, for some reason. I was very impressed with the TED presentation. I was also impressed with the willingness of some people to shoot 40,000 elephants in support of a theory about desertification. We're about to see something similar with Obamacare.
Well, as he said, he'd grown up with the firm knowledge that domesticated herds were the cause of all land evils.
Never underestimate the hubris of biologist who think they can do God's work. They just can't comprehend the complex web of cause and effect.
On the other hand, this guy did at least learn from his mistake and arrive at a new idea that throws out all the "conventional" wisdom, mostly first order idea never considered with skepticism.
Readers of C.J.Hadley's "Range" magazine understand how grasslands evolved and are familiar with ranchers who applied logic and defied conventional wisdom (cough) by implementing nature's holistic approach. No small wonder why Indians set fire to the prairie to renew grass plants, now days farmers often face lawsuits practicing this same prudent wisdom.
"RANGE", a must read for anyone concerned about the plight of the genuine stewards of the environment, our ranchers, loggers, farmers, miners and the myriad obstacles ignorant politics have placed in their way.
On the whole very good. Never the less, at 50:30 of the longer (not TED)film Savory is explaining the Holistic Framework, culminating in the statement “and then we assume we are wrong and we complete the feedback”. Advice to Allan Savory: listen to your own advice. You need one more epiphany.
CO2 is the chemical feedstock of all biological growth starting with plants. Carbon sequestration is so wrong headed it makes my head hurt. Desertification was happening long before the industrial age and the carbon scare. CO2 is not the problem, it is a part (holistic) of the solution. If more plant growth is desired, more CO2 is needed. The results of numerous FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) experiments prove that the benefits of increased CO2 across the botanical spectrum include increased biomass crop production and increased water use efficiency (drought tolerance). I guess being shunned for heretical views about animal husbandry was traumatizing. Who wants to be banished again over CO2 heresy. To quote the film again: “birth, growth, death, decay.” CO2 is recycled through the ecosystem. Hooray for decomposers.
Note: It is Anthony Watts not Andrew
I'll have to wait till a little later to watch the TED talk, but you might be interested in this story from last December. about the release of a herd of Wisent —the European bison, close cousins of ours, to the wild. They have been preserved in zoos. There have been no wild European bison since 1927, and some in Europe are nervous about having bison in the forests again. They are forest animals, unlike ours. Not much to worry about yet, the herd consists of one bull, five cows and two calves.
Just a point of information American buffalo were mostly plains animals in huge herds but they were also forest buffalo. You can still find buffalo in heavy thick forest in Western Canada far from any plains.
In Poland, until WWII, there were wild Aurochs in the forests.
A small herd of Bison were left on Catalina Island after the shooting of a movie in the 1920s. By the 1970s, the small herd had increased to about 400. We used to see them all the time. In addition, there were thousands of goats that had been there since the 1500s when the Spanish left some on the islands. There were also wild pigs that were introduced in the early 1900s to reduce the rattlesnakes.
All the "non-native" animals have been removed by the enviros. The bison were sold to ranches in Montana to be slaughtered for meat. The goats were shot. The pigs, I don't know.
In the meantime, the water for the central valley of California was shut off by a federal judge to protect a non-native tiny fish, the delta smelt, and the central valley, one of the great agricultural centers of the world is now a dust bowl with 40% unemployment in Fresno.
The Progressives are triumphant.
delta smelt, reminds me of the old school yard taunt, whoever smelt'it must'a dealt'it.
Suppose now that a new army of frontier farmers-- as many as could occupy another belt of 50 miles, in width, from Manitoba to Texas, could, acting in concert, turn over the prairie sod, and after deep plowing and receiving the rain and moisture, present a new surface of green growing crops instead of dry, hard baked earth covered with sparse buffalo grass. No one can question or doubt the inevitable effect of this cooling condensing surface upon the moisture in the atmosphere as it moves over by the Western winds. A reduction of temperature must at once occur, accompanied by the usual phenomena of showers. The chief agency in this transformation is agriculture. To be more concise. Rain follows the plow.
--Charles Dana Wilber, 1881, in
“The Great Valleys of Nebraska”
Back then "rain follows the plow" resulted in the over-plowing of America's Great Plains, and we didn't get it right until the winds of the "Dirty Thirties" took black dirt all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. But the long drought of the '30s had nothing to do with cattle or lack thereof. Those winds and accompanying heat started in the Pacific, a long, long way from the Great Plains.
So Charles Wilber was wrong and for much the same reason (oversimplification) Allen Savory is wrong. If Savory has not gotten past the unrealistic condemnation of carbon (we are all carbon) and CO2, then he has yet to figure out that there are not enough herd animals to green the world's deserts.
Somewhere, somehow, smart people have to admit that the world is too big and too complex for pissant-sized humans to destroy it
Then of course there is the troubling fact that the planet is greening according to Reason: