Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Allan Savory's plea to fight desertification

The TED talk by Allan Savory was, to say the least enlightening. Scientists and ecologists have been fuming over the effects desertification has had on ecosystems for decades. The Global Climate Change Crisis (GCCC, as I'll refer to it) is in full swing and many scientists are trying diligently to state their claim on how to reverse the catastrophic effects humans have caused. There is no doubting that long before humans inhabited the Earth, naturally occurring climate changes altered ecosystems drastically. Allan's claim is that holistic management of cattle will help grasslands to absorb the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere, which will revert our atmosphere back to pre-GCCC conditions. This is a valiant statement. 

Savory's past studies and results have not been all that reliable however. According to James McWilliams article on, In 1990, Savory admitted that attempts to reproduce his methods had led to “15 years of frustrating and erratic [sic] results.” But he refused to accept the possibility that his hypothesis was flawed. Instead, Savory said those erratic results “were not attributable to the basic concept being wrong but were always due to management.” McWilliam's article is flat out refuting Savory's ideas on holistic management explaining that many other studies have proven mass amounts of cattle grazing, no matter how meticulously controlled had the opposite effects Savory depicts in his TED talk. 

An article, I believe is related to the issue at hand was found on Science It describes the benefits of pastoralist ranching with the use of Boma's.

I think Allan Savory has had some success in proving his method in certain desert ecosystems. However, I don't think it can be used for every desert ecosystem on a large scale. I think he needs to prove his method more thoroughly, with much more rigorous scientific exploration. 

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