How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change

Allan Savory grew up in Africa and in the 1950s helped set up many of Africa’s national parks. Desertification was beginning to take hold in some national parks even back then. Allan Savory was the young ecologist who researched the problem and concluded that overgrazing was the cause. As there were no domesticated animals in the parks the solution that he came up with was to reduce the elephant population.

Over the next few years 40,000 elephants were shot – and the problem got worse. This has haunted Savory for the rest of his life and made him absolutely determined to find a solution to the desertification problem.

The solution that he came up with, and which has now been shown to work on several continents is surprisingly counter intuitive. He increases the numbers of grazing animals whilst simultaneously increasing field sizes, or the range that the grazing animals have to cover.

This simulates what happens in nature where vast herds of wildebeest or buffalo over-graze a patch of land and then move on. The seeds of the plants are left behind in dung and regrow. Without this process the grasses dry out and blow away along with their seeds.

Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change
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Before and after planned grazing


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