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Hope Below Our Feet

Peer-Reviewed Publications on Well-Managed Grazing as a Means of Improving Rangeland Ecology, Building Soil Carbon, and Mitigating Global Warming

Prepared by Soil4Climate Inc.

Updated May 2021

Left: Soil with approximately 7% soil organic matter at North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown’s holistically managed ranch. Top right: Kroon family holistically managed ranch on left side of fence, Karoo region, South Africa, with livestock density about 4X that of the neighbor’s ranch on right side of fence. Bottom right: Holistically managed herd on Maasai lands in Kenya. (Top right photo by Kroon family. Left and bottom right photos by Seth J. Itzkan.)

Accelerating regenerative grazing to tackle farm, environmental, and societal challenges in the upper Midwest

2021 Viewpoint by Spratt et al. in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation defines “regenerative grazing” as a “win-win-win” component of “regenerative agriculture” that “uses soil health and adaptive livestock management principles to improve farm profitability, human and ecosystem health, and food system resiliency.”

Spratt et al. 2021, doi:10.2489/jswc.2021.1209A

https://www.jswconline.org/content/jswc/76/1/15A.full.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanding grass-based agriculture on marginal land in the U.S. Great Plains: The role of management intensive grazing

2021 paper by Wang et al. in Land Use Policy finds that the adoption of management intensive grazing (MIG) is a key factor for restoring marginal croplands to permanent grassland cover to enhance environmental benefits across the Great Plains from a social perspective. It also notes that compared to conventional tillage-based crop production, grass-based agriculture can provide substantially more ecosystem benefits and that management intensive grazing (MIG) offers the potential to enhance grassland resilience, thereby increasing the profitability of grass-based agriculture.

Tong Wang, Hailong Jin, Urs Kreuter, Richard Teague,Expanding grass-based agriculture on marginal land in the U.S. Great Plains: The role of management intensive grazing, Land Use Policy, Volume 104, 2021,105155,ISSN 0264-8377, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105155.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837720324935

Adaptive multi-paddock grazing enhances soil carbon and nitrogen stocks and stabilization through mineral association in southeastern U.S. grazing lands

2021 paper by Mosier et al. in Journal of Environmental Management finds that adaptive multi-paddock grazing (AMP) increases both soil carbon and soil nitrogen stocks when compared with conventional grazing (CG). Specifically, carbon stocks were increased 13% and nitrogen stocks 9%.  It concludes, “Findings show that AMP grazing is a management strategy to sequester C and retain N.”

Mosier S, Apfelbaum S, Byck P, Calderon F, Teague R, Thompson R, Francesca Cotrufo M, Adaptive multi-paddock grazing enhances soil carbon and nitrogen stocks and stabilization through mineral association in southeastern U.S. grazing lands, Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 288, 2021, 112409, ISSN 0301-4797, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112409 

Ecosystem Impacts and Productive Capacity of a Multi-Species Pastured Livestock System

2020 paper by Rowntree et al. documents the soil carbon increases from “holistic planned grazing” in a multi-species pasture rotation (MSPR) system on the USDA-certified organic White Oak Pastures farm in Clay County, Georgia. Over 20 years, the farm sequestered an average of 2.29 metric tonnes of carbon per hectare per year (2.29 Mg C/ha/yr).  The paper also shows that the area required to produce food in this regenerative way was 2.5 times that of conventional farming (which would have resulted in soil degradation and toxic chemicals impact). It notes that production efficiency comes at a cost of “land-use tradeoffs” that  must be taken into consideration.

Rowntree JE, Stanley PL, Maciel ICF, Thorbecke M, Rosenzweig ST, Hancock DW, Guzman A and Raven MR (2020) Ecosystem Impacts and Productive Capacity of a Multi-Species Pastured Livestock System. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 4:544984. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.544984

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2020.544984/full

Climate change mitigation as a co-benefit of regenerative ranching: insights from Australia and the United States

2020 paper in Interface Focus finds that “‘Managed grazing’ is gaining attention for its potential to contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing bare ground and promoting perennialization, thereby enhancing soil carbon sequestration (SCS).” The paper explores principles and practices associated with the larger enterprise of ‘regenerative ranching’ (RR), which, it states, “includes managed grazing but infuses the practice with holistic decision-making.” It argues that the holistic framework is appealing “due to a suite of ecological, economic and social benefits” and notes that climate change mitigation a “co-benefit.”

Gosnell H, Charnley S, Stanley P. 2020 Climate change mitigation as a co-benefit of regenerative ranching: insights from Australia and the United States. Interface Focus 10: 20200027. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2020.0027

A half century of Holistic Management: what does the evidence reveal?

2020 paper in Agriculture and Human Values provides a meta-analysis of Holistic Management (HM) considering “epistemic”  differences between disciplines associated with the agricultural sciences. It concludes that the way to resolve the controversy over HM is to “research, in partnership with ranchers, rangeland social-ecological systems in more holistic, integrated ways.” This broader approach to research, it argues, can account for “the full range of human experience, co-produce new knowledge, and contribute to social-ecological transformation.”

Gosnell, Hannah & Grimm, Kerry & Goldstein, Bruce. (2020). A half century of Holistic Management: what does the evidence reveal?. Agriculture and Human Values. 10.1007/s10460-020-10016-w. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10016-w

Soil greenhouse gas emissions as impacted by soil moisture and temperature under continuous and holistic planned grazing in native tallgrass prairie. 

2020 paper in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment finds that holistic planned grazing protocols, used in adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) management, had superior ecological performance in a tallgrass prairie region when compared with high-density continuous  grazing and medium-density continuous grazing systems. Results demonstrate AMP grazing had lower soil temperature, higher soil moisture, and lower N2O and CH4 emissions.

Dowhower, S. L., Teague, W. R., Casey, K. D., & Daniel, R. (2020). Soil greenhouse gas emissions as impacted by soil moisture and temperature under continuous and holistic planned grazing in native tallgrass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 287, 106647. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.106647

Impacts of holistic planned grazing with bison compared to continuous grazing with cattle in South Dakota shortgrass prairie

2019 paper in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment demonstrates that Adaptive Multi-paddock (AMP) grazing increases fine litter cover, water infiltration, forage biomass and soil carbon stocks in a comparison with heavy continuous grazing (HCG) on shortgrass prairie of the Northern Great Plains of North America. 

Hillenbrand, M., Thompson, R., Wang, F., Apfelbaum, S., & Teague, R. (2019). Impacts of holistic planned grazing with bison compared to continuous grazing with cattle in South Dakota shortgrass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 279, 156–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.02.005

 

Simulating the influence of integrated crop-livestock systems on water yield at watershed scale

2019 paper in the Journal of Environmental Management shows that Integrated crop-livestock (ICL) systems have superior water retention (reduction in “water yields”) than in crops systems without a livestock grazing rotation. 

Pérez-Gutiérrez, J. D., & Kumar, S. (2019). Simulating the influence of integrated crop-livestock systems on water yield at watershed scale. Journal of Environmental Management, 239, 385–394. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.03.068

 

 

 

 

Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems

2018 Michigan State University study in Agricultural Systems finds 1.5 metric tons of carbon per acre per year drawdown via adaptive multi-paddock grazing, more than enough to offset all greenhouse gas emissions associated with the beef finishing phase.

Stanley, P. L., Rowntree, J. E., Beede, D. K., DeLonge, M. S., & Hamm, M. W. (2018). Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems. Agricultural Systems, 162, 249-258. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2018.02.003

The effect of Holistic Planned Grazing™ on African rangelands: a case study from Zimbabwe

2018 paper in African Journal of Range & Forage Science finds positive long-term effects on ecosystem services (soils and vegetation) for Holistic Planned Grazing (HPG) and shows this approach enhancing the sustainability of livestock and wildlife.

Peel, M., & Stalmans, M. (2018). The effect of Holistic Planned Grazing™ on African rangelands: a case study from Zimbabwe. African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 35(1), 23-31. doi:10.2989/10220119.2018.1440630 https://doi.org/10.2989/10220119.2018.1440630

Enhancing soil organic carbon, particulate organic carbon and microbial biomass in semi-arid rangeland using pasture enclosures

2018 study in BMC Ecology demonstrates that controlling livestock grazing through the establishment of pasture enclosures is the key strategy for enhancing multiple ecological indicators including total soil organic carbon, and that “the establishment of enclosures is an effective restoration approach to restore degraded soils in semi-arid rangelands.” Other improved indicators include particulate organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, and microbial biomass nitrogen. 

Oduor, C.O., Karanja, N.K., Onwonga, R.N. et al. Enhancing soil organic carbon, particulate organic carbon and microbial biomass in semi-arid rangeland using pasture enclosures. BMC Ecol 18, 45 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12898-018-0202-z

Grasslands may be more reliable carbon sinks than forests in California

2018 paper in Environmental Research Letters finds that California grasslands are a more resilient carbon sink than forests in response to 21st century changes in climate. The paper also notes that, in data compilations, herbivory has been shown to increase grassland C sequestration rates.

Dass, P., Houlton, B. Z., Wang, Y., & Warlind, D. (2018). Grasslands may be more reliable carbon sinks than forests in California. Environmental Research Letters, 13(7), 074027. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aacb39

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aacb39

 

The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in North America

2016 Texas A&M study in Journal of Soil and Water Conservation finds 1.2 metric tons of carbon per acre per year drawdown via adaptive multi-paddock grazing and the drawdown potential of North American pasturelands is 800 million metric tons of carbon per year. 

Teague, W. R., Apfelbaum, S., Lal, R., Kreuter, U. P., Rowntree, J., Davies, C. A., R. Conser, M. Rasmussen, J. Hatfield, T. Wang, F. Wang, Byck, P. (2016). The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in North America. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 71(2), 156-164. doi:10.2489/jswc.71.2.156 http://www.jswconline.org/content/71/2/156.full.pdf+html

 

 

 

Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America

2016 paper in Journal on Food, Agriculture & Society finds that where soil carbon sequestration is included in a life cycle assessment of Midwest grass-finished beef production systems, such systems can be overall carbon sinks.

Rowntree, J., Ryals, R., Delonge, M., Teague, R. W., Chiavegato, M., Byck, P., . . . Xu, S. (2016). Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America. Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture & Society, 4(3), 8. https://asu.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/potential-mitigation-of-midwest-grass-finished-beef-production-em

Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter

2015 University of Georgia study in Nature Communications finds 3 metric tons of carbon per acre per year drawdown following a conversion from row cropping to regenerative grazing.

Machmuller, M. B., Kramer, M. G., Cyle, T. K., Hill, N., Hancock, D., & Thompson, A. (2015). Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter. Nature Communications, 6, 6995. doi:10.1038/ncomms7995 https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms7995

 

 

 

 

GHG Mitigation Potential of Different Grazing Strategies in the United States Southern Great Plain

2015 paper in Sustainability finds that a conversion from heavy continuous to multi-paddock grazing on cow-calf farms in the US southern Great Plains can result in a carbon sequestration rate in soil of 2 tonnes per hectare per year or approximately 0.89 tonnes per acre per year. In a sensitivity analysis that accounts for farm animal emissions, this sequestration in soil is sufficient to make the farm a net carbon sink for decades.

Wang, T., Teague, W., Park, S., & Bevers, S. (2015). GHG Mitigation Potential of Different Grazing Strategies in the United States Southern Great Plains. Sustainability, 7(10), 13500. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/10/13500

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Cooling by Grassland Soils of the Geological Past and Near Future

2013 paper in Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences by University of Oregon Department of Geological Sciences professor Gregory J. Retallack shows the co-evolution of ruminants and grassland soils (mollisols) was essential for geologic cooling of the past 20 million years – leading to the conditions suitable for human evolution – and can be an instrumental part of the necessary cooling in the future to reverse global warming.

Retallack, G. (2013). Global Cooling by Grassland Soils of the Geological Past and Near Future (Vol. 41, pp. 69–86): Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-earth-050212-124001

Sustainability of holistic and conventional cattle ranching in the seasonally dry tropics of Chiapas, Mexico

2013 study in Agricultural Systems finds practitioners of Holistic Management in the dry tropics region of Chiapas, Mexico have denser grass, deeper topsoil, and more earthworms in their pastures than conventional graziers, and that “Holistic management is leading to greater ecological and economic sustainability.”

Ferguson, B. G., Diemont, S. A. W., Alfaro-Arguello, R., Martin, J. F., Nahed-Toral, J., Álvarez-Solís, D., & Pinto-Ruíz, R. (2013). Sustainability of holistic and conventional cattle ranching in the seasonally dry tropics of Chiapas, Mexico. Agricultural Systems, 120, 38-48. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2013.05.005

Tall Fescue Management in the Piedmont: Sequestration of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen

2012 study in Soil Science Society of America Journal demonstrates improved grazing management systems can have an enormous benefit on surface soil fertility restoration of degraded soils in the southeastern United States, and managed grazing can sequester 1.5 metric tons of carbon per hectare per year.

Franzluebbers, A. J., D. M. Endale, J. S. Buyer, and J. A. Stuedemann. 2012. Tall Fescue Management in the Piedmont: Sequestration of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 76:1016-1026. doi:10.2136/sssaj2011.0347 

Effect of grazing on soil-water content in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho

2011 paper in Journal of Arid Environments finds simulated holistic planned grazing (SHPG) had significantly higher percent volumetric-water content (%VWC) after two years of comparison with similar ranch plots using rest-rotation (RESTROT), and total rest (TREST) systems in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho. Measured percent volumetric-water content were 45.8 for SHPG and 34.7 and 29.8 for RESTROT and TREST, respectively.

Weber, K. T., & Gokhale, B. S. (2011). Effect of grazing on soil-water content in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho. Journal of Arid Environments, 75(5), 464-470. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.12.009

 

 

Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie

2011 paper in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment demonstrates multi-paddock grazing of the type recommended by Allan Savory, and representative of Holistic Management, led to improved soil health indicators including higher bulk density, greater infiltration rate, and increased fungal/bacterial ratios when compared with continuous single-paddock grazing, typical of conventional practice. Soil organic matter averaged 3.61% in the multi-paddock ranches, compared to 2.4% for heavy continuous, single-paddock grazing.

Teague, W. R., Dowhower, S. L., Baker, S. A., Haile, N., DeLaune, P. B., & Conover, D. M. (2011). Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 141(3–4), 310-322. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2011.03.009

Benefits of multi-paddock grazing management on rangelands: Limitations of experimental grazing research and knowledge gaps

2008 chapter in “Grasslands: Ecology, Management, and Restoration,” published by H. G. Schroder, finds in a comprehensive literature review that multi-paddock rotational grazing produces superior results for grassland ecology when compared to conventional continuous grazing. It also finds that misunderstandings exist in the management techniques needed to achieve these benefits and in the scientific protocols required to assess them. 

Teague, W. R., Provenza, F., Norton, B., Steffens, T., Barnes, M., Kothmann, M. M., & Roath, R. (2008). Benefits of multi-paddock grazing management on rangelands: Limitations of experimental grazing research and knowledge gaps. In H. G. Schroder (Ed.), Grasslands: Ecology, Management, and Restoration (pp. 41-80): Nova Science Publishers, NY. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285918973_Benefits_of_multi-paddock_grazing_management_on_rangelands_Limitations_of_experimental_grazing_research_and_knowledge_gaps

 

En Guanajuato encontramos un rancho regenerativo con la mejor carne orgánica

El consumo de productos orgánicos aumenta de manera paulatina en el mundo, y es que cada vez son más las personas que se preocupan por consumir carne, leche y huevos libres de hormonas y de cualquier aditivo químico, porque saben los beneficios que esto traerá a su salud a corto y largo plazo.

De acuerdo con la Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural, México ocupa el tercer lugar en el rankin mundial de productores orgánicos calificados, con más de 38 mil en la lista, que cumplen con la Ley de productos Orgánicos, y de ellos, el 86% son pequeños productores que cuentan con una superficie de hasta cinco hectáreas.

En cuestión de alimentos, se le denomina como orgánicos a aquellos “productos vegetales, animales o derivados, que se cultivan o crían con sustancias naturales sin utilizar plaguicidas ni fertilizantes artificiales, entre otros químicos”, señala dicha dependencia.

Paraíso natural

En Guanajuato, en San Miguel de Allende, se encuentra el rancho Cañada de la Virgen, donde el ganado vacuno es alimentado de forma natural, con pastizales, lo que ocasiona que el ganado se desarrolle libre de cualquier aditivo químico, y que su carne sea totalmente saludable.

CONTINUE LEYENDO EN EL UNIVERSAL

Uruguay avanza a una ganadería aún “más verde”

Cerca del 75% de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) en Uruguay responden al sector agropecuario y dentro del mismo, el ganadero vacuno, es responsable del 62% del total de emisiones. Si a esto se le suma la situación del cambio climático y el incremento en las opiniones negativas sobre el consumo de carnes rojas, hace que este sector sea estratégico para comenzar acciones de mitigación.

La economía uruguaya depende en gran medida de sus exportaciones de carne, sobre todo vacuna.

Según datos del Instituto Nacional de Carnes (INAC), en 2019 se faenaron más de 2,2 millones de bovinos, se exportaron más de 330 mil toneladas de carne de esta especie a un valor que superó los US$ 1,8 mil millones. Por lo tanto, Uruguay, un país en donde hay cuatro vacas por persona, tiene trabajar para cambiar la imagen que la ganadería tiene en el mundo. Y así lo está haciendo.

El proyecto Producción Ganadera climáticamente Inteligente y Restauración del Suelo en Pastizales Uruguayos, o Ganadería y Clima, plantea contribuir a enfrentar los desafíos del sector ganadero a través de un enfoque integral que abarca la mejora de la productividad y la sostenibilidad de los establecimientos ganaderos del país.

CONTINUE LEYENDO EN EL PAIS RURALES

 

 

Pastoreo regenerativo: aumento de la producción, resiliencia de la biodiversidad, ingresos y una solución al cambio climático

Alrededor del 68% de las tierras agrícolas del mundo (3,2 mil millones de hectáreas en comparación con 1,6 mil millones de hectáreas de tierras de cultivo) se utilizan para el pastoreo. La mayoría de estos paisajes no son aptos para el cultivo, sin embargo, son hogar para más de mil millones de personas que dependen del ganado que los pasta para su sustento. Estas áreas son a menudo algunas de las tierras más degradadas del planeta debido a la deforestación y a las prácticas inapropiadas de pastoreo.

Imagen cortesía de Richard Teague

La buena noticia es que hay una variedad de sistemas de pastoreo que han demostrado que regeneran estos ecosistemas, aumentando la cobertura del suelo, la biodiversidad, la materia orgánica del suelo, la capacidad de retención de agua y la capacidad de producción.

Pastoreo adaptativo multi-parcelas (AMP)

Uno de los métodos más exitosos para manejar las malezas y mejorar la productividad de los pastos es el pastoreo adaptativo de multi-parcelas (AMP). En muchos de los sistemas de pastoreo actuales, los animales no se mueven por diferentes pastizales y pasturas y esto causa el sobrepastoreo, ya que los animales se comen las especies que prefieren continuamente, incluso arrancándolas de raíz. Este sobrepastoreo elimina los pastos más nutritivos y permite que proliferen las malas hierbas y las especies invasoras. Existe una gran cantidad de  sistemas de pastoreo que permiten que el ganado paste en exceso, dejando un suelo desnudo y expuesto que termina siendo erosionado por el viento y el agua. Gran parte de la degradación ambiental en las zonas áridas y semiáridas (que actualmente comprenden el 40% de las tierras del mundo) se debe a prácticas de pastoreo degenerativas.

Mediante el sistema AMP se rota una gran cantidad de ganado por potreros más pequeños o se delimitan áreas de pastoreo por períodos cortos, lo que los obliga a pastar absolutamente todas las plantas comestibles. El estar en masa (pastoreo en turba) obliga al ganado a comer todas las plantas comestibles, no solo sus especies preferidas, lo que resulta en un uso más eficiente del pasto.

La mayor densidad de población también asegura que las malas hierbas sean aplastadas y pisoteadas y que el estiércol sea pisoteado y esparcido por el suelo, actuando como fertilizante. Luego, los animales se trasladan a otro pastizal o potrero y se repite el proceso. Hay una rotación continua de pastoreo controlado en diferentes potreros, y los animales solo regresan al pastizal original cuando la hierba y la cubierta vegetal han vuelto a crecer.

La clave de los sistemas AMP son los períodos cortos e intensos de pastoreo que garantizan que los animales se coman menos del 50% del forraje disponible. Esto significa que la cobertura vegetal del suelo no formará muchas raíces y, en consecuencia, se recuperarán más rápidamente. La investigación muestra que estos sistemas producen mucho más alimento por hectárea, hacen un uso más eficiente de la lluvia y mejoran significativamente la salud y fertilidad del suelo. Las granjas administradas con sistemas AMP pueden tener más ganado por hectárea que aquellas con sistemas de ganado fijos. 

Imagen cortesía de Christine Jones y Acres USA

Traducción imagen:

  • Uso del 50%: las raíces no dejan de crecer cuando se elimina el 50% de la planta.
  • Uso del 70%: con el 70% de la planta eliminado, el 50% de las raíces dejan de crecer por 17 días.
  • Uso del 90%: con el 90% de la planta eliminado, el 100% de las raíces dejan de crecer por 17 días.

 

Otro beneficio muy importante de estos sistemas rotativos es un mejor control de los parásitos internos. Es importante comenzar con el ganado limpio. La mayoría de los animales se infectan por los huevos de los parásitos presentes en el suelo desnudo. Al asegurarse de que el ganado nunca se coma más del 50% del área foliar, los ganaderos pueden evitar que la boca del ganado entre en contacto con los huevos de los parásitos. La otra técnica de gestión importante es conocer la duración del ciclo de vida de los

Imagen cortesía de Richard Teague

parásitos y no devolver el ganado a un potrero hasta que finalice su ciclo de vida. En algunos casos, esto requerirá un período de hasta tres ciclos de vida para garantizar que el potrero esté limpio.

Los investigadores han demostrado que los sistemas donde el tiempo de pastoreo es administrado de manera adecuada no eliminarán una sola planta y aumentarán la biodiversidad de plantas, animales, insectos y microorganismos nativos en el ecosistema agrícola.

Algunos de los ejemplos más exitosos de AMP utilizan múltiples especies de animales en sucesión, como el ganado de pastoreo seguido de ovejas y aves de corral, ya que cada una tenderá a comer especies diferentes.

Pastoreo AMP con ovejas (cortesía de Google Fotos).

El pastoreo rotativo también se está utilizando con muchas especies de aves de corral tanto para huevos como para carne. Incluir el pastoreo de pollos después del ganado es una excelente manera de esparcir el estiércol del ganado y de reducir las plagas y las malas hierbas, ya que los pollos se comen los insectos y las semillas de las malas hierbas. Los gansos también pueden ser muy útiles para controlar las malas hierbas. Se puede entrenar a los gansos chinos jóvenes para que coman malezas específicas dándoles estas malezas a los pichones cuando son muy jóvenes. Desarrollan el gusto por estas malas hierbas y se convierten en su forraje preferido. Los gansos los buscarán activamente y se los comerán por completo.

 

Pastoreo AMP con aves de corral jóvenes (cortesía de Google Fotos).

La evidencia publicada muestra que los pastos administrados correctamente pueden acumular materia orgánica del suelo más rápido que muchos otros sistemas agrícolas, y este carbono se almacena más profundamente en el suelo.

La investigación de Machmuller et al muestra que las prácticas de pastoreo regenerativo pueden regenerar el suelo y la cobertura del suelo en tres años. Los ranchos analizados aumentaron su capacidad de intercambio de cationes (disponibilidad de nutrientes) en un 95% y aumentaron su capacidad de retención de agua en un 34%.

Estos sistemas de pastoreo son algunas de las mejores formas de aumentar los niveles de materia orgánica del suelo. Machmuller et al señalaron que secuestraron 29.360 kg de CO2 por hectárea por año. Se trata de una enorme cantidad de dióxido de carbono que se extrae del aire mediante la fotosíntesis y se convierte en materia orgánica para alimentar el microbioma del suelo. Varios estudios muestran que la cantidad de CO2 secuestrado de la atmósfera es mayor que las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero de los sistemas ganaderos, lo que demuestra que aumentar el pastoreo regenerativo puede ayudar a revertir el cambio climático. Hay varios proyectos de créditos de carbono del suelo que están pagando a los agricultores y ganaderos por aumentar los niveles de materia orgánica del suelo.

El pastoreo regenerativo puede convertir la producción ganadera de ser uno de los principales contribuyentes al cambio climático a una de las mayores soluciones al cambio climático.

Hay muchas organizaciones agrícolas y de investigación involucradas en la ampliación de los sistemas de pastoreo regenerativo en todos los continentes cultivables. En la actualidad existe un corpus considerable de prácticas científicas y basadas en  evidencia que muestran que estos sistemas regeneran tierras degradadas y aumentan la diversidad de especies de pastos, mejorando así la productividad, la capacidad de retención de agua y los niveles de materia orgánica del suelo. Existen numerosos libros, sitios web, grupos sociales en línea y organizaciones excelentes que pueden proporcionar información detallada sobre los sistemas más eficaces.

Enlaces a algunos recursos:

Regeneration International y Regeneración Internacional (español)

https://www.facebook.com/regenerationinternational/

https://www.facebook.com/regeneracioninternacional (español)

Libros

Acres USA es una tienda en línea de libros muy buena especializada en agricultura regenerativa 

Chelsea Green Publishers es una excelente editorial de libros sobre alimentos y agricultura regenerativos y orgánicos.

Chelsea Green publicó el libro de Ronnie Cummins del 2020 sobre los alimentos y la agricultura regenerativos y orgánicos como solución al cambio climático: Grassroots Rising: A Call to Acion on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal.

Instructores / consultores profesionales 

Hubs Savory

Grupos de facebook – hay muchos más que estos- busque grupos en su área 

En español:

Agricultura Regenerativa

Permacultura

Manejo Holístico Argentina

Biodiversidad en América Latina y El Caribe

En inglés:

Soils4Climate

Regenerative Agriculture Group

Regenerative Agriculture to Reverse Global Warming

Soils For Life

Innovation in Agriculture

 

Andre Leu es el Director Internacional de Regeneration International

Ronnie Cummins es cofundador de Organic Consumers Association (OCA) y Regeneration International

Para suscribirse al boletín de RI haga clic aquí.

 

Regenerative Grazing – Increased Production, Biodiversity Resilience, Profits and a Climate Change Solution

Leer en español aquí

 

Picture courtesy of Richard Teague

Around 68 percent of the world’s agricultural lands (eight billion acres as compared to four billion acres of croplands) are used for grazing. The majority of these landscapes are unsuitable for cropping. They are home to over a billion people who are dependent on the livestock that graze on them for their living.  These landscapes are often some of most degraded lands on the planet due to deforestation and inappropriate grazing practices.

The good news is that there are a range of grazing systems that are proven to regenerate these ecosystems, increasing ground covers, biodiversity, soil organic matter, water holding capacity, and production outcomes.

Adaptive Multi-paddock (AMP) Grazing

One of the most successful methods of managing weeds and improving the productivity of pastures is called adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing. In many of the current grazing systems, where the animals are not rotated across pastures and rangelands, the animals tend to overgraze on the species that they prefer and continuously eat them all the way down to the ground, even pulling them out by the roots. This devastates the most nutritious grasses and allows weeds and invasive species to proliferate. Too many grazing systems allow the stock to overgraze, leaving bare, exposed soil that ends up being eroded by wind and water. Much of the environmental degradation in arid and semi-arid areas (which currently comprise 40% of the Earth’s lands) is due to degenerative grazing practices.

AMP rotates a large number of livestock across smaller paddocks or delineating grazing areas for short periods, forcing them to thoroughly graze all the edible plants. Being massed together (mob grazing) forces the livestock to eat all the edible plants, not just their preferred species, resulting in a more efficient use of the pasture.

The higher stock density also ensures that weeds are crushed and trampled and that the manure is kicked and scattered across the ground, fertilizing the soil. The animals are then moved to another pasture or paddock and the process is repeated. There is a continuous rotation of controlled grazing in different pastures, and animals only return to the original paddock when the grasses and groundcover has regrown.

The key to AMP systems is intense, short periods of grazing that ensure that fewer than 50 percent of the available forage is eaten. This means that ground covers will not shed too many roots and will consequently recover more quickly. Research shows that these systems produce much more feed per hectare, are better at efficiently using rainfall, and significantly improve soil health and fertility. Farms managed with AMP systems can carry more stock per acre than those with fixed stocking systems.

Picture Courtesy of Christine Jones and Acres USA

Another very important benefit of these rotational systems is better control of internal parasites. Starting with clean stock is important. Most stock get infected from the eggs of the parasites in the bare soil. By always ensuring that less that 50 percent the leaf area is eaten, ranchers can prevent the mouths of livestock from being in contact with the eggs of the parasites. The other important management technique is to know the length of the lifecycle of the parasites and to not return the stock to a

Picture courtesy of Richard Teague

paddock/cell until the life cycle has finished. In some cases this will require a period of up to three life cycles to ensure that the paddock /cell is clean.

Researchers have demonstrated that the appropriate time-managed grazing systems will not kill a single plant and will increase the biodiversity of native plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms in the farm ecosystem.

Some of the most successful examples of AMP use multiple species in succession, such as grazing cattle followed by sheep followed by poultry, as each will tend to eat different species.

AMP grazing with sheep (courtesy of Google Photos).

Rotational grazing is also being use with many poultry species for both eggs and meat. Following cattle with chickens is a great way to spread cattle manure and to reduce pests and weeds, since chickens eat the bugs and weed seeds. Geese can also be very useful in managing weeds. Young Chinese geese can be trained to eat specific weeds by feeding these weeds to goslings when they are very young. They develop a taste for these weeds and they become their preferred forage. The geese will actively seek them out and graze them down.

 

AMP grazing with young poultry (courtesy of Google Photos).

The published evidence shows that correctly managed pastures can build up soil organic matter faster than many other agricultural systems, and this carbon is stored deeper in the soil.

Research by Machmuller and and others show that regenerative grazing practices can regenerate soil and ground covers in three years. The ranches studied increased their cation exchange capacity (nutrient availability) by 95 percent and increased their water holding capacity by 34 percent.

These grazing systems are some of the best ways to increase soil organic matter levels. Machmuller et al. noted that they sequestered 29,360 kg of COper hectare per year. This is an enormous amount of carbon dioxide being taken out of the air by photosynthesis and converted into organic matter to feed the soil microbiome.  Several studies show that the amount of CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere is greater than greenhouse gas emissions from livestock systems showing that scaling up regenerative grazing can help to reverse climate change. There are several soil carbon credit schemes that are paying farmers and ranchers for increasing soil organic matter levels.

Regenerative grazing can turn livestock production from being one of the major contributors to climate change into one of the largest solutions to climate change.

There are many farming and research organizations involved in scaling up regenerative grazing systems on every arable continent. There is now a considerable body of published science and evidence-based practices showing that these systems regenerate degraded lands and increase pasture species diversity thereby improving productivity, water holding capacity, and soil organic matter levels. There are numerous excellent books, websites, online social groups, and organizations that can provide detailed information on the most effective systems.

Some of the resource links are provided below

Regeneration International

https://www.facebook.com/regenerationinternational/

Books

Acres USA is a great online bookstore for Regenerative Agriculture

Another excellent publisher of books on regenerative and organic food and farming is Chelsea Green Publishers.

Chelsea Green published Ronnie Cummins’ 2020 book on Regenerative and Organic food and farming as a solution to Climate Change: Grassroots Rising: A Call to Acion on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal.

Professional Trainers/Consultants

Savory Hubs

Facebook groups – there are many more than these – search to find local groups

Soils4Climate

Regenerative Agriculture Group

Regenerative Agriculture to Reverse Global Warming

Soils For Life

Innovation in Agriculture

Andre Leu is the International Director for Regeneration International. To sign up for RI’s email newsletter, click here.

Ronnie Cummins is co-founder of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and Regeneration International. To keep up with RI’s news and alerts, sign up here.

 

Ganadería regenerativa

En años recientes, la decisión de comer o no comer carne ha estado motivada por una serie de argumentos que tocan temas que van más allá de los aspectos nutritivos de este alimento. A quienes se abstienen porque les estimula saber que así contribuyen a reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero que genera la producción industrial de ganado, les tenemos buenas noticias: la ganadería sostenible logra regenerar los suelos y puede mitigar factores que contribuyen al cambio climático.

La ganadería extensiva, la que trabaja con animales a libre pastoreo y ocupa grandes superficies, es posiblemente la actividad productiva que más ha modificado y devastado los ecosistemas naturales de nuestro país. Actualmente alrededor de 30 millones de cabezas deambulan en una extensión equivalente a más de la mitad del territorio nacional.1 Los animales pastan libremente seleccionando lo que más les gusta, reduciendo así la diversidad vegetal, compactando y “asfixiando” los suelos que se erosionan con las lluvias.

CONTINUE LEYENDO EN NEXOS

Una manera diferente de gestionar la tierra: que las vacas la apisonen

CANADIAN, Texas — Adam Isaacs estaba de pie al lado de su ganado en un viejo pastizal que durante años había tenido un pastoreo excesivo. Ahora, era un revoltijo de maleza.

“La mayoría de la gente quisiera venir y empezar a rociar herbicidas”, afirmó. “Mi familia solía hacerlo… y no funciona”.

En cambio, Isaacs, un ganadero perteneciente a la cuarta generación de estas tierras onduladas ubicadas en la franja noreste de Texas, pondrá a trabajar a sus animales en el pastizal mediante el uso de una cerca portátil electrificada con la que los confina en un área pequeña para que apisonen la maleza mientras pastan.

“Hacemos que el ganado pisotee mucho pastizal”, comentó. Eso incorpora materia orgánica al suelo y lo expone al oxígeno, cosa que ayuda a que se llene de hierbas y otras plantas útiles. A la larga, el pastizal volverá a estar saludable, gracias a un manejo esmerado y continuo del pastoreo.

CONTINUE LEYENDO EN INFOBAE

A Different Kind of Land Management: Let the Cows Stomp

Leer en español aquí

CANADIAN, Texas — Adam Isaacs stood surrounded by cattle in an old pasture that had been overgrazed for years. Now it was a jumble of weeds.

“Most people would want to get out here and start spraying it” with herbicides, he said. “My family used to do that. It doesn’t work.”

Instead, Mr. Isaacs, a fourth-generation rancher on this rolling land in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle, will put his animals to work on the pasture, using portable electrified fencing to confine them to a small area so that they can’t help but trample some of the weeds as they graze.

“We let cattle stomp a lot of the stuff down,” he said. That adds organic matter to the soil and exposes it to oxygen, which will help grasses and other more desirable plants take over. Eventually, through continued careful management of grazing, the pasture will be healthy again.

KEEP READING ON NEW YORK TIMES

How Regenerative Ag and Strip Grazing Improves Soil Health

Ray Archuleta talks about three basic concepts for soil health during an Illinois Conservation Cropping Seminar.

  • One: The soil is alive.

A living plant is one of the most powerful tools on the farm. Plants and microbes feed the soil ecosystem and improve the quality of life.

  • Two: Everything is connected.

If it isn’t understood how the soil, inputs, crops, and management practices are connected, then harm can come from using tools incorrectly.

  • Three: The goal is to emulate nature (or “biomimicry”).

While efficiency has been a No. 1 priority, now it is known that the best approach is to mimic the natural system.

Archuleta says while these seem simple, the most challenging obstacle to overcome when adopting these three concepts is your mind-set.

“Thanks to the years of information we gained from our schools, our grandparents, and from our local community, our mind-set is the most difficult thing to change on the farm. The soil is easy to fix. Our mind-set is not,” he says.

KEEP READING ON SUCCESSFUL FARMING

Livestock’s Role in a Changing Climate

Edward Bork’s research surrounding how livestock grazing affects soil carbon has made him a believer in the beneficial role cattle can potentially play in a changing climate.

“Because their grazing contributes to the concentration of carbon in the soil – a helpful process – livestock can be a tool to help reduce atmospheric carbon and thus mitigate climate change,” says Bork, director of the Rangeland Research Institute, University of Alberta.

Cattle critics say otherwise, calling for decreases in numbers or even elimination of ruminants as a means of reducing the greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. They point to the methane cattle emit as a key polluter of the atmosphere. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that ruminants put out as part of their digestive process.

Bork calls for a balanced view, one that weighs the drawbacks against the benefits.

“Pointing the finger at methane emissions of livestock is a convenient excuse people use,” he says. “It’s a red herring to claim that cattle are destroying the planet and ignores the fact that these grasslands evolved with grazing – and even depend on it to exist.

KEEP READING ON SUCCESSFUL FARMING