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Old 05-04-2019, 07:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Saving the world with 100 billion livestock?

I sure hope this thread goes better than the original one with a similar name!

YouTube has recommended different videos about people converting the desert into forests, although I do not remember any details until this video. One showed an old man in Africa that was doing this singlehandedly--along with a seemingly large number of followers. It just talked about him motivating and teaching them. The old ways were destroying the land. They needed to save it with new ways. As far as I could tell, he taught them to plant trees, and it showed his success, large areas with bare dirt except for good-sized trees.

Trees are great, Arizona does not have enough of them, although I doubt that we have the rainfall to support many, and, of course, there is far too much heat.

However, Arizona does not have much bare ground like they showed in Africa. We have all kinds of vegetation. I do not think that it is very attractive, but I vastly prefer it to bare dirt.

So, this old [South?] African said that when he was a young man he helped establish national parks. They got rid of the hunters and elephants flourished, but the soil deteriorated, so he decided that they had 40,000 excess elephants. The government shot forty thousand elephants, and the soil deteriorated further.

He explains how he came to the conclusion that herds of wild animals kept the soil healthy. They stomped on the vegetation, whatever good that does, but trimmed it, fertilized it, and apparently spread seeds. Without the herds, the government burned vast tracts of land, which kept the growth down, but released an atrocious amount of carbon dioxide.

He talked about a significant portion of the Earth's surface that cannot support crops and the only way to provide human food is with livestock.

I love it up here. We have trees and stuff, but it still is not especially green, and open areas are mostly brush and grass, with a decent number of big bushes.

I see dozens of grazing cattle every week. I know there are a number of farms up here, there are many farms in the Phoenix area, but the soil is garbage, although apparently the natural vegetation is enough to sustain livestock.



Curiously, as I scrolled through the comments, I saw people commending him, saying that we need more of this, etc. Nobody trolled "Cows burp a lot!" Nobody wrote "No! This is wrong! We need to save the world by..."

I honestly wanted to know the other side, but I did not see one.

Edit: A bit over eight minutes in he says that bare ground is colder at dawn and warmer at dusk than even just ground covered with litter. Desertification changes the microclimate and enough desertification changes the macroclimate.


Last edited by Xist; 05-04-2019 at 07:50 AM..
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This guy sold his share in Church's Chicken and retired to 5,500 acres of overgrazed land in Texas. He paid to have seven wells drilled 500 feet, but none of them produced any water. He planted grass all over, the soil absorbed water again, and the aquifers filled. Now there are a number of springs and everything is nice and green:

I was surprised when he said they cut down cedars in favor of grasses, but the someone commented the cedars were not native, but the grasses were. The cedars took too much water.
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Apparently Australia had laws that rivers and streamed should be cleared of obstacles, so the water could flow freely. This guy intentionally and repeatedly broke the law, proving that when water slows down, soil and plants can use it, improving everything. He argued that otherwise the rain flowed unhindered into the ocean. One thing he did was dam up streams and put in plants to make use of the water. Presumably, the water eventually flowed, so there did not seem to be any drawbacks.

Politicians and alleged experts insisted that his property was unique and the techniques would not work anywhere else.

This documentary shows clips of Peter Andres, but he had recently passed away.

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Old 05-04-2019, 08:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This guy says that 96% of old growth forests in the U.S. have been cut down and 98% of redwoods, the oldest and tallest trees, which can grow ten feet a year. He found the ten biggest stumps, collected clippings, and they have grown hundreds of seedlings from them, which they are planting in Oregon.

I sure thought that Oregon had plenty of trees, but they showed a field with only dead trees, so I guess there is almost always room for more trees.

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Old 05-04-2019, 08:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I finally found it. He uses an ancient technique called Zai where he digs holes, fills them with compost and fertilizer, and plants trees--during the dry season.

Were they not using compost and fertilizer? Another video gave that detail. They said the other farmers called him mad until they saw the results.

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Old 05-04-2019, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Xist View Post
I sure thought that Oregon had plenty of trees, but they showed a field with only dead trees, so I guess there is almost always room for more trees.
That depends on what part of Oregon you're looking at. Western Oregon, yes. Eastern Oregon is semi-desert, with trees on the mountains, sagebrush &c most everywhere else.
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Right. When I planned the drive from Arizona to Oregon when my sister moved I was extremely surprised with eastern Oregon.

Some mountains keep all of the nice weather on the coast?

They planted on the nice side. They said the rain and fog would be perfect for the redwoods.
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Old 05-04-2019, 04:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Some mountains keep all of the nice weather on the coast?
The Coast Range buffers the weather coming in off the Pacific. The good weather is in the Willamette Valley. The coast is not for everyone. Eastern Oregon is the same. The indigenous native called the Willamette the Valley of Sickness. It's all bad. Stay away.

What my parents called the Banana Belt, Coos Bay and on South, is hospitable to Redwoods. you won't see them in Tillamook. OTOH there are Palm trees in Eugene OR.

This is the third thread I've posted this in. I must like it.



That dry-land tree planting is an opportunity for Terra Preta. Also there's the Kirsten Dirksen video on dry-land farming.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I sure thought that Oregon had plenty of trees, but they showed a field with only dead trees, so I guess there is almost always room for more trees.
Most of the forests in Oregon are not natural. They are tree plantations owned by timber companies. Oregon has a replanting law that states you must replant timber land after you cut it. The "field" in the video has been clear cut and needs to be replanted.

(You can see the piles of small limbs in the background. Timber companies collect the tops and place them in piles to try to reduce fuel for wildfires)

If you look at an aerial view of Oregon forest you will see a patchwork of different age trees. The brown patches are recently cut.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Very timely. Just this morning I read about a success in Costa Rica with orange peels.

Orange is the new green: How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest

16 years after the orange peels were dumped on "degraded land"...
Quote:
“It was so completely overgrown with trees and vines that I couldn’t even see the 7-foot-long sign with bright yellow lettering marking the site that was only a few feet from the road,” Treuer said. “I knew we needed to come up with some really robust metrics to quantify exactly what was happening and to back up this eye-test, which was showing up at this place and realizing visually how stunning the difference was between fertilized and unfertilized areas.”
The area to the right of the road had waste orange peels dumped on it:


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