I have been always emphasizing giving livestock grazing a chance to heal our ecosystems back to the sustainable, healthy, and protected status. I strongly believe that Nature created animals (millennia of evolution) to perform a role, yes a role – “to serve the Ecosystems”.
We all are the actors/players of the ecosystems, including fauna and flora, microorganisms, and nonliving things like water, winds, landscapes, etc. We as a team of players can keep our ecosystems in a good state of health and functionality. An ecosystem is livable but if it slowers or statics in functionality, life becomes difficult and unhealthy leading to the sickness of Mother Earth. When we pull back the role of a player (like grazing of livestock in some ecosystems), the functionality of the others is affected negatively.https://arkbiodiv.com/2021/07/06/give-the-livestock-its-original-role-the-grazing-and-recover-the-losses/amp/
My friend Christina Adams, the author of an interesting book ‘CAMEL CRAZY’ shares the story of a goat project supporting my philosophy ‘GIVING THE LIVESTOCK A CHANCE TO HEAL OUR ECOSYSTEMS‘, grazing in Laguna Beach, California USA. I really appreciate the role of Christina Adams in advocating the natural and extensive livestock production systems all over the world. She has traveled a lot and met the livestock keepers in different corners of the world. https://christinaadamsauthor.com/bio/
Each year, Peruvian goats visit Laguna Beach to eat away the fuel source for any potential fire. They do a fantastic job too, mowing the canyon hills bare one section at a time. Walk along the fire access roads between MOULTON MEADOWS and TOP OF THE WORLD Parks and you might see the goats hard at work.
The Importance of Livestock Grazing has Started Realization
The importance of livestock grazing has been realized more than before as there are many fire incidents in 2020 and this year 2021, the number of fire incidents is incredibly more than before. In the link below you can read some of the losses mentioned from the fire in California, which are heart-wrenching. https://twitter.com/i/events/1420765678718439430?s=12. We can see the sky-touching flames on television screens in Turkey, Canada, the USA, Russia, and some southern European countries. The residents in Athens are warned to stay indoors as the air quality is too bad because of the smoke of fires. In most of the cases, the fires erupted in the regions where livestock grazing was restricted and the piled-up dry grasses and bushes worked as petrol bombs. Therefore, I appeal again and again to please allow livestock grazing in the regions where it was restricted. The ecosystems are not for (poorly defined beauty) tourist attractions but a functional mechanism of Mother Earth to sustain health and productivity. https://arkbiodiv.com/2021/07/06/give-the-livestock-its-original-role-the-grazing-and-recover-the-losses/amp/
Christina Adams says “I enjoy seeing pastoral animals and a herder here in a town only one hour south of Los Angeles. It reminds me of how important pastoral people are even that close to a major world city“. Christina Adams often climbs the paths in the hills of Laguna Beach and sees the goatherd in his trailer because he stays near the flock. They are In different parts of Laguna and he moves his trailer home with them.
She says that “Children love seeing the goats. They don’t see livestock often here so it’s a treat for them and all of us. This way the project makes a strong connection between the goats and human beings.
Livestock is not a problem but a solution. We should reconsider its role and realized its importance in ecosystem services. We should advocate the ecosystem service of the livestock and be aware the people about the role of livestock other than food production. Livestock grazing not only minimise the risk of fire hazards but also enrich soil fertility and revitalize the ecosystems.
Nature created animals (millennia of evolution) to perform a role, yes a role – “to serve the Ecosystems”. We all are the actors/players of the ecosystems, including fauna and flora, microorganisms, and nonliving things like water, winds, landscapes, etc. We as a team of players can keep our ecosystems in a good state of health and functionality. The ecosystem is a functional phenomenon, it is functioning/working on a regular basis. An ecosystem is livable but if it slowers or statics in functionality, life becomes difficult and unhealthy leading to the sickness of Mother Earth. When we pull back the role of a player (like grazing of livestock in some ecosystems), the functionality of the others is affected negatively.
Restricting Livestock’s role Indirectly Helps in Excessive use of Weedicides and Pesticides
Unfortunately, so-called modern education (mostly emerged from the western universities) poorly conceptualized the health and wellbeing of the ecosystems which lead to the catastrophic situation like now. Such a mindset motivated the policymakers to restrict/ban livestock grazing and switched off the natural way of weeds control which usually resulting in fire hazards and other complications. The very wrong decision was the removal of livestock from the forests and other important niches which lead to a very negative change in the normal composition of the ecosystems. https://arkbiodiv.com/2012/05/03/world-donkey-day-may-8/amp/.
Turning Weeds into Asset
Livestock also plays a crucial role in farming to ingest the weeds/herbs converting them into quality food items and valuable farmyard manure (a true farming agent). Otherwise, such weeds get rouge, increase in number (increasers), and ultimately unable to control. The giant pesticides companies then walk in to sell their chemicals which adversely affect the farmlands and the precious weeds (herbal value) goes waste without consuming by livestock and converting into quality food. Also, grazing minimizes the intensity of the pests (breaking the lifecycle) and gives better opportunities for healthier and productive farming. The ingestion of floral diversity provides a wider range of nutrients to a diverse microbiome in livestock’s gut. The gut microbiome has a very direct link with livestock health and its products.
Farming is not Caging and Vice versa
The majority of us look at the ecosystems in a very different way and from a very wrong angle. The concept of eco-health (ecosystems health) is misunderstood especially in the last 3 – 4 decades. The films, stories, and fiction visualizing the ecosystem as a beauty where one can see beautiful plants with some wild animals and insects but void of grazing animals/livestock. Such a scene is made very attractive and appealing to the people. The people mind has been made to think about the beauty and forget to how we make and produce our food. we think that food production is the responsibility of some companies and factory farming but the real need is that each individual has the responsibility to be a producer not merely a consumer and the food systems must have a very positive impact on the health of the ecosystem. Caging the livestock and controlling their feeding system is not a wise way of livestock farming. Gagging is not farming but a punishment to the precious livestock to produce in unhealthy and uncomfortable environments.
The Dry matter or Petrol Bomb?
When not grazed by livestock, the ecosystem becomes thick and congested with dry matters (mostly dry grasses and bushes). The dry matter accumulated and piles on piles and make a heap of fire-catching substance and act as a patrol bomb, causing havoc fires. Livestock especially sheep, goats, donkeys, and camels eat such dry roughages and minimize the chance of fire. The author visited a forest in Frankfurt Germany where donkeys were given a role to control blackberries bushes as they hide the soil and the pinus seeds could not germinate. The results were so appealing and many pinus plants could be seen after the area was grazed by donkeys.
Livestock Return Soil Fertility
Livestock is not a consumer only but a convertor, converting flora biosphere in the rich farmyard manure and return the nutrients and undigestible fiber back to the soil. The manure helps in the improvement of soil texture, water retention ability, microbiome richness to enhance fertility and improve moisture retention in the soil. Also, livestock manure provides a very rich culture to the soil microbiome, which indirectly helps in decomposing the plants’ residues.
Livestock Functions as a Seed Bee
Livestock is an agent of floral biodiversity dispersal in a wide range of ecosystems such a role in its original task which nature has given to the animals. Some seeds have wings, and the others have hair and fly with the wind and reach too far and wide places but some seeds are smooth, rounded, and heavy with a stronger coat which needs to be soaked and moistened in the livestock gut and disperse in a wide range. Some plant pods are only seen by the local breeds, if not consumed, is hard to germinate next year. The nomads’ sheep have thicker lips and they cannot ingest them (a shepherd told me in Zhob). Some seeds really need to be consumed by animals, soaked, and pass through the GIT. Such seeds cannot be germinated otherwise. This apparently small but very important role has a very huge impact on the floral biodiversity composition of an ecosystem.
Grazing Provides Opportunity for Insitute conservation
Livestock is the future. Forget about the vegans’ stories. Livestock serves humanity in many ways, they play pivotal and multipurpose roles. Livestock is not only for food, its role is multidimensional. We need to understand and admire its role before it is too late. We can introduce livestock again in those dense forests and protected areas to graze the vegetation and clarify the landscape. Such a model can be copied anywhere, where the livestock is not found at the moment and areas are declared as so-called protected zones. We can select the breeds of livestock that are decreasing in number, this way the breeds will be conserved insitu and will serve as an ecosystem agent as well. Such livestock will work as a food bucket and a backup of our food system. Wherever in the world, there is demand for any kind of livestock, the backup will be available in the forests and can be provided for future food security to the needy communities for breeding and farming.
Unearthing the deserts’ treasures
Dr. Raziq Kakar
Hello, dear world! I am an ethnoecologist and desert explorer. I love native livestock and camel and donkey the most. I do strongly believe that livestock grazing is the future for sustainable and eco-friendly food production systems. I educate people about the ecosystem’s functionality and livability. The earth is my home and nature is my room. You can find me and my views anywhere.
I have my own philosophy, protocol, and procedure of characterization, documentation, and reporting of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture (AnGR). I have documented my breeds of livestock which were never told before. I do believe that the camel is the food guarantee in the future under the climate change challenges. Camel4life international is an advocacy think tank advocating camel as a future food security animal. We convey our thoughts and messages through a website Camel was Originally Domesticated for Milk I authored world camel day and I’m very happy about my success as this day is now celebrated each year on 22nd June in different corners of the world. History of World Camel Day (22 June). Dr. Raziq Kakar also introduced the importance of another crucial desert creature, the donkey. The Story of World Donkey Day and World Donkey Day is the brainchild of Dr. Raziq Kakar Why the people forget the crucial role of livestock. The policymakers must give a chance to livestock. I’m pretty sure that livestock grazing minimizes the fire hazards as we witness mega-fires each year because of global warming.
Today, on the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I wanted to step back and reflect on the progress we have made collectively and through IFAD‘s work and also look at the challenges we are facing to further reduce poverty.
— Read on www.ifad.org/en/web/latest/blog/asset/41385382
key opportunities for livestock to contribute to the agroecological transition
Livestock is found in all agroecosystems and includes a diverse range of species and breeds raised in a variety of production systems.
Livestock play an important role in enhancing food security and nutrition of the public at large and the rural and urban poor in particular by providing access to nutrient dense food (meat, milk, and eggs)
Livestock is key to the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, particularly women, providing them with income, capital, fertilizer, fuel, draught power, fibers, and hides.
Agricultural productivity, income, and resilience can be increased by integrating livestock with other production system components such as trees and crop plants.
By eating fibrous feeds (e.g. grass and straw) and waste (e.g. swill), livestock makes use of biomass that humans cannot eat and increase natural resource use efficiency.
Animal mobility within and between agroecosystems and landscapes transfers nutrients, biomass and water in the form of animal manure, and moves people’s assets in times
of disasters such as floods or drought.
Manure is rich in nutrients and organic matter, which are key to the physical, chemical and biological properties of healthy soilsGood livestock management practices increase plant biodiversity in grasslands, which in turn enhances productivity, resilience, and other ecosystem services
Livestock are part of climate solutions, through reducing enteric methane emissions and deploying diverse livestock resources to increase resilience on farm