Not only food but also the ecosystem management – The camel is a player in the desert


Livestock and the Symbiotic Relationship

Livestock grazing plays a pivotal role in ecosystem revitalization and management. A strong symbiotic relationship exists between all players in the ecosystem and livestock is one of the most important players. Here I’m showing you (video with a youtube link) how the camels give life to the desert’s flora. Camels inject a unique microbiome into the desert’s plants while browsing which gives strength, vigor, and resilience to the flora. Here is the link to a video, please watch it and give your feedback.

The camels browsing on the deserts’ flora early in the morning in UAE.

It is a hazy and dusty morning in the United Arab Emirates. The camels are browsing the sparsely available vegetation of the desert. They are happy and eat the beautiful and nutritious bush of Tribulus, the yellow flowers, and the green twigs. The camel eats the plants and injects super and unique microorganisms into the plants to revitalize their health. The camel converts the intake into manure, giving food to the soil’s microbiome. In return, the microbiome synthesizes simple food for the flora rhizospheres, and the roots reabsorb the simple nutrients from the rhizosphere.

The grazing lands have stronger flora than the restricted area

I have my personal experience, the region which is grazing restricted has very poor and unthrifty shrubs but the open grazing areas have very strong, well-adapted, and healthy flora. For so long, we had no rains but still, you can see the shrubs and bushes smiling happily in this hazy morning because of the soil richness. We have to understand the symbiotic relationship between plants and animals, the microbiome, and soil to give a better future to Mother Earth by giving livestock again its original task of ecosystem management with grazing.

A scientific study revealed that grazing revitalizes our soil and sequestrate carbon up to 80%


My hypothesis of livestock grazing proved with a scientific research

A pre-designed scientific project with a plantation of native flora in the soil and allowing sheep grazing in Temple university (USA) proved that the grazed area could sequestrate up to 80% carbon – THE STUDY FOUND.

I have been advocating plantation/protection of native flora and introducing livestock grazing to our fields, forest, and pastureland can revitalize the soil health on one hand and minimize the risk of wildfires on the other hand. https://arkbiodiv.com/2021/07/06/give-the-livestock-its-original-role-the-grazing-and-recover-the-losses/amp/

The native livestock in extensive grazing system emits very low carbon compared to factory farming, therefore I call them low carbon livestockhttps://medium.com/@raziqarkbiodiversity/peoples-animal-agriculture-and-low-carbon-livestock-1d7f6f5ace9b

Livestock grazing -an ecosystem service

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. https://arkbiodiv.com/2021/08/05/giving-livestock-grazing-a-chance-a-success-story-of-goats-role-in-vegetation-management-project-laguna-beach-california-usa/amp/

Bybrik sheep flock grazing in the pastures of Loralai Balochistan

In the grazed land, nutrients may accumulate for 12 to 15 years – Temple university study

The researchers’ early estimates suggest that an acre of grazed native plants may improve the soil at a rate of one ton of sequestered carbon per year and that carbon and other nutrients may accumulate for 12 to 15 years before the soil is fully saturated – the study says. I hereby share the link to the scientific study for further reading and detailed information.https://www.pv-magazine.com/2022/02/08/livestock-increase-carbon-sequestration-by-up-to-80-in-pv-projects/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Temple University

Dumeri Sheep of North East Balochistan – Pakistan


Dumeri Sheep


Habitat

Dumeri also called as Hernai breed is found in Ziarat, Hernai, and part of Quetta, Pishin, Qillasaifulla, and Loralai districts. The nucleus of the breed is Sanjavi, Zalar, Hernai, Shana Gharra, Spin Tangi, and Zarghoon. The tribes who keep Dumeri sheep are Kakar, Wanechi, and Salgari, especially sub-clans of Kakar, i.e. Dumer and Zakhpail. They are living in the coldest ecosystem of the region. https://arkbiodiv.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/ccdb4-download.jpg

Dumeri sheep is very special and highly adapted to the local arid ecosystem. They can rely on the rough bushes when there are no rains and grasses and forbs are not available. This type of sheep can tolerate a very wide fluctuation of weather from very cold to very hot.
The beautiful landscape with a flock of Dumeri sheep. Photo credit Ihsanullah Dumer

Phenotypic characteristics

The sheep are medium in size. There are many coat colors ranging from brown to reddish and snow-white to a creamy color. The wool is soft, fine, and very suitable for yarning. The head of the sheep is red (in most cases) with horns in male animals. The ears are sometimes droopy and sometimes very small.

Dumeri sheep are medium in size. There are many coat colors ranging from brown to reddish and snow-white to a creamy color.  They are engineered with very unique DNA, surviving in challenging weathering conditions and sustain in scarcity of food and water.
Dumeri sheep; Highly adapted to the local ecosystem of the region and have very appreciating compensatory growth. Photo credit Ihsanullah Dumer

Vegetation

Dumeri sheep; Grazing on hardy bushes in Sanjavi, Ihsanulla’s uncle is grazing sheep, photo credit: Ihsanullah Dumer

Vegetation of the habitat much like by Dumeri sheep is comprised of Saba, Sargharri,
Mulghuzgi, Makhi, Rrandoki.


Population

The population of the breed is a bit hard to compile because of the scattered nature of the
breed in a wide area. Moreover the estimation on the basis of the breeders and flock size the
estimated population of the breed is 1.3 Million. This breed shrivels in size because of two reasons,
The first reason for the shrinking was the drought, and this breed was severely affected. The second
reason is the high return of orchard farming of apple and Cherry in the region. Because of the
drought and other social changes, many breeders shifted towards orchard farming. Though the
number of breeders decreased the breed is again increasing in size.


Special traits

  • Assili mean good thriftiness nature, high compensatory growth
  • This breed of sheep is hardy and can survive in the dry period
  • The goat-like nature enables it to graze in the peaks of the mountains
  • The meat is tender and juicy, very much like by local consumer
  • There is more meat compare to bones compared to other breeds


Option Hopes

Dumeri sheep has very specialized qualitative trait, locally known as Asselli., Meaning can compensate growth loss when vegetation is available and can sustain life cycle when food and water is limited.
Dumeri sheep; Beautiful reddish color, photo credit Ihsanullah Dumer

Because of its goat-like nature, it can be very useful livestock in climate change situations as they can rely on the bushes and shrubs. Here are some pictures of the breed, surviving in the very cold weather of snow. https://arkbiodiv.com/2021/08/05/6809/


Economic Importance

Highly adapted to the local ecosystem and they can rely on bushes like goats. Photo credit Ihsanullah Dumer

The socio-economic condition of the breeding area of Dumeri sheep is good
and the people like the breed very much for Landi meat because of the high altitude and very cold winters. https://arkbiodiv.com/persendadry-meat-cousine-of-pashtun-afghan-2/. The male animal at the age of 2-3 years is used for Landi purposes and catches very good prices. The female produces a reasonable amount of milk and uses it locally for family use. The wool once had very high prices. The wool of Dumeri sheep is one of the finest in the country and had been used for Assessing the potential of the indigenous livestock breeds of Balochistan “Abdul Raziq” page 26. http://www.comap.ca/kmland/display.php?ID=144&DISPOP=VRCPR. Spinning in the Hernai woolen mill, administrated by the government is now nonfunctional. The breed is important to the source of livelihood earning. The prices of Dumeri sheep are about 100 and 145 USD respectively.

Giving Livestock Grazing a Chance – A Success Story of Goats’ Role in Vegetation Management Project, Laguna Beach California USA


Simbiotic and Sustainable Ecosystem Management

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.

The goat grazing in the region and consuming the grasses and bushes. Grazing cuts the connection between the ground flora and the trees’ shoots. Photo credit: Christina Adams.

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.

Conclusion

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.

Give the Livestock its Original Role- The Grazing and Recover the Losses


Nature and Ecosystem Services

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.

Camel Browsing on Tree

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.

Frankfurt Germany: The Project coordinator is telling the story of the donkey as how the donkey vanished the thick cover of the blackberries in the grazing area and provided an opportunity for pinus plants (seeds) to germinate and grow.

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.

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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.

Give the livestock a chance to serve the ecosystems.